Today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source
, which deals with games created for training, health, government, military, educational and other uses, features a look at the recently released Xbox and Xbox 360 Burger King advertising games, Pocketbike Racer, Big Bumpin’,
and Sneak King
Specifically, Georgia Institute of Technology assistant professor and Persuasive Games founding partner Ian Bogost examines these games as he discusses them in the context of a different kind of advergame, the "promogame", a concept which he further explains in this excerpt:
“We use the name advergames to describe video games whose primary purpose is to promote a company’s brand, products, or services through gameplay. And by those standards, Burger King’s Xbox games indeed might not be advergames (they do promote the brand and the products, but not as their primary purpose). I suggest a new way to understand this intersection of advertising and videogames.
I give the name promogames to video games whose primary purpose is to promote the purchase of a product or service secondary or incidental to the game itself. These Burger King games work by giving gamers a reason to buy Burger King hamburgers, not by telling gamers why they should buy those burgers over other burgers, or over fried chicken. While advergames promote the company, promogames offer an incentive to consume the company’s goods independent of the game’s representational properties.
We can imagine a variety of possible promogames, some with stronger advertising aspects, like these Burger King Xbox games, and others with weaker advertising features. For example, consider a hypothetical special edition, level, or episode of a popular original title like Halo or Half-Life given away with a minimum purchase. Promogames would seem to offer particular opportunity for companies who think their target markets intersect with particular segments of the video game playing market.”
You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject
, including more thoughts from Bogost concerning Burger King's promogames (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).