The Blurred (Marketing) Line Between Games and Reality

SHEcokeWoWad.jpg Weird tasting Final Fantasy drinks, Coke ads featuring Taiwanese pop singers getting sucked in by WoW, and ... travel packages centered around your favourite game? Admittedly, the game-based travel packages are for MMORPGs that are based around actual geography, but gaming tourism (and I don't mean casinos) was a new one for me:

In July 2007, China Youth Travel Service Co., Ltd and Sohu jointly released a travel package based on the plots of a popular internet game: the Semi-Gods and the Semi-devils (天龙八部,Tianlong Babu). The game was adapted from a well-known martial arts novel by a Hong Kong novelist Jin Yong. In 2002 Taiwan-based Soft-world turned it into a RPG internet game and received enormous success on mainland China. The new travel package covered plot-related legendary places such as Hainan Island, Sichuan, Nanshao etc. and included real-world games similar to the internet games. The "Tianlong" fans, most of whom are in their twenties can also get VIP cards to play with the internet games after they go back home.

I wonder if this is the sort of thing that will ever make the jump outside of Asia. And what form would it take? And would Western gamers pony up for the chance to travel around with a horde of fellow gamers, taking in the sites.

Trend: Chinese Virtual Games Go Real [CScout]


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