'Early voting has begun!'
Electronic Arts confirmed that Sen. Barack Obama has purchased in-game ad space in nine major video games, reports The Hill.
Speculation seized the blogosphere when one gamer took a screenshot of an Obama billboard that appeared in an Xbox 360 game of Burnout Paradise. He posted the images on a gaming forum, where they quickly migrated to gaming blogs and ad sites.
The games chosen — Madden NFL '09, Burnout Paradise, NASCAR 09, NHL 09, NBA Live 08, Need For Speed: Carbon, Need For Speed: ProStreet, NFL Tour, and Skate — serve an audience of males between 18 and 34. Obama's ads will appear as stadium signage or billboards, according to Director Holly Rockwood of Corporate Communications at EA.
Obama's ads are available to online gamers in 10 swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin. (The Hill notes President Bush won all of them, with the exception of Wisconsin, in 2004.)
The campaign runs between October 6 and November 3, the day before Election Day. This marks EA's virgin foray into political advertising, though Rockwood was quick to add the messages do not reflect EA's views or policies.
One of the company's ad agencies contacted the McCain campaign for a similar effort, but the latter declined the offer.