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Advertising in TSO
Reuters has posted an interesting report about The Sims Online. It's all about McDonald's putting some advertising in the game, which they pay EA for. The same goes for Intel. Apparantly, EA needs to make more money from the game, and therefore they've decided to put in some product placement. Intel and McDonald's were interested because the game attracts many young players. One way that it'd be shown, is in the way that you can buy a McDonald's restaurant. As it's an online game, it'll be easy for Maxis/EA to put in future advertisers in the future. Something slightly similar already happened in The Sims when the Pepsi Drinks machine was released, although I'm not sure if Pepsi actually paid for that. The whole article can be found right here. Your opinion on this matter can of course be put in the comments of this article (only for registered members - it's free).

Written at 23:58 on Tuesday, 17 September 2002 by ChEeTaH.

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Written at 05:14 on Wednesday, 18 September 2002 by Andy (TSZ) (Andy)
I find this quite disturbing.

I know games like EA's FIFA series allow advertising on the billboards like normal football clubs, but for these big corporations intruding into our virtual world of "The Sims" is something I do not agree with.

If this is allowed to go unchecked, we might be next reading about...

"MacDonald's The Sims 2 (sponsored by Intel)"

Site Manager & Assistant Webmaster

Written at 13:08 on Wednesday, 18 September 2002 by Matthew (Matthew)
Here's the full press release:

EA Inks In-Game Sponsorships with Mass Marketers

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., September 17, 2002 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that it has taken the next innovative step in online advertising, signing category exclusive deals with Intel Corporation and McDonald's® Corporation. Under the combined multi-million dollar deals, each company's products and brands will be integrated into the gameplay of the highly anticipated autumn debut of The Sims OnlineTM.

"Matching Intel and McDonald's with The Sims Online signals a watershed for in-game advertising," said Erick Hachenburg, general manager of EA.com. "The demographics and culture of gaming are driving the interest by sponsors. Games are to young people what television was to previous generations – they provide a cultural touchstone that fills their free time and provides points of reference for friendships.

"It marks the first time players can interact with everyday brands and products in a virtual world. Our sponsors recognize the value of interacting with consumers in this environment."

Intel® Pentium® 4 processor-based computers, complete with the five-note Intel Inside® brand tone and on-screen brand will be featured in The Sims Online. Players can chose from a selection of low- to high-end virtual computers for their Sim. The two high-end Pentium 4 processor-based computers represent the latest in style and technology and provide enhanced gameplay. Uses of the computers in The Sims Online may range from inviting friends over to play games to opening a virtual business such as a cyber cafe. As players increase their use of their Pentium 4 processor-based virtual computers within the game, their logic and fun ratings will increase at a higher rate than if using the lower end, generic PCs.

"Interactively branding Intel products in the virtual world of The Sims Online is truly revolutionary," said Ann Lewnes, vice president Intel Inside Program and Co-marketing. "We will be front-and-center with mass market consumers who purchase and use PCs for entertainment purposes. This is the closest you can get to touching your primary demographic -- every day."

The Sims Online players will also be able to operate a McDonald's kiosk and earn "Simoleons" as a virtual business. Eating at McDonald's will satisfy a Sim's hunger and fun needs.

"This is an emerging entertainment area for teens and young adults and will continue to keep McDonald's at the forefront with this audience," said Peter Sterling, vice president of marketing at McDonald's USA. "Partnering with The Sims franchise of games gives us the ability to provide fun and entertainment to our customers in an environment that allows them to experience our brand in a virtual world. This is a great opportunity for McDonald's to reach our customers away from our traditional brick and mortar setting. Our agreement with EA, the leader in gaming technology, will continue to allow us to find new and cutting edge ways for our customers to interact with our brand."

The Sims OnlineTM is a virtual world built from the imaginations of thousands of players. It is an unpredictable, alternate reality where they can be themselves or whomever they want to be. They have their own land to do with as they please. Create a house, coffee bar, dance club, theatre or whatever they can imagine. As spectators and participants, players build a network of friends to enhance their power, wealth, reputation and social standing.

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