XBLA gets its first advergame

Toyota's Yaris debuts on Xbox 360 downloadable game service this week, plugs car line of the same name.

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While some companies prefer to place their advertising messages into existing games, others feel it a better use of money to spend their advertising budget on making games developed solely to promote their product.

If ever a racer needed good controls, it's this one.
If ever a racer needed good controls, it's this one.

The most notable advergaming experiment to date has been the Burger King trilogy of Xbox and Xbox 360 titles. Released in 2006 as $3.99 add-ons to combo meals, Sneak King, Big Bumpin', and Pocketbike Racer combined to sell more than 3.2 million copies and helped spur the fast-food franchise's quarterly profits by 40 percent.

Now the Xbox 360's downloadable game service is getting its own advergame, as Microsoft today announced that Toyota's Yaris will be one of this week's Xbox Live Arcade Wednesday releases. The game lets players hop behind the wheel of one of three new Yaris models and race through oddly twisting tracks, shooting enemies with a tentacle rooted in the car's hood, collecting loose coins, and unlocking a dozen new Xbox Live achievements along the way.

Developed by Backbone Entertainment (Death Jr., Brooktown High), Yaris is also the first Live Arcade game that's only available for a specifically limited time; US and Canada users will only be able to download the title for the next year.

While Yaris is the first advergame to make it to Live Arcade, it won't be the last. PepsiCo ran a contest recently looking for concepts for a Doritos-themed game, with the winning entry being released over Xbox Live.

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