Product Placement in Video Games

A brand could be placed in a video game for different reasons. Players want authenticity and request realistic games. Any digital goods displayed in a game can be based on a brand: cars, clothes, weapons, businesses, etc. Even in the dialogues, a brand might be mentioned. There is also the possibility for a celebrity to appear either as an accurate or likelihood depiction. I see the economic benefits for celebrities and brand holders/marketers to use video games as a platform to target specific customers. But I also understand that they might not want to let their brands appear in it.

When a brand is deliberately placed in a video game, the players, some of them may be minors, may not realize that they are targeted by advertising. Are there some rules on these kinds of advertising? My theory is that the product placement in video games is not subject to any disclosure as long it is related to the game as in-game cinematic or gameplay.

In contrast, when celebrities or brand holders/marketers refuse to authorize the use of their brand, the artistic development of the game will be affected. Is there some degree of freedom that allows an artistic creation to use popular brands? Is the brand owner’s permission required for every use of a brand by any production studio? For what I have seen so far in my initial research, in the United States, there is a tension between the First Amendment, constitutional free speech right, and the “right of publicity” of celebrities or, in the case of digital goods, the trademark likelihood of confusion for consumers.