Gaming companies do their best to maximize exposure for their best-selling and most beloved titles. Take the case of cross games like Super Smash Bros Ultimatewhich feature characters from some of Nintendo’s most beloved games, as well as personalities from third-party developers like Disney, Capcom, and Square Enix.
In addition to sometimes highlighting characters and titles from other game companies, some developers also dabble in in-game advertising. While others may subtly showcase actual products to increase their exposure, some games in do too much to sell a product and take the player out of the experience. From DLCs that showcase a particular company to titles that integrate the product into gameplay, these games brazenly act as an interactive extension of real-life companies.
Monster Energy – Death Stranding
Players will find it hard to escape the caffeinated energy drink Monster Energy. In the game, the drink is always available where the protagonist gets their respite. The product is further pushed into the player’s face as the main character has to drink a can before regaining some vitality.
The game takes place in a desolate world where it doesn’t make sense to have an overflowing supply of a specific commodity. Because the story doesn’t even bother to explain the product’s involvement, fans comment that the product placement is somewhat jarring and definitely out of place.
Pepsi — Pepsiman
From the title itself, players will know that Pepsiman is based on the iconic American soft drink. But despite not having a big budget and being obvious promotional material for Pepsi, the game is a company-branded game that many gamers love.
The endless running game is also adored by gamers all over the world due to its eye-catching theme. And although it was released as a PlayStation 1 exclusive game for the Japanese market, it has English voice acting and menus, which has helped it gain fans all over the world.
7 Up – Cool Spot
Soda brand mascots were very popular in the 80s and 90s. 7 Up, for example, had its mascot called Cool place. The anthropomorphic representation of the dot in the 7 Up logo, Cool place also released its own game for the SNES and Mega Drive.
Cool place is a classic platformer where the main character launches soda bubbles as the main form of attack. But while the simple mechanics and familiar graphics make it an enjoyable game, many gamers feel frustrated playing the game as it has checkpoints instead of a proper save feature.
Subway — Uncharted 3
bad dog Uncharted 3 celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. Along with remembering how good a game it was, fans also recalled the game’s bizarre partnership with fast-food chain Subway. A month before the game was released, it was announced that those who purchased Subway promotional merchandise could get early access to Uncharted’s multiplayer mode.
Uncharted 3 protagonist Nathan Drake has been through many crazy and difficult missions. But fans of the game also embarked on an actual mission to access the game’s multiplayer mode, as well as collect in-game subway-themed items like weapon skins and virtual costumes.
It took Remedy Entertainment five years to develop the psychological horror game, Alan Wake. But even though it had an outstanding narrative and eye-catching visuals, some gamers felt that by Alan Wake partnership with Verizon kept it from becoming a flawless game.
In a tense and serious sequence, a Verizon commercial played on television in the background. The odd placement of Verizon’s promotional materials made it difficult for gamers to fully enjoy the game. Fortunately, the remastered version of the game removed all product placements, not only from Verizon, but also from brands like Energizer and Lincoln.
Noodle Cup — Final Fantasy XV
Cup Noodles is a popular instant noodle brand known around the world. In the game Final Fantasy XVCup Noodles is an in-game item that can be consumed to boost player stats.
But in one of the game’s DLCs, Cup Noodles maker Nissin pushed the pedal to the metal when advertising the brand of ramen. In addition to having a side quest dedicated to Cup Noodles, purchasing one of the limited editions Final Fantasy XV Cup Noodles allows players to earn a Cup Noodle-style helmet as an in-game item.
Various brands — Pikmin 2
In the sequel to Nintendo’s strategic puzzle title, players assume the role of alien travelers who land on a distant planet. But despite being an alien world, the planet they land on has some extremely familiar markings for players.
Brands like Skippy, Duracell and Chapstick are popping up on pikmine 2. However, this seemed like the wrong direction the game was going, as many fans said they disliked how obvious and plentiful the in-game product placements were.
Burger King — Sneak King
Many restaurants and fast food chains are appearing in popular media like TV and movies. But in 2006, Burger King decided to infiltrate the world of video games and launched its title. Launch Burger King’s mascot, The King, Sneak King was a stealth-style game that was too scary for its good.
The game asks players to sneak up on people and stun them by giving them valuable meals. While it was a relatively cheap game with a unique concept, many gamers found Sneak King being incredibly repetitive, having poorly done graphics, and annoying, unfair bugs.
Mercedes-Benz—Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of the best games in the franchise. However, its predecessor for the Wii is still highly regarded by some fans of the game as the superior version. In Mario Kart 8players have different battle modes, fully customize their vehicle and change their character options.
However, a specific DLC for Mario Kart 8 has fans shaking their heads. Including Mercedes-Benz themed karts, DLC for Mario Kart 8 was not appreciated by the players. Against the colorful karts used by other characters in the game, the sleek Mercedes-Benz cars look out of place and look dull and depressing.
Dole — Super Monkey Ball 2
Super Monkey Ball 2 is one of SEGA’s most popular games. It scored high on Metacritic from fans and critics alike by having superior game mechanics and fixing the problems of its predecessor.
However, there was a glaring source of annoyance in Super Monkey Ball 2. Each banana in the game had a sticker of the world agricultural company Dole. But while it makes sense for SEGA to partner with the international number one banana player, it has hurt some gamers’ enjoyment.
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