Tire firm enters video game world

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s business page today carried my story about Kumho Tire’s hiring of a video game developer to create a game that doubles as an advertisement for its product. 
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The president of the development company, Austin, Tex. based Retired Astronaut Collective, foresees ad-inspired games as being the foundation of a new business model for companies designing free or inexpensive apps for mobile devices.
Company president Chris Chuter expects the popularity of smartphones will enable his company and other development houses to win contracts to devise inexpensive games with product tie-ins.
“We can make these smaller games, of pretty good quality, and wrap it around a product,” Chuter said, observing that a game could be a better marketing tool than a billboard.
“As a business model, we are telling customers that you can make a high-quality product that isn’t just a branding thing,” Chuter added.
Kumho Tire is a Korean firm. Its American headquarters is in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.