Need For Speed: Carbon to have dynamic in-game advertising

EA's next iteration in the Need For Speed franchise will have more than just the occasional self-promoting billboard or tie-in from a specific vendor. Thanks to a recent agreement signed with Microsoft's Massive Inc. and IGA WorldWide, future EA games will feature dynamically changing advertisements.

EA and Massive are partnered to deliver dynamic ads to NFS:Carbon and up to three other games. The EA-IGA deal was written separately to provide ads for their upcoming first-person-shooter, BattleField 2142. Financial terms for both contracts have not been disclosed at this point.

Chip Lange, EA vice president of online commerce, reinforced EA's standpoint that the ads should "not disrupt the player's experience." Advertising will be used not only to generate revenue, but to enhance player immersion in racing and sports games, where "... advertising is not only nice to have, but it's an essential component to create the fiction of being there."

EA representatives claim the ads will be tailored to provide a "realistic brand experience" that is "contextually relevant." The ads can also be directed by region, so players in the USA would be shown different content than players in the UK or Asia. How the data will be collected to determine what is "relevant" to the player is as of yet undetermined, or if the nature of the game itself will be taken into account.

EA is not alone in the concept of in-game advertising. Ubisoft received some backlash from gamers over the inclusion billboards for AXE body spray in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, which the protagonist Sam Fisher takes a zip-line into a mission from, and more recently in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter.  Microsoft has also signed a deal with Massive for in-game advertising, and id Software, famous for its Quake and Doom titles, has openly admitted it is OK with in-game advertising, perhaps signaling a trend for the industry.

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