FreeStyleGames and its longtime advertising partner Red Bull talk about new projects and the "advergaming" industry.
Energy drink Red Bull and developer FreeStyleGames are collaborating on a new, unnamed "advergame". The history between the two companies has roots back to a breakdancing title, B-Boy, they co-developed for the Playstation Portable and the Playstation 2.
Chris Lee, Commercial Director of FreeStyleGames, discussed with GameDAILY the relationship the developer shares with its advertising partner. "We've been working together for over 3 years. We got started on B-boy and that really established the relationship. We worked with Crazy Legs, who's a Red Bull styled athlete. So that was the introduction initially and since then we've learned more about the culture of Red Bull, be it in music or athletics, and now we're looking how it could be used as a medium for gaming."
Lee elaborated on the role of video games as a medium for delivering marketing messages to consumers. "We've already had discussions with many different brands and they certainly view consoles like the Xbox 360 and PS3 as media devices as well as video game platforms. They're excited about reaching that new audience and we're going to continue to highlight that.... As indie developers we can invest time with brands like Red Bull to go in-depth with them. It really is an exciting period for video games in this field, since TV is becoming a more difficult medium to expand into. There are a lot of old channels that aren't hitting people the right way and there's just super potential with interactive content, be it games or web or videos."
Red Bull has sponsorship agreements with a wide variety of athletes and sports brands, ranging from Major League Soccer to extreme sports. Lee commented on the wide variety of Red Bull identities. "The great thing about Red Bull is that they are already working with other brands with a number of sponsored athletes. So as part of our relationship, we're making sure that we develop something that does credit to all the brands. It's not one athlete, or branded event we're working with, either. They appreciate that we seek to do things authentically.
"It's best to ignore the fact that Red Bull is a brand. They have a large repertoire of activities that they're involved with and many of those have great potential for game IPs. It's a great collaboration to deliver game content. Outside of sports, they have the Red Bull music academy, which works with signed and unsigned artists. There are three or four hundred more potential opportunities. We actively seek out untraditional roots and that's great, because will Red Bull, there's a never ending potential source of content for games we're developing on any number of platforms. Having an intelligent partner is a dream come true."
FreeStyleGames claims that the success of the Burger King games did not influence their relationship with Red Bull. Until more details concerning the project are announced, Lee could only state, "We're looking to announce more detail in the coming months for games and platforms. There's been a history of non-video game partners getting together with developers and not having great results. What we're shooting for are titles that will be compelling games in their own rights. The industry is an exciting place to be right now, with lots of non-traditional experiences to have. Hopefully there'll be more of these partnerships in the future and add to our expanding portfolio."