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Driving A Supercar On The Sofa

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The DriveWrite Archives Hobbies

Driving A Supercar On The Sofa

Geoff Maxted
August 25, 2013

Driving Game
Many drivers would love to own an Audi RS and now they can. All they need is a games console and a decent monitor. This is because, in the battle to shift more real motors, car manufacturers have made a devilish pact with computer game makers in a bid to attract new sales from, predominately, younger drivers both male and female.

Of course, you don’t have to be young to play computer games but most older drivers are already set on their favourite brand or car type. No; it is the newbies, the people just moving into the car market and who have an affinity with modern digital media and social contact. These young people are the car buyers of the future, so the makers say, stating the bleeding obvious.

So car makers are allying themselves to the various console brands. Audi are featured on one and Nissan, not to be outdone, have partnered up to another. The thinking seems to be that the value to car manufacturers in these games is that they are interactive. Outcomes are not set in stone and, to put it in very general terms, the driver with the handset has control. It’s addictive. One thing leads to another.

The Nissan game involves racing a sports car around the sinuous curves of Silverstone. From rookie to expert and all from the comfort of your own furniture. In fact, as has already been proved, this is not a bad idea. Recently top gamers were invited to compete for places behind the wheel of a real car. Not only did it generate enormous interest but the winner went on to achieve a podium place at Le Mans in 2011. That’s incredible, and it all started with a games controller. This year digital promotion will take up a quarter of Nissan’s advertising budget. That’s how seriously they take this.

If you want to spread the word about a particular car then, historically, the real thing has to be seen. Some years ago now, car makers realised that if they were able to place their products in films then millions of movie-goers would see a car at its spectacular best. Accordingly, over the years, we have seen James Bond drive a variety of tasty metalware products. Putting their cars into games is just an extension of this. In other words - immersive product placement.

Maybe it all stems from the fact that younger people seem to be turning their backs on cars. This is thinking driven by the inflated expense of running a car these days. These same young people also realise that they can get loads of social connectivity through devices that cost a fraction of the price of pretty much any motor without actually having to go anywhere. The big brands have wised up to this and hence the push to sell cars through social sites and games. This will increase as time goes on. No doubt in the fullness of that very same time we will all be able to drive virtual cars from the comfort of our own homes. All the thrills without the cost and danger. Eventually, all auto brands will get in on the act and such things will be pedestrian and commonplace. We can only be one step away from being able to shoot a virtual car dealer in the face or drive his crappy car into the plate glass showroom whilst firing an Uzi wildly in the air. There is no escape from advertising.

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