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'We want to embrace it with credibility and authenticity' – why gaming is more than just marketing for Ford

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Last month, Ford of Europe's appearance at the giant games trade fair Gamescom – normally held live in Cologne, Germany, but this year taking place virtually for the second successive time – involved a live show on Twitch from Team Fordzilla, the esports team Ford launched at the games trade fair in 2019.

But this is perhaps the least interesting aspect of how the car brand is making use of the gaming space, both as a marketing opportunity and source of inspiration for its technology.

The brand used the event to promote a series of other initiatives: including the Project P1 Concept, a virtual racing car designed in collaboration with gamers, which has now been turned into a full-scale model used as a simulator; and “Vanzilla”, an adapted Ford Transit van equipped with gaming equipment and accessibility features that can take great gaming experiences to people who find them difficult to access.

According to Emmanuel Lubrani (pictured right), senior manager, brand communications and content development at Ford of Europe, the business has taken an approach to games that is “slightly different from what other existing car brands are doing”.

Other car brands, he said, have (perhaps understandably) focused on sim racing, the genre of racing games that aims to accurately simulate an auto racing experience, with leading titles including the Gran Turismo (PlayStation) and Forza (Xbox) series.

“You've got a lot of Formula 1 teams in esports, or BMW or Mercedes,” Lubrani says. “The thing we didn't want to be was [just] for performance esports, because we want to be a presence in gaming, we don't just want to........

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