Advertising in games is nothing new, particularly in freemium games–as Kotaku points out, SimCity Social last year featured a Dunkin’ Donuts building, and Alan Wake featured a variety of prominent Energizer product placements throughout the game.
On the one hand, product placement could potentially help offset development costs for game developers, lowering the final cost of the game or allowing them to offer DLC for free, as is the case here. We see product placement in movies and TV shows fairly regularly, and sponsorship and product placements help keep many sites on the web free.
On the other hand, it irritates me when I’m playing a game and am subjected to what is quite clearly real world advertising–and I’m relatively sure I’m not alone.
The limited edition free addon (which will only be available for the next six months) has a variety of positive effects on the game with none of the usual negatives. Adding happiness to nearby buildings and adding to the amount of Sims driving electric vehicles in your city, it costs no resources to run and creates no sewage or garbage. The only real “downside” is when you zoom in, you see the Nissan logo.
You can download the free Nissan Leaf® charge station by visiting the in-game store or heading to Origin.