Gaming tourism is a hot new trend that is about to explode. The virtual worlds of online gaming have become so advanced that Xbox is partnering with Rough Guides to publish a guide book to these alternative realms. This new kind of travel experience is seeing players shun the conventional modes of play to go off-piste, and explore the virtual locations around them as tourists. Jenny Southan reports
With ever-higher levels of resolution and detail, as well as seemingly horizonless environments to navigate, the Xbox Rough Guide will inform players of particularly beautiful, interesting and extraordinary places to visit. They have even created a tourist board-style film promoting the experiences. (See above.)“There are endless sights to see, mysterious places to explore, and breathtaking landmarks to discover. This is not just gaming; this is gaming tourism. Embark on an epic journey today,” Visit Xbox reads. “Whether you prefer a demanding hike through the Russian wilderness or a relaxing road trip in the Cotswolds, these worlds have something to offer for everyone.”Xbox One X Enhanced games feature some sights that are based on real-world locations on Earth, and some that are entirely fictional. Places you can visit include: the Emerald Abyss from the game Anthem; the Lincoln Memorial from Tom Clancy’s The Division 2; Messenia – Bay of Hades from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey; and Sharkbait Cove from Sea of Thieves.
Of the Caspian from Metro Exodus, it says: “Deserted railroads and sweeping, sandy landscapes aren’t the only things you’ll find in the Caspian. Pause long enough and you’ll notice its quiet, serene scenery, the lumbering, lonely mountains, and an infinite collection of gorgeous skyscapes.”
Of Anthem’s Arkadia it says: “Arkadia’s agricultural output isn’t its only claim to fame. The region is also renowned for its rolling hills, beautiful greenery, and of course, phenomenal sunsets.”The Visit Xbox website features locations shot by in-game photographers and enables gaming tourists to find their next destination whether they want to visit a quaint village or relax on a paradise-like beach. The idea is to encourage people to buy the games and then go there on a virtual holiday.
Gaming tourism will also have a level of kudos attached, just like in the real world. You can even get a virtual postcard of the place you visited to share on social media.
Games that are Xbox One X Enhanced have been updated or built specifically to take full advantage of the latest Xbox console. (Rumours are abound that an X Box Two will be coming soon.) They sport 4K resolution, high frame rates and HDR for perfect cinematic visuals. “With Visit Xbox, we want to inspire everyone to become a gaming tourist and explore breathtaking Xbox One X Enhanced worlds,” said Michael Flatt, global gaming marcom lead at Xbox.
“Our campaign offers destinations from the past, present and future, on our world and beyond. Together with the Xbox community, we will continue to find, curate and capture the most beautiful locations in games.”
Laurence Thomson, chief creative officer at McCann UK, says that “this new type of ‘tourism’ offers people incredible new worlds to explore, from vibrant cities to exotic wildernesses to outer space”.
“Game worlds are so rich and immersive; this campaign aims to showcase that beauty,” he said.