Players had spent days searching for clues to The Lost Ring, an Olympic-themed online mystery game, before uncovering the stunning identity of the game’s shadowy creator: McDonald’s. Golden arches and burgers are nowhere to be seen in the dark contest—instead it’s promoting the Olympics, while “strengthening our bond with the global youth culture,” said McDonald’s marketing chief. “You can’t put an R.O.I. on this.”
The Lost Ring is an “alternate reality game,” a complex puzzle players work together to solve, hunting for clues on the Internet and in real life. Lost Ring revolves around a “forgotten” Olympic sport that’s played blindfolded—which players will eventually have to play. “There is a real-world payoff,” promised the game’s developer.