For decades, advertisers have spent a good bit of time and energy (not to mention cash) placing their products in movies. Who could forget ET's Reese's Pieces or, as a more recent example, the Audi R8, which has co-starred alongside Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man films? For its part, General Motors has had huge success with the Transformers series, and now it's hoping to replicate those triumphs by putting the 2011 Chevrolet Volt in a videogame.
This isn't exactly a new strategy for automakers. Anyone who's ever spent time in front of Forza Motorsport 3 has probably driven real-world, buyable rides like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the Nissan GTR. Still, it's a little unexpected to find the Volt in a game -- and also, a little brilliant.
The Volt will be an unlockable car in the upcoming Joy Ride videogame, which will be the first to use Microsoft's groundbreaking Kinect control system. Kinect employs some very nifty technology that turns the player's body into a virtual game controller, eliminating the need to press buttons and toggle joysticks. Players can customize their Volt online, then drag it into the videogame to compete against friends and frenemies. The social elements of the campaign haven't been announced, but it's probably safe to assume that users will be able to show off their rides and share their experiences with friends across Xbox Live and other networks.
This is a brilliant marketing strategy for Chevrolet. Kinect is at the forefront of hot, new technology, much like the Volt itself; each feeds the other's fashion-forward image. Furthermore, Joy Ride is the first Kinect game, and again, like the highly anticipated Volt, its launch is set to be big news. And finally, appearing in a videogame makes the Volt seem young and peppy, hopefully assuaging any lingering concerns about electric range (even though, given the Volt's range-extending gas-powered generator, it shouldn't be an issue).
Oh, by the way, the Volt's also coming to Windows Mobile-powered phones. Which should be of interest to about five of you. Oops, make that four.
Anyway, as promised, le video: