In game advertising, Knives, Burgers and Shoes

The predlets asked me to put the “crashing game” on the xbox today. It was odd as we had not played Burnout Paradise for a very long while. It is relatively speaking a very old game but has been kept fresh with all sorts of updates. I noticed too many of my friends list were back playing it so it was all very serendipitous.
In particular was the fact that next week I am helping to facilitate an ideas generation workshop with the games industry and government (via Ren Reynolds Virtual Policy Network (tVPN) on how to engage sensibly and interestingly with the population.
So there the predlets were driving through the streets of paradise city when I saw these posters served via the in game advertising. Burnout being a network enabled game the ads tend to be dynamically served and clearly targetted as UK specific ones.
Job centre
Job centre plus for the UK
Knife crime
Knife crime
So that seems to indicate that the players of video games are expected to be prone to carry a knife, be unemployed and mainly eat burgers?
There was some hope though with this one
A charity awareness movement for One Day Without Shoes on April 8th this year
This is the sort of in game placement that makes sense. The billboards keep the view of the city quite fresh, and do not detract from the experience. So apart from the implications of the types of advert targeted at the UK, or maybe just targeted at me it seems a generally good concept.
Would it mean though that coming up to a general election all parties would need enough of their own billboards in games to be representative. Would it turn gamers off to see the spitting and fighting on billboards? Lets hope we don’t have to find that one out!

G.I. Joe and the fat princess in PS3 Home, different views of the same thing

There is some cool content for G.I. Joe the movie appearing on PS3 home. A set of clothing parts in the threads store. This is great as I can now cover my face, in protest at not being able to have green hair for some still inexplicable reason.
It was great to see the G.I. Joe clothes spread through home in various combinations. Here I am a mix of white ninja, black ninja and wearing Star Trek original series trousers. An interesting combination.
GI Joe based avatar
Whilst I was on I noticed a new promo space for a game called Fat Princess. It was a cartoon themed environment with lots of statues matching the game. Interestingly it had a little mini treasure hunt Xi style. In the environment (whilst still populated with other users) you are able to hunt cake hidden in little bird cages and answer eight questions on the game. This is not state of the art gaming, but I did feel the need to answer. It is also interesting as your view of the space is actually different to that of others. i.e. you wont see the cake unless you are personally on the quest, on completing the quest the princess changes into the larger version of the princess. This is a reward, but for the individual player. Everyone else will be seeing you as an avatar in world, but the princess will be the regular princess.
Fat Princess
This concept can be tricky for people lost in the concept of a unified world. There is no reason to not see a completely different representation of a world to every other user of that world. Of course there is then the question of what it is you are all there at the same time for in the first place.
One other twist was that completing the quest, bothering to engage with the advert in effect, gives you a virtual object. In this case the royal throne to place in your own apartment.
GI Joe Ninja meets Fat Princess on Ps3 Home
So here I am, in my lightly decorated apartment (without the ability to upload my own pictures and videos as I live in Europe and SCEE cant seem to get round UGC legal issues), wearing my G.I. Joe cool costume (that doubles as a protest for no green hair) sitting in my Fat Princess virtual throne that I won by walking around an immersive advert with lots of other people (mostly all wearing G.I. Joe clothes).

Its a bizzare mash of brands, advertising concepts and customer engagement. Oh, its fun too 🙂
A big shout out to Annie Ok for the showing the way with the G.I. Joe kit, previously doing Star Trek, Watchmen amongst others and also the Transformers Augmented Reality ( A film I only just got to see last week, but I loved it)