August 22nd, 2013
Carmakers look to video games for new routes to market
By Christiaan Hetzner and Harro Ten Wolde
The spoiler popped up automatically when the speedometer of the new Audi RS7 Sportback moved past 130 kilometers an hour on Charles Bridge in central Prague, creating just enough downforce to ensure the tires gripped the road around the next turn. Racing through the city’s scenic old quarter in the “Forza Motorsport 5” videogame is unnervingly realistic - not least thanks to the force-feedback steering wheel that makes the speeding driver struggle to keep control.
The upcoming Microsoft Xbox One game is also just one example of an increasingly symbiotic relationship between software developers and the auto industry. Together they get games fans behind the wheel and carmakers in pole position to woo today’s younger consumers as tomorrow’s car buyers. Even if many of the players may not be able to afford to buy a car now, Volkswagen’s Audi sponsors the game since it can start winning brand loyalty for the future. It is also well aware that driving games are not just enjoyed by the young.