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American Truck Simulator is running ads for real truck companies

You drive in the game, you drive in real life.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 30, 2023

2 Min Read
Screenshot from SCS Software's American Truck Simulator.

SCS Software's American Truck Simulator is now being used to pick up potential real-life drivers. As revealed in a recent Axios report, trucking company Schneider National began running in-game ads earlier this year to court players of the popular simulation title. 

Their reasoning is effectively the same one the US military holds for Call of Duty or Battlefield players: You like playing the game, right? How'd you like to do that in real life and get paid for it?

Schneider's PR manager Kara Leiterman said as such to Axios, revealing that the company was turned on to the game after recent drivers in their training program were said to have "skills above their experience level. [The drivers] credited their learning to the video game American Truck Simulator."

Earlier in June, SCS spoke on including Schneider's ads in its game. Calling Schneider "one of the largest logistics companies in the United States," the developer said the ads "hold promise in offering something valuable to our games, as well as the automotive industry."

"The recruitment campaign...allows us to assist the need of the trucking industry in general considering the current shortage of skilled professionals," continued SCS.

According to Leiterman, it's too early to really tell if the ads have had an effect on Schneider's job hires, the company is reportedly "optimistic" about its payoff. 

Labor-intensive industries are using games to bring in new hires

With this current Schneider deal, both the trucking and military industries are all but admitting they desperately need some new blood. 

Their respective jobs can be intense physically and emotionally. And it doesn't help that both of them have recently failed to bring in more members.  

In early May, it was reported that around 78,000 drivers left truck driving altogether 2022, thanks in part to the pandemic. It's believed that number will double by the start of the next decade, and the only solution is to bring in around 1.2 million new drivers. 

Training new drivers is costly (around $7,000), and as such, companies are trying to reduce the barrier to entry however possible. One such way is offering a scholarship for commercial drivers' license (CDL) training, which is needed in order to become certified to drive agriculture across the country. 

In its own way, American Truck Simulator is handling the issue of training. Because of how simulation-focused it is, people who might otherwise not have time to train (or go to community colleges for training) can boot up a game and practice that way.

Whether one considers that a good or bad things, it appears to be effective. SCS has made clear that its Schneider deal is going to lead to other partnerships down the line, and added it will find other opportunities so as to "create a more immersive and purposeful in-game world."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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