November 27, 2006
Be "the King"... on Xbox Live.

Burger King has taken another step into the online gaming space by releasing a free Gamer Pic package which allows gamers to promote Burger King through their online userpic. To quote Joystiq:

Some may view this as a win-win situation (users get free pics, BK gets free advertising), but the BK Picture Pack also highlights a growing disappointment: there aren't enough freebie gamer pics to download. If we had our way, playing a game would unlock at least a pair of pics (additional content could still be sold); plus, achievement images (already cropped to gamer pic size) could be inserted into one's gamer card. Instead, users are eagerly downloading Burger King ads because they deviate from the pay-for-content norm.

It's worth noting that individualizing one's userpic is a common desire on Livejournal, to the point that one of the major incentives to paying for an account is being able to store 100 userpics rather than the 6 that users with free accounts are restricted to. While Burger King's move into providing gamer pics is definitely filling a void, it seems like Microsoft and its developers are missing out by not encouraging a culture of customization on Xbox Live. A limited pool of free icons and an increased cultural emphasis on having an interesting userpic could well lead to an increased demand for gamer pics, driving both purchases of icons in Live Marketplace and downloads of sponsored pic packs like that released by Burger King.