Boosting TV Ratings — With Gaming

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Over at GigaGamez, Wagner James Au takes a look at the History Channel’s effort to promote a television show with a video game:

When the History Channel wanted to promote a new show called “Shootout!“, yet another combat-oriented documentary series for the cable station’s roster, they comissioned a free multiplayer PC game to accompany the week’s episode. So when “Shootout!” covered the Battle of Iwo Jima, for example, you could go to the show’s site and download a first-person shooter in which you play, as their two-fisted press release describes, “through the eyes of a U.S. Marine, single-handedly overrunning a heavily-fortified bunker complex by hand-carrying an aircraft machine gun into battle.”

Networks have already gotten savvy to casual and alternative reality gaming to keep viewers entertained between episodes, but this is the first time a first-person shooter of some quality has been deployed. More importantly, the History channel attributes spikes in web site visits and series viewership to the game, making it a trend that should only continue.

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