On September 28, a verified Twitter account called KFC Gaming shared this.
What’s this? No idea. Upon watching it, we at The Takeout knew it had something to do with video games and, presumably, fried chicken. In related news, Chipotle also announced a burrito giveaway in partnership with the esports organization TSM. While the former is far more perplexing than the latter, both led us to wonder what the hell is going on with fast good and gaming, and more specifically, what on God’s green earth “KFC Gaming” is going to be.
Luckily, we knew just who to call. Mike Fahey is Kotaku’s “steward of Snacktaku,” meaning he’s perfectly positioned at the intersection of food and gaming to help us decode this. The short answer is that both chains, and KFC especially, are straight-up aping Arby’s.
“[Arby’s has] been doing the gaming thing for a couple of years,” he said in a very informative Slack chat. “The papercrafts their advertising guys make, staying on top of not just big, mainstream games but smaller independent titles as well—they’ve endeared themselves to the ever-growing gaming audience. KFC, desperately attempting to stay hip, sees Arby’s (formerly the second-to-last fast food stop behind Hardee’s on the way to the retirement home) getting all cozy with the kids and thinks it can go there as well.
Chipotle doesn’t count. Chipotle never counts.”
We pressed him for more insights. Here are his thoughts on what the eff, precisely, KFC Gaming might be. The video, he tells us, is “the announcement of a brand, I suppose. Not a product.” The body-slamming Colonel Sanders depicted therein seems to be the result of a create-a-player feature in a wrestling game, something other games and players have done through mock-ups and mods.
In essence, this is, for now, just the announcement of a Twitter account. “They are beginning a journey, as the marketeers behind this no doubt told some people in ties or possibly polos... It feels like they want some of that gaming buzz.”
Why gaming and esports?
“Well, gamers eat fast food is the idea. We’re so wrapped up in playing we need to grab and go is the perception. It’s not like Perdue is coming up here with raw gaming chicken breasts.”
Not yet, anyway.
It’s possible that KFC actually has some giant plan up its sleeve, or rather in its greasy bucket, but for now, it’s safe to assume that KFC Gaming is pure, unadulterated marketing, aimed at getting people who play Fortnite to go to KFC instead of Arby’s. If they are secretly developing some kind of Original Recipe game—catch all 11 herbs and spices, or something—we will happily eat our words.
[Note: Kotaku, like The Takeout, is owned by Univision Communications.]