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.