Obama burnout paradise

Quite whether voters are drawn toward high-speed road-races is unclear, but the Obama campaign has o

There was a period a few years ago when it was impossible to attend any games industry conference without someone delivering a presentation on the potential of in-game advertising. Not content with selling the game itself, seemingly every asset within the game world appeared to be up for auction. Realistic 3d models of high-level cars were sold in as objects into racing games and curiously, the street environments started to contain more and more billboards…

For an advertiser of course, videogames offer a particularly unique proposition. With the advent of a more ubiquitous and robust online content delivery system, advertising locations within games were able to change and respond to whatever media the buyer might wish to present. Campaign changes? No problem, simply push the new content to the players console via a transparent game update. As well as being an ideal way to reach the generation of young folk who have apparently stopped watching television advertising because they are online or playing games, this dynamic proposition also offers a way in which to serve advertising that is not just relevant to the game, but responsive to the players actions within it.

Quite whether Democratic-leaning voters are drawn toward high-speed road-races is unclear, but the Obama campaign decided to explore their viability as potential supporters anyway.

This week, Electronic Arts has confirmed that Obama ‘08 has purchased a number of advertisements within ten titles, including the Xbox 360 version of ‘Burnout Paradise’, the most recent iteration of the very successful racing/crashing franchise. In a model demonstration of the flexibility of in-game advertising, these ads are only running in Xbox’s being played in ten swing states.

GigaOm managed to get confirmation of the buy, after GamePolitics broke the story following a series of images posted by a Roosterteeth forum member known as ‘Jeffson’ last week.

This both is an interesting next-step for an advertising platform previously only really used for selling soft-drinks and lifestyle products, and another reason to watch what your kids are playing really carefully.

Image credit: 360 gamer “Jeffson”

Iain Simons writes, talks and tweets about videogames and technology. His new book, Play Britannia, is to be published in 2009. He is the director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University.
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PMQs review: Jeremy Corbyn prompts Tory outrage as he blames Grenfell Tower fire on austerity

To Conservative cries of "shame on you!", the Labour leader warned that "we all pay a price in public safety" for spending cuts.

A fortnight after the Grenfell Tower fire erupted, the tragedy continues to cast a shadow over British politics. Rather than probing Theresa May on the DUP deal, Jeremy Corbyn asked a series of forensic questions on the incident, in which at least 79 people are confirmed to have died.

In the first PMQs of the new parliament, May revealed that the number of buildings that had failed fire safety tests had risen to 120 (a 100 per cent failure rate) and that the cladding used on Grenfell Tower was "non-compliant" with building regulations (Corbyn had asked whether it was "legal").

After several factual questions, the Labour leader rose to his political argument. To cries of "shame on you!" from Tory MPs, he warned that local authority cuts of 40 per cent meant "we all pay a price in public safety". Corbyn added: “What the tragedy of Grenfell Tower has exposed is the disastrous effects of austerity. The disregard for working-class communities, the terrible consequences of deregulation and cutting corners." Corbyn noted that 11,000 firefighters had been cut and that the public sector pay cap (which Labour has tabled a Queen's Speech amendment against) was hindering recruitment. "This disaster must be a wake-up call," he concluded.

But May, who fared better than many expected, had a ready retort. "The cladding of tower blocks did not start under this government, it did not start under the previous coalition governments, the cladding of tower blocks began under the Blair government," she said. “In 2005 it was a Labour government that introduced the regulatory reform fire safety order which changed the requirements to inspect a building on fire safety from the local fire authority to a 'responsible person'." In this regard, however, Corbyn's lack of frontbench experience is a virtue – no action by the last Labour government can be pinned on him. 

Whether or not the Conservatives accept the link between Grenfell and austerity, their reluctance to defend continued cuts shows an awareness of how politically vulnerable they have become (No10 has announced that the public sector pay cap is under review).

Though Tory MP Philip Davies accused May of having an "aversion" to policies "that might be popular with the public" (he demanded the abolition of the 0.7 per cent foreign aid target), there was little dissent from the backbenches – reflecting the new consensus that the Prime Minister is safe (in the absence of an attractive alternative).

And May, whose jokes sometimes fall painfully flat, was able to accuse Corbyn of saying "one thing to the many and another thing to the few" in reference to his alleged Trident comments to Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis. But the Labour leader, no longer looking fearfully over his shoulder, displayed his increased authority today. Though the Conservatives may jeer him, the lingering fear in Tory minds is that they and the country are on divergent paths. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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