10 Video Games With Shameless Product Placement

Level 2 will be with you, right after these messages.

Gremlin Interactive

Anyone who has ever woken up will know how inescapably pervasive advertising is. The world is one giant billboard, every single surface from roadsides to clothing to even people's faces representing viable marketing real estate to the highest bidder. You'd be forgiven for thinking NFL is one long commercial with the occasional tedious distraction of American football, and just try reading a website on your phone without it being hijacked by the disembodied head of Ray Winstone demanding your life savings. You're almost certainly desperately trying to close an ad right now.

Just about the only things we can do in life without being aggressively marketed towards are being dead, or looking at the sky. And it's only a matter of time until skywriters get in on the act.

Intrusive advertising in video games may seem like a relatively recent phenomenon, coinciding with their gradual rise to mainstream prevalence, but pixel-based product placement existed long before daily life was yearning for a pop-up blocker. For some companies, it was a case of survival rather than greed, getting into bed with a chocolate bar being the only way to fund your dream platformer about a robotic fish. For others, it added a flavour of reality - with the added bonus of lined pockets.

Whatever the reason, adverts have been a part of video games as long as extra lives and level-ups. And they've rarely been subtle.

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.