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Getting Out the Gamer Vote

by Cally Carswell 

Tags: Technology, video games, Election 2008, campaign advertising, Barack Obama, Xbox, Associated Press, Politico, Huffington Post,

Obama Xbox ad

If you thought some quality time with your Xbox might help take your mind off the election, think again. The Obama campaign is doing everything it can to make sure you can’t escape them, including embedding their ads in video games. According to the Associated Press, Obama’s ads now appear in 18 Xbox games that are updated over the internet. A Politico reader sent Ben Smith a variety of screenshots of the ads, which tell voters that “early voting has begun.” They seem to run a fine line between brilliant and creepy, and blog comments show a mixed reaction.

“Frankly, this is smart of the Obama campaign,” Mark Kraft comments on Smiths article:

It reaches a good target audience with the right message—vote early—and will generate a lot of attention online. It makes those who are technology savvy out there think that Obama ‘gets it’, and is forward thinking. Lastly, it will help to get and keep younger voters involved towards the end of the campaign. Anything that gets them out from behind the game console is a good thing.

An anonymous commenter on the same article is troubled, however: “Kind of reminds me of communist China in the days of Mao when his likness [sic] was plastered everywhere.”

Commenting on the Huffington Post, cnobody dislikes the idea of ads in video games all together: “you pay for the game and then you pay a fee to play people online. you're paying to be advertised to. that's what i object to.” But commenter anokie sees the ads as a smart way to prime the youth vote of 2012: “this is GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!.... talk about cultivatiing[sic] an electorate...think about all the 14 year olds that in 4 years, when Obama is up for relelection[sic], have already heard of him......GENIUS!!!!!”