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Electronic Arts has struck product placement deals with McDonalds and Intel for its Sims Online game. Chipzilla and Burgerzilla will feature prominently in the game, reports MSNBC.

Sims players will be able to fulfill the American dream, and open a virtual McDonalds franchise in Sims-space. In the French version, we presume, you'll then have to defend it from an incendiary mob.

"Eating [McDonalds] food will also improve their standing within the game," reports MSNBC.

The report doesn't explain if the deal opens parallel opportunities up to coronary surgeons or obesity specialists.

The Intel side of the deal introduces Pentium branding and the Intel Inside jingle to the game: which is rather less integrated than the McDonalds deal. Perhaps Sims citizens could be given the opportunity to run an Itanium server farm on the household electricity supply?

Product placement isn't new in games: Hasbro has defiled Charles Darrow's classic Monopoly board game by encouraging businesses to buy squares in local editions of the game.

And sponsorship has spilled over into music and literature: rap artists and novelists* now accept payola. As of course, do we. ®

*["Will Self: 'I return to the words of Bill Hicks when he said, '"If any artist ever endorses a product then they have completely destroyed their status as an artist.' I don't care if they shit Mona Lisas on cue, they've destroyed their reputations, and advertising for the Government is much more pernicious."]

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