Burger King "announced that its trio of games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 had broken the 2 million mark in just four weeks" (GameSpot). That's a cumulative number for the three titles -- Sneak King (pictured), Pocketbike Racer, and Big Bumpin'-- that sold for $3.99 each in BK restaurants. That's more than the 2 million copies of the blockbuster Gears of War sold in 6 weeks worldwide.
The news illustrates three things. First, people don't hate brands in games, at least not unequivocally. Second, branded entertainment is more than disposable advertising; it's worth paying for. Most importantly, food chains can be powerful distribution systems for all sorts of stuff, not just calories. We will see more marriages between seemingly unrelated brands, like Nike+iPod last year. We will also see single-profile retail chains diversifying into seemingly unrelated product lines. Starbucks is already selling books and music. Clothing stores might be selling makeup. A novel thought: it's not what makes sense to you that's important, it's what makes sense to the customer that brings in money.