Pizza and gaming are eventually likely to evolve into a single pursuit, like football and touchdown dances or movies and popcorn. Now, Pizza Hut is working with Microsoft Xbox to move the process along a little bit.
Today, Pizza Hut is debuting an app for Xbox Live that lets users order a pizza through their Xbox 360 with just the game controller, voice input or Kinect gestures—once they’ve chosen the nearest pizza parlor. Custom orders are also available.
“If you look at our audience, they love pizza,” said Xbox’s Larry Hryb, according to Mashable. “I mean, who doesn’t? It has international appeal, and Pizza Hut is a recognized brand that matches up well with the Xbox brand.”[more]
Kurt Kane, Pizza Hut’s CMO, told USA Today that “for the first time, people can order something through their Xbox that’s tangible. It brings the intersection of gaming and real world products together.”
Of course, pizza-ordering apps are nothing new; Domino’s has a pretty good one. And other QSR giants are catching up: Another Yum!-owned brand like Pizza Hut, KFC, recently announced a partnership in Ireland and the UK to launch the chain’s first-ever mobile and web app for ordering and payments in those markets, called “KFC Fast Track.”
But the Pizza Hut/Xbox app takes the concept to a whole new level—like the best video game—just as Microsoft is looking to reinvigorate the seven-year-old Xbox brand. It’s being promoted by former Halo pro gamer David “Walshy” Walsh of eSports, for a start. “Pizza Hut really took it to the next level by making an app with gamers in mind,” he told Forbes.com. “I think the company realizes how influential eSports is not only now but recognizes the industry’s future potential.”
And, in fact, Forbes.com said, this app “is the first of many activiations including exclusive rewards planned by Pizza Hut.” Among those exclusive rewards is 15 percent off an Xbox users’ first purchase utilizing the app, as long as they download the app and make the order before May 6.
USA Today summarized the development this way: “For Pizza Hut, it’s about reaching out to its hard-to-reach target—young men 18 to 24—where they live and play. For Microsoft, it’s a nifty way of cosmically expanding the virtual world into somewthing far closer to the real world. And for consumers, well, we’ll just have to wait and see how folks respond.”