Virtual worlds are also a popular target for advertisers. In Second Life a number of companies have purchased land within the game to establish a permanent presence. You can buy products from retailers like Nike and Amazon. Apparently Starwoods Hotels and Resorts built a digital replica of a hotel they were planning to build in real life to see the reaction from people. You have to wonder about this logic though – if companies think they can garner useful information from people's online choices they may be in for a nasty shock, after all, gaming is about escapism and most people frequently do things in games that they would never do in real life.
There are all sorts of fantastical predictions about the amount of ad spending there will be in future games, but so far despite claims it will reach $2 billion by 2011 it remains far short of this target. There's a suggestion that this revenue could be worth $1 per game to publishers – which is certainly enough to catch their attention. Still I think I'd be willing to spend an extra $1 on the game to get it without advertising. Personally I don't mind advertising when it's bundled into something free as they have to pay for it somehow but when you are already paying a premium price for something it’s cheeky to just bombard your customers with adverts regardless.