Reading Blog 12 – October 19, 2015

“Chapter 7: Branding” (p. 52-57) by Ian Bogost from “How To Do Things With Video Games.”

Whenever video games are played, it’s hard not to notice the brands that make an appearance in each game. In this week’s reading, Bogost discusses the relationship between video games and branding. As his example, Bogost refers to the recent edition of Monopoly called Monopoly: Here and Now. This game uses certain brands like Toyota, McDonald’s and New Balance as their new tokens for the game. At first, critics found fault with Hasbro because they were intentionally advertising for these major companies. However, Bogust argues that the reason why Hasbro included these brands in their game was due to strategic branding. Hasbro didn’t include these brands in order to help them sell products, but instead, they chose to include these brands in order to make the game more culturally relevant. These brands were cultural markers of the 20th century, and therefore to exhibit the history and progress of Monopoly, Hasbro chose to include them. The same rules apply for video games, Bogost argues. Video games don’t implement brands in order to sell more products, but instead they implement brands in order to improve the authenticity of the games. We, as consumers, encounter these brands on a daily basis. So much so, that they just become a part of our lives. We don’t even realize that these brands have become such an integrated part of our language and culture. So, in order to improve the realistic aspects of a video game, these brands obviously need to be included. Branding and video games have a symbiotic relationship that are closely intertwined, and it’s hard to separate the identities of the two.

Links:

  1. “The Importance of Branding in Video Game Development” – http://trios.com/career/?section=Whatsnew150
  2. “Does the Video Game Industry Hold The Keys to the Future of Advertising” – http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/engage-consumers-brain-chemistry-155531
  3. “Branding in The Video Game Industry” – http://www.ign.com/blogs/codsquallic/2014/05/23/branding-in-the-video-game-industry

Discussion Questions:

  1. Bogost mentions how certain brands communicate specific qualities about certain people. Do the video games that use these brands do the same thing?
  2. How positive of an effect has video games made on our economy?
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