Gamepolitics.com is reporting that an Xbox Live gamer, Dragunov765, posted screenshots while playing EA's race game "Burnout Paradise." The screenshots feature a Barack Obama billboard that says early voting has begun and references voteforchange.com, a site paid for by Obama for America, which points voters to early voting locations in states where the practice is permitted.
EA has neither confirmed nor denied that the ad is actually a paid media spot or just a very clever piece of Photoshopped brilliance. Regardless, the screenshots definitely worked in raising the awareness of Obama with a core audience of voting-age Americans.
On a relevant note, we as advertisers have used the gaming space to reach the 18- to 34-year-old demographic so why shouldn't a presidential candidate use it as well? Of course, as Gamepolitics.com brings up, there's the issue of ad integration into T- or M-rated titles that may conflict with a candidate's family values. However, the Obama ad, if authentic, is a huge validation to a channel that should be used more frequently.