SimCity allows for in-game advertising with new Nissan Leaf product placement
Talk about a great way to raise some unneeded controversy. Nothing raises a red flag more than incorporating product placement in your game -- especially one that has already suffered from a rough launch. In what is undoubtedly a marketing campaign with Nissan, EA and Maxis are adding the "Nissan Leaf Charging Station" to SimCity. Don't worry, it won't cost you a thing... and you can reap all of the benefits.
This free in-game item is the perfect way to kick start your desire to create a city that will make you (and your Sims) happy. In the case of your Sims, In the case of your Sims, the Charging Station provides happiness to the Sims that use it and a onetime wave of happiness to the nearby businesses. Need another bonus? It produces no sewage or garbage. That’s right! Green indeed.
While EA has never been one to shy away from product placement in their games (see Century 21's marketing in The Sims Social), I'm a little surprised to see this tactic extend to a full blown retail game. We're used to seeing this sort of thing in a free-to-play social game that has no real alternative source of revenue streams (outside of microtransactions), but a game that has already charged players $60 at retail? I suppose an alternate revenue stream like this allows Maxis to continue working on the game well after launch, supporting it with patches and free add-ons like this. Better this than charging for DLC, right?
Look, I won't complain about a free item, but I think there are certain priorities that must be in place. Despite the bonus being completely free, fans don't seem too pleased with it. It seems they'd rather EA and Maxis focus on fixing the current in-game bugs rather than add buildings designed only for an advertising campaign.
If none of this controversy matters to you, you can download the Nissan Leaf Charging Station from Origin. Once downloaded, you will find the Nissan Charging Station in the Power palette. The pack will be available for download for six months starting today, April 2.