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Phony Worlds Invaded By Real Products

Players of popular video game The Sims will soon be able to enjoy the same Ikea furniture in their virtual reality as they do in their real one. That's because game developer Electronic Arts has decided to accommodate the requests of players looking for more realistic furniture, and make a little sponsorship money at the same time.

It's the kind of move that would have yielded howls of protest from gamer purists just a few years ago. But branded items are increasingly being incorporated into video games as marketers look for new footholds in the massive video game market, and video game manufacturers are looking for ways to offset the growing costs of development.

In addition to sponsorship agreements like the Ikea-Sims deal, game companies have been trying to sell advertising space and time in games, often on billboards or other elements of the virtual backdrop. But analysts say that advertisers have been skittish about such ads, in part because of their limited reach, and partly because some games are just too controversial, like the recently released blockbuster Grand Theft Auto IV.



Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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