This week, Miller Lite announced a new tech item: the Cantroller. It won’t improve your beer drinking experience per se, but it will definitely be a conversation starter when you have friends over for pizza and video games.
OK, get this: It's a 12-ounce can of @MillerLite. And also a functional, 10-button gaming controller able to hold a 3-hour charge and built-in Bluetooth. Pretty amazing, right? The #Cantroller is part of Miller Lite's plan to connect with gamers.https://t.co/U3yTjUTURU
— Molson Coors Beverage Company (@MolsonCoors) June 10, 2019
Yes. We now have the Cantroller, just in time for E3 — THE event for video and computer gaming. This is the time of year when video game publishers debut new games, hardware manufacturers unveil new tech, and game enthusiasts drink it all in. And because of Miller Lite’s latest innovation, you can drink directly from your controller (though they don’t really recommend it).
This innovation comes approximately 3 months after sister brand Coors Light revealed the “Smart” tap handle in select cities, and according Justine Stauffer, senior manager on Miller Lite, the Cantroller is an attempt to connect with gamers. She’s quoted on the MillerCoors blog as saying:
“With some 40% of gamers already drinking beer while they play, we’re taking it to the next level by offering them a fun way to enjoy Miller Lite while they play their favorite games. Miller Lite is a fan of gaming of all kinds, and the launch of the Cantroller is another way we’re connecting with the gaming community.”
Speaking for myself, I’m pretty sure I don’t need beer in my video game controller … I’m already pretty subpar at Tricky Towers as it is.
Miller Lite partnered with tech firm Unity 9 to produce the controllers, which can be chilled to make the beer enjoyable, while also being equipped with Blue Tooth and a rechargeable battery that can hold a charge for 3 hours. And again. It’s a beer can.
I am both a bit amazed and mystified at this. I tried to find some numbers on how many gamers drink lite beer and came up empty, and typically gamers are associated with energy drinks moreso than alcohol. The reason being that many dedicated gamers log in multiple hours, and they want their senses sharp — not dulled by alcohol. But, more casual gamers who also consume alcohol might very well reach for a beer, lite or otherwise, so this promotional product is not entirely out of line.
The creation of the Cantroller also lines up with what the brewer has been setting up over the past year, beginning with becoming the first alcoholic beverage sponsor of HQ Trivia’s trivia event, sending influencers swag, hosting Twitch happy hours, and even setting up a strategic partnership with Complexity Gaming, announced last month.
And specifically for E3, Miller Lite fans can challenge comedian Eric Andre to a game of Street Fighter for the chance to win their own Cantroller. While spots are limited, the event will be broadcast on Miller Lite’s Twitch stream … yes, it seems like the lite beer maker has really lined everything up to make its presence known to the gaming community, and to possibly cement it as the beverage of choice.
Yet here’s my question: Will the money spent on this tech be worth it? Marketers, tell me what you think in the comments, and if you have a moment and want to get into the full nerdery of this, check out Popular Mechanic’s review of the Cantroller.