fifa.jpg Some fascinating trawling has been going on over at Ilya Vedrashko's 'In-Game Advertising and Advergames' weblog, where he's recounting the history of in-game advertising in EA Sports games, using a multitude of screenshots.

Starting with "Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One on One, 1983, Electronic Arts. (No ads)", the survey quickly wanders through the '80s and early '90s with nary a reference to a real, non-fictional third party ad - for example, "Kings of the Beach, Electronic Arts, 1988. House ad for EA, Kool Cola (fictional), AVP (association of volleyball professionals), Clue (?), Juan Cuervo (?)."

But with "FIFA International Soccer, 1994 (on most platforms), Electronic Arts. This is the first installment in the long series of FIFA-licensed games. It also seems to be the first to feature third-party brands on the field", the first actual in-game ads are seen, and though they appear only sporadically in the late '90s, there are certainly more real ads as time goes on - "FIFA Soccer 2003, 2002, Electronic Arts (image: Gamespot). Multi-level billboards with ads for Vodafone, McDonald's, Fuji, Hyundai, Toshiba and others." A fun and informative look at how things have evolved.