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Schneider National Is Using Video Game Sim To Recruit Drivers

An advertisement for trucking company Schneider National in the video game “American Truck Simulator.” (SCS Software)

Schneider National, a transport and logistic company, reported an innovation intended at finding its next-gen truckers. A week ago, the company announced a partnership with the video game “American Truck Simulator” to have its adverts displayed on virtual billboards.

It all started when recruiters at Schneider National discovered that new drivers arriving from truck-driving school to complete extra training with the company before their official assignments were acing tests including backing up a trailer and truck. They maneuvered effortlessly like they have done it a thousand times.

This sparked curiosity among Schneider National’s instructors who decided to poke further. “What we heard a few times was ‘Oh, I drive in American Truck Simulator’”, Schneider National executive vice president Rob Reich told The Washington Post.

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That epiphany birthed an unlikely outreach by Schneider National that would specifically target gamers that play American Truck Simulator. The game allows players to maneuver long-haul trucks through detailed American highways.  

Schneider National has now struck a deal with SCS Software, the makers of American Truck Simulator, that will bring billboard advertisements to the virtual highways of American Truck Simulator, encouraging players to translate their trucking skills to the real world and drive for Schneider National.

During the pandemic, there was a shortage of truck drivers (up to 80,000 job shorts) and the industry is still recovering from the shortfall. Reich and the team at the logistics company are excited about the partnership and optimistic that it would help them to attract new drivers.

“That’s really why we wanted to get the billboards out there,” said Reich. “Hey, you’re enjoying this. You might enjoy the real thing.”

SCS Software announces the appearance of real recruitment campaign assets

Some gamers were surprised by the emergence of the billboard. However, on June 9, 2023, SCS Software published a blog post announcing that they were “real recruitment campaign assets… from Schneider National”.

In the past, SCS Software has used in-game billboards for entertainment as well as to announce updates. One such instance was when it was used to announce the launch of new Kenworth trucks. It was also used for the company’s WoTr event. The company mentioned that the “new addition is in the try-out phase” and that it has potential value for both the players and the automotive industry.

SCS Software is a little video game studio based in the Czech Republic. The company didn’t start with the intention of making truck sims. According to the company’s CEO Pavel Sebor, after gamers responded positively to a simple truck-driving game the company build about two decades ago, they decided to take it to the next level.

Since then, the company has expanded the number of cities in the game and regularly churns out updates for ‘American Truck Simulator’ and ‘Euro Truck Simulator 2’. On Steam, American Truck Simulator gets between 5,000 and 10,000 simultaneous players. Euro Truck Simulator usually hosts up to 30,000 simultaneous players.

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Beyond the advert, SCS Software said the ultimate goal is “to provide opportunities that bring attention to interesting details organically within our game world—things of value and deeper meaning. The introduction of Schneider National’s recruitment campaign further builds upon this vision.”

SCS believes the presence of the ad will not affect the gaming experience for players since it is industry-related. Instead, the developers hope it may inspire a player to take up a trucking career or they’ll pass the information to their friends “to consider a job application at Schneider National”.

The collaboration will go beyond Schneider National

SCS has chosen American Truck Simulator to test out the dynamic billboards for Schneider National. The developers are carrying out a trial with English-only content. According to the announcement, the studio said it will help them to “focus on refining the experiment without the complexities of localization”.

The adverts started showing up in American Truck Simulator in April 2023. Based on the positive feedback the developers have received from players, they are inspired to explore more opportunities.

This is not the first time that a gaming studio is teaming up with a big company for advertising purposes. In March we reported that Giant Software, the developer of Farm Simulator has teamed up with Göweil, a farm machinery manufacturer for the production of Göweil Pack for Farming Simulator 22 featuring newly released machinery from the manufacturer.

Game development is expensive and game developers—especially indie developers—will likely be more open to collaborating with niche-related manufacturers and service providers. Therefore, it would not hit as a surprise to see more of similar collaborations in the future.

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