BP to bring advertising, global warming to SimCity

Posted by Mark Raby

Redwood City (CA) - In a peculiar partnership, video game publisher Electronic Arts and energy giant BP have teamed up to bring issues of electricity and pollution to a new SimCity game.

SimCity Societies will be the first video game title published by a major company with this kind of integration with "big oil".  The game will allow players to choose from between coal plants and solar farms, a mix of both, and numerous other options in between.

Each energy choice will have a cost/pollution dichotomy to it.  According to the New York Times, BP logos will appear on "clean" energy structures like solar and wind farms but not on pollution-heavy systems.  BP will also be the exclusive gas station in the game.

Pollution management has been a part of the long-running SimCity series over much of the game's 18-year run.  The new title is poised to be much more realistic at addressing this issue, though.

According to the Times, BP approached EA last year about creating an educational game that teaches users about energy.  EA vice president Steve Seabolt said in an interview about this move, "We are not fundamentally in the educational games space. We went back to BP and said rather than doing a separate game we could incorporate this into what we were then calling SimCity 5."

ABI Research reported earlier this year that it expects in-game advertising to become an $850 million industry by 2011.  BP paid an undisclosed sum of money to EA for its presence in the upcoming game.

SimCity Societies is due out for the PC on November 15.