If you've never been ensnared by an online game like Vivendi's
I've written about how the makers of these massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) -- of which WoW is only the latest and greatest example -- are experts at addiction. With amazing, immersive plots, graphics, and in-game eBay-style
Well, WoW's venerable competitor and precursor, Sony's
Yes, the jokes are easy from here. Can you imagine the opportunities for InterActiveCorp's
The truth is, games like this appeal to mature, adult audiences. You want proof? Just check out the Fool's Warcraft board (free trial required) and see for yourself how much we complain about those spelling-impaired teenagers. (Shaking fist and with best geezer voice: Dang kids!) It would be silly for companies to ignore the opportunities for revenue-enhancing product and service placements.
Sure, those of us who love the games don't want to see them loaded with outlandish advertisements at every turn, but there are subtler ways to get things done. How about a quest that rewards players with coupons for that above-mentioned pizza -- or better yet, a Web-enabled database of local take-out restaurants? Free iPods for the first 20 Apple-
The sky is the limit here, and though it's unfortunate that the talented producers of Everquest and WoW are tiny parts of dinosaur-size corporations, there are plenty of ways that smaller players, like Electronic Arts
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Seth Jayson can be ganked most evenings on Thunderlord. At the time of publication, he had a level 42 Night Elf hunter but no positions in any company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.