Gillette and Nokia are understood to be close to signing sponsorship deals with online game Football Superstars. The deals are expected to include in-game advertising as well as product placement.
Gillette parent company Procter & Gamble and Nokia are thought to be in advanced talks with Cybersports, which developed the game, ahead of its formal launch in November. Sportswear brand Puma signed a deal with the game in June (MW June 12).
Puma has created a virtual football boot for the game, which has been compared to Second Life. Gamers can also visit a virtual branch of Puma’s flagship London store.
Football Superstars will be free to download from the beginning of November and players can recreate the game and the accompanying luxury lifestyle footballers enjoy. The more they play, the better they get and they can then demand better pay and negotiate transfer deals.
Away from the pitch, players can visit restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the game’s two virtual towns. Training grounds and gyms allow players to improve their skills and they can attempt to boost their fame and status by flirting with the paparazzi.
A launch was scheduled for September but was postponed so that adjustments could be made after Closed Beta testing involving more than 100,000 users. It is thought P&G and Nokia will wait until the final version of the game is ready before the deals are completed.