Anyone who's spent even a little time rocking out to Guitar Hero III
has likely noticed the game's heavy-handed approach to product placement, with stages littered with cans of Red Bull and billboards hocking everything from Axe Body Spray to Pontiac. The whole thing feels oppressive and graceless as even the game's underground rock venues are reduced to feeling like props to corporate shilling. And things are likely to get worse before they get better, as Activision today announced that it has inked a deal with Microsoft-owned Massive
to provide in-game ads in not only Guitar Hero III
, but Tony Hawk's Proving Ground
The two titles have been added to the growing Massive Network advertising collective, which also includes Activision's Transformers
adaptation, and will made to include "contextually relevant" dynamic ads. Interestingly, it's unclear if this partnership extends to all versions of the affected (afflicted?) games, or just those for Microsoft's console. What is clear, however, is that as games are now a big business, more and more companies are beginning to get in line for their slice of the money pie, and while game companies and advertisers reap the benefits of this arrangement, gamers are left holding the controller wondering just when their games became interactive commercials.