Real Cars in Automotive Games – A Win-Win Situation for Developers, Automakers and Gamers

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Driving blogNot before long, video games contained only imaginary cars, usually a mix of red or blue pixels which would show the possibility of sports cars and sedans. However, today game developers have started featuring real cars in video games and they may be anything from antique cars to unreleased models.

Today’s car games, like a driving blog, also show features of the cars fantastically with every detail including dashboard and suspension system, so that the gamer can enjoy driving a real car which they may not afford in real life. Digitizing cars is a time-consuming process. For example, it took 6 months for designing each of the premium automobiles in Gran Turismo 5. The process is also a symbol of an unparalleled extent of collaboration between manufacturing industry and entertainment industry. Now that the world has gone digital, automakers have made video games their new showrooms. Since there are so many benefits of this even to the consumer (gamer), this is a win-win situation. Developers get games fans behind the wheel and automakers in pole position to entice today’s younger consumers as tomorrow’s car buyers.


Showing a car in a video game has made things simple because playing a game is not as overwhelming as walking inside a car dealership, speaking to salespeople and talking about numbers. Thus, car makers find this a great opportunity to talk to people in an un-intimidating environment where people can do whatever they want.

automotive games

Designing a Digital Showroom

Although it becomes simple for people viewing cars and their features while playing car games, designing a digital showroom is not that simple. In fact, there is always a risk for the company of something going wrong. Video games are not like movies and so, cars won’t always be displayed from predefined viewpoints pulling off preplanned tricks. Actually, exaggeration can generate hazardous consumer expectations, particularly when games have so much capability – e.g. a focus could hit 500 mph with a few keystrokes – but that’s not what automakers want.

They want to ensure the user will get the same experience while playing automotive games as when they drive the car in real life. Boosting the car in the game so that when people drive it in real life, they don’t find the vehicle up to the mark is the worst thing to do. Therefore they have to share a limitless technical data with licensees to ensure precision.

car photography

Other Factors

Automakers also don’t want to see their cars flipping over for strange reasons. For example, they don’t want to see the car catching fire if there’s no reason. If you’re driving a car poorly in a game and end up rolling the vehicle as a result of your mistake, that has an explanation. But the automakers don’t want to appear in a Burnout game where the very point of the game is destruction. Another no-no is hitting animals and pedestrians. So, one of the most violent yet successful titles in the world, Grand Theft Auto, doesn’t contain “Mustangs” but “Stallions”.

Strange Relationship

This exchange of licensing vs. creativity makes the relationship between auto sector and gaming sector somewhat strange. For example, Ford had to seek permission from game developers to share the screenshots of their own automobiles. However, sometimes the car industry actually needs to put their foot down, like a Ford placement in Alan Wake, the Xbox 360 psychological mystery. Here the main character meets with an accident. The cars actually have airbags. They had to work closely with their legal and safety teams. When they first saw the scene of accident, it didn’t show the airbags positioned. So, they had to change that.

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Ford car in game

Revenue for the Automakers and Game Developers

Developers pay carmakers to include their automobiles in games. Thus game licensing in fact has created revenue for the automakers. However, if an automaker really wanted a car in a game that’s not selling well, the things would change and the automaker would pay the developer to “sponsor” that placement.

Even though many gamers may not be able to afford a car today, automakers sponsor the game since they can begin winning brand loyalty for the future. They also know that driving games are not just played and enjoyed by the young.

car games

Automakers, however, note that these advertisements through games are absolutely worthwhile to their brand. They find:

  • An increase in brand rating
  • An increase in brand recommendation
  • An increase in purchase consideration
  • Rise in the number of gamers to agree that the cars they drive in the game are fun
  • Rise in the number of gamers to agree that the cars they drive in the game are good value for the money

These facts not only seem good, but a bit too good when it’s realized that they may even apply to the same kinds of car placements that the automaker gets paid to permit at present. Simply put, it’s likely that the automakers see as much noticeable consumer benefit from licensed content as when they do their own advertisements.

A car in a video game not only reaches young players but also the automaker’s core target group. Unlike a movie which contains a straight narrative, a video game is interactive and doesn’t define its storyline in advance. Car manufacturers give gamers a chance to enter a car race which begins with driving an electric car right in their living rooms and could actually lead to racing a real sports car in race track.

real cars in game

Thus, while game developers and automakers are getting benefits, gamers too can benefit by watching excellent car photography and driving various cars, till they become capable of buying those cars.

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