Porsche’s decision to give the new 911 GT2 RS its media debut at a video game show rather than a motor show is a fascinating one for both industries.
That car is a big deal. Any GT2 RS always has been; it’s the most singularly unhinged production 911 and is built to make any car guy or girl break out in sweats just to sit in it. Why choose gaming show E3 to unveil it in the flesh?
Porsche’s cooperation with multiple game franchises still feels like a new thing, and it’s only natural for the makers of Forza Motorsport 7 to want to celebrate having the brand’s cars within its programming for the first time. My point is that they could have used any flagship Porsche. A 918 Spyder would be the obvious choice, or even a 911 GT3 or GT3 RS. I can’t imagine that Turn 10 Studios would have been unhappy with any of those options on their stand and on the cover of their game.
So that makes us wonder whether it was Porsche’s decision to provide the new 911 standard-bearer for the show rather than waiting for the more traditional surroundings of September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Then again, given that Porsche America apparently still doesn’t want to admit that the car even exists, pushing it out early at E3 seems like an odd mismatch with the official company line.
It doesn’t really matter, anyway: at least for the purposes of this article. The point is that Porsche chose to let the fastest car it’s made since the 918 Spyder and the first new 911 GT2 RS since 2010 make its bow at somewhere where pixels are just as important as performance.
It demonstrates a seismic shift in the marketing priorities for a brand as large and influential as Porsche. It acknowledges the vast quantities of money tied up in and generated by the gaming industry, appealing directly to gamers in a way that we only hope the latter realise the significance of. This move says “hey gamers, here’s our brand’s cool new toy that we want you to enjoy before anyone else.” It publicly makes gamers important as brand ambassadors and potential future customers on a scale that no other car maker has tried yet.
For the likes of Turn 10 and their rivals, this is a huge, huge boost. If manufacturers of the world’s best cars are willing to work with them as closely as this to promote their brands within the gaming franchises that so many of us already know and love, the upward slope of success is only going to get steeper.
In the meantime, those of us who weren’t at E3 will just have to wait until the Frankfurt show before we get up close with the car. Damn.