SimCity, EA’s beleaguered sim game that, for a time, was probably the most cursed title in the blogosphere, now allows players to place Nissan-branded® solar® recharging® stations® in their cities®. The cha®ging stations add a boost of happiness® to surrounding homes and businesses. You can download it here for free. (All Rights Reserved, While Supplies Last)
The game piece, mentioned in a forum post, is an excellent bit of sponsored wonkery complete with plenty of Nissan® LEAF® trademarks™ and and a promise that the station® will be available for download for six months®.
While most players won’t notice the station let alone install it, this is a clear case of EA’s business development division steamrolling ahead with its plans as if the SimCity DRM issues never happened.
Sponsored content in a game is nothing new and this isn’t particularly egregious. However, classic games rarely need to resort to overt advertising to make back a potentially massive investment. A little product placement never hurt anyone, obviously, but rising the ire of cranky gamers is not something EA wants to do right now. Or maybe it is.