Virtual book tours… in video games

Years ago I sat on an arts jury that had a proposal come forward for building an arts hub inside a video game. The idea was people could “gather” to listen to poetry, view art, theatre, and live music, etc. While I am EXACTLY the sort of person you’d think this would appeal to, I voted against funding it. Not because it wasn’t a good idea, but because I knew the game, hot at that moment, would be shortly gone and the money spent building the infrastructure would be better spent in the real word until we figured this stuff out. (Also, the game was a mostly a vehicle for pervy nerds to make CGI porn they couldn’t really get in real life.) Looks like we’re starting to figure it out. To the point that this Roblox series might be the biggest book tour in history. Much like readings and shows at various bars and venues that come and go, a good publicist can now book you into Roblox, or Minecraft, or WoW or whatever. There are millions of nerds who never want to leave their homes in here. If you can’t bring Mohammed to the Mountain…. etc. A guerilla approach to this sort of thing really seems to be what’s best. Pop from hot platform to hot platform as needed. We just all need 12 year old publicity assistants now to tell us what to book for next year.

This kind of digital collaboration is, unlike these times, not unprecedented. Phoebe Bridgers has performed in Minecraft; Animal Crossing has hosted poetry readings; Lil Nas X performed a concert in Roblox which racked up a whopping 33 million views. The popularity of these events bode well for the Ready Player Two tour; Roblox and Cline are touting the Ready Player Two tour as the “biggest book tour in history,” which honestly could be true, as Roblox has 150 million users.

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