Playing Madden won’t give you an NFL physique, and playing Hitman probably won’t make you a professional assassin. (Though it might give you dress-up points.) But if you’re an avid player of American Truck Simulator, you might just have a future as a real big rig driver. Players of the transport simulation game have spotted in-game advertisements from trucking companies in the real world, hoping to hire drivers for 18-wheelers. Real ones, in case that’s not clear.
GamesRadar reports that Schnieder National, a Wisconsin-based logistics company, has placed in-game advertisements on the billboards lining the virtual highways of American Truck Simulator. The jobs are real, including the chance to train for a commercial driver’s license for applicants who don’t have one. The game’s advertising can be dynamically updated by developer SCS Software, which explained that the in-game ads from a real trucking company are “a chance to embark on a new journey and conduct experiments.”
In-game advertising generally isn’t received well by players — brand placement like the magical Skittles of Darkened Skye are the stuff of legend and internet listicles. But this might just be an exception. Not only is roadside advertising a spot-on bit of realism for a trucking simulator, recruitment ads for actual truck drivers might just be incredibly relevant for players of American Truck Simulator.
It would hardly be unprecedented for an interest in a game simulation to lead into a real-world career. Plenty of real-world airline pilots got their start in Microsoft Flight Simulator, and at least a few real-world race car drivers got their start playing ever-more-realistic video games, including the “based on a true story” subject of the upcoming Gran Turismo film, Jann Mardenborough. Plus, there was that one teenager recruited by a certain musical instrument salesman to fight against evil…
If the pilot program is successful, SCS might expand advertisements for real trucking services into the more popular Euro Truck Simulator. The two titles have sold more than ten million copies combined to fantasy big rig drivers.