Toyota is creating a game for the Microsoft Xbox that will be available to download free from the console’s Live service. The game will promote Toyota’s Yaris model and is the first created by an advertiser to be distributed over Xbox Live.
The game is the brainchild of Toyota’s US advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA and is being produced by Backbone Entertainment, a division of Foundation 9 Entertainment.
It will be offered free to all Xbox 360 console owners in the US and Canada, but it is not yet known whether it will be available in Europe.
An increasing number of brands are turning to computer games to promote their products. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, video game advertising will be worth $46bn (£22.6bn) globally by 2010 – up from $27bn (£13.2bn)) in 2005.
A number of brands have already created their own games, known in the industry as “advergames”. Volvo developed an Xbox game that promoted safer driving, and Burger King has sold 3.5 million copies of its Sneak King game. In the UK, Unilever has created several viral advergames for brands, including Domestos and Rexona.