Presidential Candidate Barack Obama Advertising in Video Games

By October 17, 2008 2 comments

When EA’s Battlefield 2142 released, it was widely criticized for including in-game dynamic advertising in its online maps. Since then, there hasn’t been a lot of talk about in-game advertising. Until Obama campaign ads started appearing in the Xbox Live racing game Burnout Paradise. Obama, the first presidential candidate to advertise in a game, continues his campaign’s shrewd mining of emerging avenues of political advertising.

The ads appear in EA games in the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The games are, surprisingly, all sports games: Madden 09, NASCAR 09, NHL 09, NBA Live 08, Need For Speed (Carbon and ProStreet), NFL Tour, and Skate.

I’m curious as to why the ads are only running in sports games.

The ads began running October 6th and will continue until November 3rd, the day before elections. One-third of American households have current-gen gaming systems, And most gamers are in the 18-34 male demographic, who, I would imagine, also make up a good portion of swing voters.

Obama’s campaign continually he proves that he gets new marketing, that he and his team know how to exploit our continually-evolving relationship to technology, and mine formerly niche areas like social networks and video games.

His campaign is also further proof of the growing culture split between technical and non-technical populations; the differences between his relationship with tech audiences and McCain’s is further proof of the growing class division, a division that hardly existed ten years ago.

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because the only games EA makes worth playing are their sports games :)

im all for ads as long as they don't restrict user experience. so, if it's a billboard i can drive past at 100mph cool, if its a toll gate that stops me while i have to watch the ad for 15 seconds, then im pissed.

obama for arcade racing 2008

Submitted by bob (not verified) - on October 17, 2008 at 10:45 am

Right -- when they first started showing up, gamers treated them like the end of the world (or another in the ongoing 'end of EA' discussions).

As long as they don't take away from the immersion, what's the big deal? Sports games have had fake ads since at least PS1, and, for whatever reason, real-world ads are a little cooler, I guess because they bridge the two worlds a little more.

I've been disenchanted by EA since they destroyed the NFL 2K franchise, but the Battlefield series truly rocks.

Submitted by Mark Alvarez (not verified) - on October 17, 2008 at 11:55 am

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