Curious about the future of cars? Used to be you went to annual auto shows where concept cars were unveiled. But now, you simply have to look over your children’s or grandchildren’s shoulders at their video game screens to see what the future might hold for road-going transportation.
Case in point is the Ford F-150 Rocket League Edition, being launched by Ford and video game-maker Psyonix in a virtual version complete with a rocket booster. The in-game purchase will be available February 20-28 in a bundle that includes a chairman decal, two sets of F-150 wheels, F-150 Rocket League Edition engine audio, F-150 boost and F-150 player banner.”
“This animated pickup truck comes as part of the popular Rocket League multiplayer video game where vehicles take center stage to compete in soccer matches,” Ford said in unveiling the truck and in announcing its sponsorship of the Rocket League Championship Series Winter Majors esports tournament.
Not simply child’s play, this is corporate strategy; Ford has recruited actor Bryan Cranston to narrate advertisements aimed at gamers.
“The athletic-looking F-150 that appears on screen is based on the all-new 2021 F-150 and features signature C-clamp headlight design, rounded wheel arches, drop-down windows and ‘F-150’ stamped in the tailgate,” Ford said.
“It had to be an F-150 but one that fits within Psyonix’s extreme virtual world pairing soccer and mayhem,” said Ehab Kaoud, chief designer, Ford trucks. “F-150 is already the most popular truck in the real world, and this F-150 Rocket League Edition is poised to be the most popular truck in the gaming world, too. It’s Built Ford Tough meets gaming.”
“The crossover between the real world F-150 and the virtual reality of the Rocket League follows Ford’s collaboration in Europe between Team Fordzilla, the company’s e-sports team, and the gaming community there, which led to the creation of the P1 Project virtual race car in 2020,” Ford added.
Ford also noted that the Entertainment Software Association reports that more than 214 million Americans play video games and three-quarters of all U.S. households have at least one gamer in the home.
“As opportunities in gaming continue to grow, we’re really looking at this as its own marketing channel,” said Scott Denby, strategy manager, Ford brand content and alliances. “It’s the same way you would look at social media or TV and film integration.”
By the way, don’t be surprised if virtual vehicles such as the Rocket League F-150 appear in full, 3D and drivable scale at the SEMA Show.