Virtual worlds in the news

The computer game The Sims is in the news because the upcoming online version of the game is going to contain very interactive product placement. Users will be able to use Intel computers and work in a McDonald's outlet; "Eating that food will also improve their standing within the game."

My initial reaction was, as usual, cynical. This isn't anything new -- I have vague memories of computer games in the 1980s containing real products (they certainly contained real advertising). But seeing this report of events within Everquest made me wonder whether Sims-style percolation of the real world into gaming worlds will increase the coverage of in-game events in the media. If we ever get as addicted to online gaming as other countries maybe we'll see more headline news about happenings in virtual worlds where many people spend hours every day. Although, given the lack of coverage broadsheet newspapers, for example, give to computer games in general, it'll be a while before they're anything but a novelty to the mainstream media, despite the size of the industry. (via Blackbeltjones and Haddock)

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