We’re bombarded by ads every single day—hundreds upon thousands of them saying to buy the latest products. Some people want to get away from those ads, especially when they use tech products, so they install AdBlocker extensions on their preferred web browsers. However, ads have also made their way into your games as well. Electronic Arts (EA) has announced that a Nissan LEAF charging station—essentially a Nissan ad—will be introduced as a building in their city-building simulator game, SimCity.
In-game advertising isn’t a new concept—it’s been in games since at least the early 1990s. The game James Pond 2 had a built-in advertisement for Penguin brand biscuits back in 1991. In-game advertising has also been in well known games such as EverQuest II, where you could order pizza from Pizza Hut in-game at one point. Burnout: Paradise had in-game ads for then-United States presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008. In fact, in-game advertising is very common in sports games, which regularly feature sideline ads for athletic wear makers such as Nike and Adidas.
However, EA’s “advertisement” actually has some use in the game and can help the player while they are building their ideal city—whether it’s a small town or an overcrowded metropolis. According to EA, “Plopping down the Nissan LEAF Charging Station will add happiness to nearby buildings. Adding the Charging Station will not take power, water or workers away from your city. Zoom in to the streets of cities and players will start seeing a percentage of their Sims from all wealth classes driving the electric vehicles. The Charging Station produces no garbage or sewage as well making it pollution free.” Part of almost every SimCity game in the series has the player managing pollution, power, water, unemployment, and other real-world factors that an actual city mayor has to deal with. It’s also free—all you need to do is click the ad on the launcher and you can use it in game. You can also access it via the Origin store or through the in-game billboard.