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Does the King have game?


As the spend on advertising in video games continues to grow, it was inevitable that something like this was coming. Burger King and Microsoft yesterday announced the release of three games featuring Brooke Burke, Subservient Chicken, and of course BK’s famously creepy corporate mascot.

The games, playable on both Xbox and Xbox 360, will be offered at $3.99 with the purchase of a value meal.

Xbox and Burger King both represent challenger brands that want to change the status quo connecting with customers on their terms in fun and entertaining ways said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing, Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft Corp. Consumers are saying, Let me have what I want, the way I want it. In essence, Xbox also is an invitation to consumers to have it their way. Our partnership with Burger King represents an irreverent new approach to this invitation that’s sure to provide a fun diversion for the whole family this holiday.

It’ll be interesting to see how these are received. Gamers are notoriously demanding, and there are any number of forums where these titles will be put under the microscope. Even at this price point, gamers may slam the games if they don’t offer a good playing experience.

I’m also wondering if the intention here is to turn a profit, or simply to stick a toe in the water and see what shakes out. Two years ago, it seemed like every client wanted an online game to draw kids to their brand, but the vast majority of those games seemed to underperform. In part, the problem may have been precisely that these titles paled in comparison to the console games they were already playing. Taking the branded game to the console — and offering it at a stocking-stuffer price — may be just what the doctor ordered.

Either way, it’s an ambitious program, and one that will have video game developers drooling at the potential for a new revenue stream — fully-sponsored video game titles. The toothpaste is officially out of the tube.

Geoff Teehan More posts by Geoff Teehan