Photo Credit: Activision
In late May, Activision, NASCAR, and Eutechnyx announced a campaign (similar to the Madden NFL cover vote) entitled "Drive for the Cover". In this campaign, NASCAR fans would vote for their favorite driver through means of social media (Facebook) to determine who would grace the cover of NASCAR The Game: Inside Line.
Voting started in late May and it ran up to the middle of July.
After a month and a half of voting, Eutechnyx and Activision announced wednesday that Dale Earnhardt Jr was voted by the fans as the cover athlete for NASCAR The Game: Inside Line (which will be released on November 6th). The cover (which is the photo above) was also revealed.
For more information on this, you can read the following article HERE
As thrilled as I am with Dale Earnhardt Jr on the cover (I am a Junior fan for those who didn't know already), I wish Eutechnyx and Activision would have found an alternate way of voting in drivers for the cover of NASCAR The Game.
The Drive for the Cover campaign was somewhat pointless this year because with Dale Earnhardt Jr being the sports most popular driver, he has the largest following of fans (otherwise known as Junior Nation) and that alone made the fans (that voted for someone else to appear on the cover) feel like they wasted their time in voting.
I have been reading tons of opinions from fans on the game's official forums, and people over there seem very upset because they felt it was a rigged "popularity contest". Also, fans believe that the voting ticker was changed. I'm not so sure about that (the voting ticker was changed).
Regardless of that, Its great for the sport to have its most popular driver on the cover because it helps both the developer Eutechnyx sell copies of the game, and the sport pocket money with their license. At the same time, if you are going to bring the fans into the decision-making process with the cover, you need to come up with something that will make their input worth while.
If Eutechnyx continues to run this campaign for years to come, they might want to make it so that Earnhardt Jr can't be voted in again for 5-10 years. Kindof like how NASCAR allows winners of the All-Star Race to be in the race each year for 10 years (but alittle different). This should be done for those who are also voted as the cover athlete too. They might also want to take a different approach in voting. Maybe they should take a page off the NASCAR Hall of Fame playbook.
I know this is just a video game cover, and I could really care less about who is on the cover (I am more about the gameplay anyways), but if Eutechnyx wants to give the fans the fairest campaign possible, there needs to be a fair way of voting. I'm not saying they need to overhaul the entire campaign, but they might want to consider changes to it.
In no way am I bashing Eutechnyx. I applaud them for including the fans in the making of the game. I think thats how games should be made. Its just that they need to make changes to the way they vote for the cover so that the fans can feel as though their vote for their favorite driver is worth while, instead of making this a popularity contest.
What are your thoughts about Dale Earnhardt Jr being named the cover athlete of NASCAR The Game: Inside Line? Did you vote in the Drive for the Cover campaign? What did you think of the overall campaign? Let us know in the comments section below, or reply to me on Twitter @butlerb92