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Breaking The Box – The Future Of In Game Publicity

Could games be the next great platform from which emerging bands could solidify their fame and gain publicity? In relatively recent developments in technology, methods have been made available that could transform the ways new bands can break out.

The new tool for bands to break out of the box?

In last year’s outing from Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto IV, the gaming press reported an interesting story concerning acclaimed British comic, Ricky Gervais, making a virtual appearance in one of the game’s comedy clubs. This in-game performance generated yet more publicity for the notorious criminal paradise that is GTA IV.

Gervais Splitting Sides On GTA IV.

Looking to the future, we must consider the ways in which these kinds of ideas can be moulded and warped to suit various needs. Possible applications could include in-game performances from bands, these ‘gamer-gigs’ would create a large audience for their music, rivalling and possibly overwhelming that offered by music-centric social networking sites such as MySpace.

Beyond the musical possibilities, media such as film and television could be incorporated into games, for example through the medium of the classic game scenery item, the TV. Rather than being just a static prop, the box could be used to stream video from films, trailers, television shows and real-world television commercials to the gaming audience. While sneakily adding a possible extra revenue stream for developers, the incorporation of such features would add to the immersive aspect of the game.

When allowed to consider the whole range of possibilities, games prove an almost limitless format for hosting virtual renditions of real world media. This list of applications could include comedy acts, bands, solo musicians, movies, television, music videos, charity appeals and many, many more. In fact, the only things limiting these ideas becoming part of the games of the future are the ingenuity of the developers and the ever-present brick wall that is content licensing.

In game advertising, a topic which shares many themes with the ideas that I am proposing, has already been implemented on the current generation with dynamic advertising in games such as Burnout Paradise, which featured campaign advertising for newly elected President of the United States, Barack Obama. This form of advertising is always met with a clearly distinguishable gust of chilly air. Some gamers hate it, labelling it “intrusive” and “needless”, while others feel that it adds to the realism of a game and embrace it as another dimension within the virtual world, tying their lives into the game.

Barack In Burnout: Now-President Obama Canvasses In Car Game

With some games of late being entirely funded by companies using them as a media for pushing their product, most recently Doritos Dash Of Destruction (Review here), steps are clearly being taken towards using consistent real world content within games, but it could be a long wait before we can avoid the trip to the cinema completely and kick back with our controllers in the GTA Cinema.


Sam Finch

Sam has been unable to peel his bloodshot eyes and RSI-ridden wrists from the world of gaming since he was first introduced to it, like all good junkies, by his Grandad. From those early days of MegaDrive sweetness, bashing through the throngs of enemies on Shining Force II, his love of all things games has extended upwards and outwards onto a variety of platforms. You can either believe that spiel, or get the real scoop and know that his spaceship actually crashed here some years ago and he is currently incognito as a games writer for Console Monster.

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