Friday, September 30, 2011

When Does Product Placement Go Too Far?

We found a very interesting article in regards to a new promotion by Pepsi and Activision known as "Rank Up Your Game" where players can purchase Pepsi and Doritos products in exchange for a double experience time card.  I wanted to give my thoughts on this issue being a long time gamer and also a competitive player in online games.  Games are still vastly untouched by outside interference and they have become one of the only places where you can get hours of entertainment without getting bombarded by advertising.  Product placement and advertisements are everywhere now, even getting inserted in movies, TV shows and now invading our games.  When do corporations go too far with their product placements? 

Games known as "pay to win" are nothing new in the gaming world.  Often times "free to play" games incorporate the purchase of upgraded items using real money in order to give you a competitive edge to other player who just wants to play a free game.  This new promotion by Pepsi and Activision goes over the line.  Not only do you have to pay a high price of $59.99, but players are now being encouraged to buy unhealthy products to get an advantage over casual players or those that refuse to take part in the promotion.  I know from being part of a competitive online community that it takes time and effort to get that next rewarding upgrade and get the edge over other competitors.  With this new promotion, there will be no way of telling who put the time in and who bought a 12 pack of Mountain Dew plus a bag of Doritos to get their upgrades in half the time.

Blizzard Entertainment also announced a similar feature in one of their highly anticipated releases Diablo III.  They are introducing a real money auction house so players can trade items for real money.  Now, this isn't to say that the system wont be fair and balanced (like Fox News), but it gives the suspicion that gamers with enough money can buy their way to superior gear over those that put in the time to earn their rewards. 
Coincidentally both of these game publishers work under the same roof.  Activision Blizzard are two peas in the same pod.  It seems that Activision Blizzard don't have any issues with tainting the sanctity of competitive online gaming.  This is where we would like to know your thoughts.  As a gamer how do you feel about these big companies looking to make an extra buck off of you?  Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

original article :


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