There’s nothing new about publicity stunts mixing in with video game launches. Taking a cue from big screen hype, video game launches have become an event. Costumed heroes, famous guests, launch parties, flashmobs and more have all been a part of some big game releases. Weather balloons?
Not so much. It’s not exactly a traditional way of raising some fanfare for a game, but we’ll bite. To celebrate the launch of Mass Effect 3, coming out on March 6th, Electronic Arts will launch copies of the game into the sky next week and encourage fans to track them using GPS to find out where they land.
EA will be launching the games into the sky using weather balloons. Why? Mass Effect 3 takes place in outer space, as did its two predecessors. In fact, this will be the first game where players even encounter Earth. Launching the games into the sky might be as close as anyone could get them to space without having to pay a ridiculous amount of cash. Each game launched is equipped with a GPS transmitter, making it possible for fans to follow their location on the Mass Effect website
. Anyone who tracks and finds one of the games can keep it. That’s the prize! Balloons will be launched in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Berlin, London, and Paris. Assuming they don’t land in a body of water or get destroyed upon impact, any lucky gamer in the area can claim a free copy by simply finding it.
It’s a pretty cool, if extremely uncanny, way to get people interested. Adventure seeking gamers may have some pretty fierce competition, since this one-goal scavenger hunt takes place in some pretty dense cities and weather balloons can travel huge distances. We’re hoping a few that are out to find the games track their progress. Thousands are even curious about where the games will land and even if they’ll land successfully at all. If you’d like to join in on the competition or simply sit back and watch, check out the Mass Effect site.