Last week GamePolitics broke the news that in-game ads for Barack Obama were apparently running inside Burnout: Paradise on Xbox Live. Although we sought comment several times from publisher Electronic Arts before running that story, no confirmation was forthcoming.
GigaOm, however, managed to get the official word from Holly Rockwood, EA’s director of corporate communications, late yesterday:
I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout. Like most television, radio and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates. Like political spots on the television networks, these ads do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development teams.
In the meantime, we’ve got an exclusive follow-up with Dragunov765, the gamer who took those great photos which originally brought the ads to our attention:
The photos were taken Oct. 6th, 2008 in my living room with an Olympus 550UZ… I imported them directly from the camera into Photoshop because Photobucket won’t handle any images over 1Mb and I generally shoot in super HQ… Beyond reducing the file size for posting to the internet, no other adjustments were made to the images. The files I sent you were the images that came off the camera. I would have taken more, but I didn’t even have the memory stick in there because I’d just completed downloading some other photos and hadn’t put it back in.
The funny thing is that I had already played through 97% of the game months ago and it was collecting dust on the shelf. I had only tossed it in because we just bought the new TV and one of my daughter’s friends wanted to see the motorcycles in action. We’d been buzzing around the city in various vehicles at high speed for about half an hour before I happened to crash right in front of one of the billboards (Burnout’s in-game camera induces vertigo if you try to manipulate it so you normally have to get a car airborne before you can actually read any of the signs close up). It was a genuine "WTF?" moment.