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Metal Gear Solid: Corporate Sponsorship

Corporate sponsorship, or product placements if you will, is an important factor in the video game industry. They help keep the costs of game production down all the while stopping the game companies from raising the price of their products. These past few weeks Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, has been showing off the newest entry to the series Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP. Like most products in Japan, sponsorships/endorsements are very important to the image of the game. Meaning the more places the title shows up the more people will notice and buy the game. With Peace Walker however, things may have been taken a tiny bit far.

This past week Kojima and Konami held a press conference in Tokyo to announce the cooperate sponsors that will promote the game. The list ranges from Pepsi and Doritos to Sony Walkman and Axe body spray. At first this doesn’t sound so bad, put Snake’ face here, the MGS logo over there, simple right? Not so much. In addition of Metal Gear characters appearing on these products, these products will appear in the game as either support items or t-shirts that Snake can wear. To some fans this doesn’t come to them as a surprise, since Kojima is known to do some really crazy yet genus things. But then again finding a bag of Doritos in the middle of the Costa Rican forest while wearing and Axe body spray t-shirt during the 1970’s is a bit strange, even for Kojima.

In addition to these “in-game ads”, there will be collaborations with other companies creating not only additional content but accessories for the game. Two of gaming’s power houses, Capcom and Square-Enix, will be add some content of their own. Capcom’s monsters from Monster Hunter will be making an appearance a la Snake vs. Monkey, while Square will have armor parts scatter around the world that Snake can collect and use as shields. These also double as parts that can be transferred to Square’s upcoming Front Mission Evolved. Also Square-Enix will be creating the action figures and statues on their toy line as well. Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed team will also be contributing content as well, which yet has to be fully revealed.

Now with all of this “marketing” going on most fans are starting to yell “sell-out” towards Kojima and the Metal Gear series, thinking all of this sponsorship will ruin the game experience. Yes, it does seem a bit much, and yes Snake wearing an Axe body spray t-shirt while munching down on some Doritos in the middle of a 1970’s Costa Rican rain forest does sounds out of place, but they need to understand this. Most of the advertising that is going on with Peace Walker is being done in Japan and Japan only. It is common for games to get this much over exposure, especially when the creator is known for making extremely long, but excellent cut scenes. As games start to rival the budget of major movies, these tie in help bring costs down so that the company can afford to do more without raising the price of the game when it comes out. Besides other than the accessories and the PSP bundle packs, the West (North America mostly) will not see this kind of ad campaign as the game draws near its June 6 release date.

- Mike V.

article id: 1124 | poster: OG

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