From Building Products to Experiences: Can Gaming Technologies Help? Part 1


First of all, I’d like to say I’m happy to start blogging here. 🙂

I’m writing today and in the next coming days about what tangible products and video games have in common.

To be sure we’re all on the same page, let’s go through a very quick definition exercise first. (These are at least my working definitions for this blog series):

  • PLM is historically about developing better products. How do we accelerate their time to market, plan for their manufacturing, determine what kind of factory is needed to make them (human resources etc.), and what materials are actually needed to build the products, as well as the simulation of these materials?
  • Video game development is historically about providing the best possible entertainment experience, not being worried about how realistic it was. Over the last 15 years, we’ve seen a democratization of high quality 3D through consumer video cards, with today video games that look almost as realistic as a photo.

Promoting fun and the experience:
In order to illustrate the way we look at products, I’ve selected two TV ads from Peugeot. The first one is from the 80s, the second from early 2008 (French version only, sorry).

Peugeot 205 ad:
With this one, you clearly see a product centric communication. People are just turning their heads 180°, impressed when they see it.

Peugeot 207 ad:

On this more recent ad, the communication is definitely experience centric. Yes, the car looks good, everybody expects that. What really matters here is that it’s fun to drive.

A few years back, designing and promoting a car was about the car itself: good looking, attractive, sexy, whatever. If you look at today’s advertising, the industry has widely evolved towards the experience (all ads) and the fun (most ads). This clearly states that the car itself is obviously important, but how you may feel or enjoy driving it is what makes the real difference.

In order to imagine and create the cars, car manufacturers therefore need to simulate these experiences: how does it feel to get into the car when you’re 2 meters tall? What about if you’re only 1.5 meters tall? How is it to drive it under the rain at dark? Do you feel safe or at risk? These are only a few examples, the other ones are easy to guess… but all of them ideally would require analysis very early in the design process of the “perfect car”, depending on its targeted customers and distribution regions.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about the tools and technologies that are needed to adapt from a product centric development to an experience centric approach.


P.S. The image at the start of this blogpost is a good example of how realistic today’s video games can look. Thanks to Sony for this stunning screenshot. The screenshot was taken from the game Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and developed by Polyphony Digital (one of Sony’s internal studios). You can find more of them on