and Gran Turismo franchise have been going neck and neck for a few years now. The two simulators compete on rival platforms and try to outsell each other with every installment but there is one thing they have in common, product placement. With every installment of either game comes a whole room of salivating and desperate advertisers waiting for the chance to throw millions of dollars into product placement. The game pretty much pays for itself.
The relationship between the auto and gaming industry grows bigger and bigger every year. Why gaming? Well, it's a perfect fit. Gaming is an interactive medium. It's the only medium where the user is actually controlling the car as opposed to watching a commercial on TV or seeing it in a movie. It's active whereas product placement in films and TV is passive.
"Gaming is a very engaging and captive environment that requires your full concentration. When people watch the Super Bowl on TV, however, they're multitasking - tweeting and commenting on their Facebook page throughout the game,
" said Dave Madden
, senior vice-president of global media sales at games developer Electronic Arts.
The image below is a screenshot from Forza
5 – not real life.
Gamers drive said cars for an extensive amount of time and in games like Forza and GT, it's the closest they'll get to driving the actual car. Other games like Need for Speed and GTA don't get this kind of treatment because running over 20 people on the street in a BMW is not the image the company is trying to portray. Need for Speed gets left out too because its dramatic car crashes can stir safety concerns. Forza and Gran Turismo are driving simulators with real life mechanics, physics and car stats. It's literally a virtual representation of the car itself.
Demographic is also a big reason. Gamer's age range from 13 - 40. So, whoever is playing the game is either going to be a future buyer or a car owner who could be looking for a new ride. If they're under the driving age, the car companies are wooing the gamer into their favorite brand for future purchases and if they're of age, it gives the gamer an unlimited amount of time for a test drive. Passionate gamers of age driving a Porsche 911 GT3 is pretty much priceless in the eyes of Porsche. Consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that in-game advertising will rise up to $2.8 billion this year. It's just going to get bigger and bigger.
Another reason is because it's far cheaper to place your product in a video game than in a movie. Plus auto companies receive licensing fees for handing over the exact specifications to the game developers. Companies will pay millions of dollars to get one of their cars placed on the cover of the game. Even integrating their cars in the main storyline of a game can cost the same amount. This is the Mercedes on the cover art of Forza 5 which probably cost them a few million.
In return, the video game publishers get a little bit of exposure themselves. Automobile companies provide the publishers with the car itself to display at conventions like Gamescom and E3.