SIONU: Native Advertising in Video Games

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a LONG time.  Things are pretty quiet right now, so I haven’t had much to write about.  However, as I have been trying to get a total completion in Final Fantasy XV, I am sitting with an amused look on my face thinking about one of the missions.  After Gladiolus leaves your party, he comes back with a new perspective, on a very specific thing – Cup ‘O Noodles.  That’s right, Cup ‘O Noodles is in this game.  And one of the main characters gives them the ultimate dick-sucking treatment in a cringe-worthy piece of dialogue that made me laugh so hard the first time I heard it.

And they aren’t the only brand getting recognition in this game.  Did you notice the Coleman brand on all the camping gear that they use?  That is their brand logo.  So, I guess they also wanted to get some representation.  In Angry Joe’s review of Quantum Break, he noted how Nissan is very represented throughout the game.  I’m unsure how to feel about this.  On the one hand, it seems only natural.  I’m genuinely surprised that this hasn’t happened sooner.  Given how big a market gaming is, and how massive the production values they have these days, you would think companies would be all over having their brands represented in gaming.

Granted, it isn’t like this is totally a new thing.  Racing games have pretty much been car company ads since I was a kid.  Madden, FIFA, and MLB games are the same deal.  But this is the first time that I’ve seen native advertising in a fantasy game.  That was strange and awesome at the same time.  I get the feeling that this game was a field test of the concept.  None of the reviews I saw for Final Fantasy XV made a big deal about it.  There is an entire sub-plot of the game that is about getting ingredients for Cup ‘O Noodles.  The game doesn’t even try and hide the intent.  Which leads me to wonder if this just the beginning.  Like, am I going to see McDonald’s represented in a video game?  Uncharted 4 was basically open about pimping Sony’s products.  Everyone had a Sony phone.  Nobody  cared.

Which leads me to another thought – why is it that native advertising is hardly noticed in video games when news that does it is dragged through the mud?  I have a theory – it’s because gaming is such a different medium.  Seeing a product in something doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to get it.  Since gaming is a medium about gameplay and player involvement, something like native advertising just doesn’t have the same effect.  Granted, it can go too far – the Cup ‘O Noodles mission.  Listening to Gladiolus describe that stuff was amazing.  Made me think of the advertising in The Truman Show.  Hopefully I’m not too old for that reference to make no sense to people.

As gaming becomes more and more corporatized, should it surprise anyone that we are seeing game companies reaching out for sponsorships?  If anything, this whole deal has me thinking that it is on the verge of becoming a lot more common.  So long as I don’t have to listen to a character make a speech about the nature of a cup of soup, I can live with that.  It’s the future of gaming, people.  What about you?  What do you think?  Sorry if this post is a little short, I just wanted to get something out there for you all.  It’s a slow time of year, but will be picking up.  Two of the games on my Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2017 (linked here) are coming out soon.  I cannot wait!  I’ll try and get reviews out in a timely way, but at least one of them will have hours upon hours of gameplay put into it before I can give a good review.  So stoked.

Until next time, a quote,

“What the hell are you talking about?  Who are you talking to?!” – Truman Burbank, The Truman Show

Peace out,

Maverick

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