The WSJ reports MicroSoft plans to acquire Massive Inc., a firm which specializes in product placement in video games.
Until recently, most ads in videogames were sold in a relatively primitive way. An automobile maker, for instance, could pay to have its vehicles featured on a billboard in the stadium depicted in a baseball videogame. Using this method, though, promotions never changed once a publisher included them on a game disc and ads could grow stale.
That's all changing quickly as more consumers connect their game machines to the Internet. Massive sells the opportunity for companies to insert their brands on billboards, posters, soda cans and other on-screen elements within videogames. Massive then transmits those advertisements over the Internet and inserts them into the environments of games as users are playing.
How long will it be before developers are forced to stuff games with more potential ad real estate? How long until gamers learn to question every can of soda in the game? As everything becomes an ad medium will people eventually resent the brands that are advertising? Or will the joy brought by the game be transfered over to the brands associated by proximity?
Imagine growing up in a world where nearly EVERYTHING is an ad.