Talk of urinals and deodorant ads in games got me wondering how long people have been talking about in-game ads. I found some chatter from 1995. The era of “Cool Spot”, the 7Up video game and other in-game ad dreams.
You are reading Kotaku’s once-weekly (early this week!) journey back to yesteryear.
It is March, 1995, and Billboard declares: “Ads Begin To Pop Up In CD-ROMs, Games.”
Time to talk to industry leaders. Sega first:
”It has to be appropriate for the title that it’s in,” says Steve Ackrich, Sega’s director of third-party licensing.
Ackrich says the institution of an industry ratings system may help open the field of ”acceptable” products. ”Right now we wouldn’t allow Smirnoff (vodka),” he says, ”but maybe if it were in an M (mature audiences) title, we might consider it.”
Fellow market leader Nintendo has shied away from anything that smacks of in-game advertising, according to company spokeswoman Perrin Kaplan. ”We’ve always felt video games should be just for fun,” Kaplan says. ”Does that mean we won’t ever? No. But we’re not doing it now.”
A game called ”Cool Spot,” based on a character created in 7UP ads, did make the Nintendo cut, as well as pass the Sega test. Ads as games apparently are fine, ”as long as the game stands alone,” Kaplan says.
San Mateo, Calif.-based Digital Pictures included a plug for Nike at the end of its basketball game ”Slam City With Scottie Pippen.” At the conclusion, the gamer is ”rewarded” with Nike products.
People who make interactive CD-ROMs?
Creative [Multimedia] ‘s 1995 product lineup will include several titles with interactive ads embedded within them. ”We’ve put numerous restrictions on the ads,” says Len Jordan, VP of marketing. ”There will be no more than three per title, and there can’t be any direct-sell feature. They also will be completely self-selective,” meaning users must choose to look at the ads by clicking on them.
Dare I say that in-game advertising has improved for everyone since then?