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Obama Campaign Ads Popping Up In Video Game Billboards

The ads appear in racing games including Burnout Paradise and NASCAR 09, as well as NHL 09, NBA Live 08, Need For Speed, NFL Tour, and Skate.

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat, has become the first presidential candidate to advertise on video games.

Obama's ads have turned up as billboards that Xbox 360 players see as they race through towns in Burnout Paradise. The candidate's face and a message about early voting -- "Early Voting Has Begun" -- appear on the billboards. Those accompany a campaign slogan/request to "Vote for Change."

The ads also appear in other racing games, including: NASCAR 09, NHL 09, NBA Live 08, Need For Speed (Carbon and ProStreet), NFL Tour, and Skate.

The ads appear in the online version of the games, which allow for modifications. They have been placed in 10 swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Players may not pick up the full message as they speed by the billboards, but the face and the Obama campaign colors are easily recognizable.

Electronic Arts, the maker of the game, has acknowledged accepting political ads for games, saying they are open to any credible candidate.

The placement represents an opportunity to reach out the millions of Americans. About one-third of U.S. homes own one of the top game consoles, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PS3, or Nintendo Wii.

Obama's campaign has aggressively pursued new ways to get the candidate's message out, embracing SMS, text, social networking, blogs, widgets, and other digital formats.

His opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has also embraced many of those technologies for getting out his campaign message.

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