It is not uncommon for cars to feature in video games. After all, who doesn’t remember manically piloting a Ferrari Testarossa Spider in Sega’s iconic Outrun game?
But BMW has leveraged the power on online gaming’s massive audiences to introduce the uninitiated to its upcoming all-electric iX2 model. The German brand announced that it is the first to introduce a Car Creator in Fortnite.
To do so, BMW created a virtual city of the future with the island “Hypnopolis”, which is fully explorable by Fortnite players, while a bespoke storyline has been created that (you guessed it) heavily revolves around the BMW iX2.
Cleverly, BMW has also digitally replicated and incorporated many of its architectural landmarks, such as the company headquarters (or BMW Welt), which are recognizable by the unique Four Cylinder design.
There’s a lot of talk about the “digital brand experience” and opening up “new dialogue opportunities with Next Gen target groups” by Stefan Ponikva, Vice President BMW Brand Communication and Brand Experience, who sees the move as bringing “the brand to life in the hands of the players”.
To take this notion to the next level, BMW has also introduced a neat Car Creator within its virtual world, which is located below the double cone in BMW Welt and is unlocked by completing various challenges. Here, players can design their own BMW iX2.
At first, the iX2 appears in “prototype disguise”, with players are initially restricted to a limited palette of gamified paint schemes, rims or trunk contents. But BMW plans to launch the vehicle IRL later next week, whereby the official paint finishes, rims and interior options for the new BMW iX2 will then also be available within the Car Creator.
A taste of things to come?
Although leveraging Fortnite looks like a canny way to connect with new customers (particularly a younger audience), BMW is investing a lot of time, money and effort to increase its virtual experiences offering in general.
Recently, it hosted its BMW Group Supplierthon, which invited hundreds of companies working in the virtual space to effectively pitch their best ideas. Some of the winners will have their concepts implemented into products over the coming years.
One of the chosen innovations transforms an efficient driving style into an entertaining race against other BMW drivers, while Chinese start-up DeepMirror Inc’s virtual spaces experience and Web3 Studio’s expertise in blockchain development and design also caught the Bavarian brand’s eye.
On top of this, the German brand partnered with Nvidia earlier this year to build the perfect digital twin of its future 400-hectare plant in Debrecen, allowing designers and engineers to make tweaks in the virtual world.