It’s a measure of just how important the video games industry has become these days, that when Codemasters decided to launch their new DiRT 3 rally game, they were able to join forces with Ford, one of the top-3 global car makers in a marketing partnership that includes the viral sensation, Ken Block.

Back in January, Google’s North American auto team published a report showing Ford as the most entered search query, followed by BMW, Audi, Nissan and Toyota. The team also said that consumers are searching for vehicles featured in movies, music and video games – so combining Ford, Codemasters and Ken Block into a single campaign is the marketers equivalent of hitting pay dirt..

They say video gaming is the new rock ‘n’ roll and it’s hard to argue with that statement. The post popular video game of 2010, Call of Duty Black Ops, racked up $360M in sales in under 24 hours making it the fastest selling video game of all time.

To put that figure in perspective, it’s more than twice the sales run rate of Apple’s iPad which sold 300,000 units in the first 24 hours (approx $170M) and in itself was one of the most successful new product launches ever.

You don’t need me to remind you how popular Ken Block is these days – his most recent Gymkhana THREE video, a hooning delight, has already racked up 32.6 million views in less than 7 months making him comfortably the most watched automotive video producer on the internet.

So, what’s your point..?

Well, we’re fascinated by the juxtaposition of these apparently opposing marketing forces, so to delve a little deeper we’ll be joining a special event tomorrow, to preview DiRT 3. With drivers Ken Block and Kris Meeke on hand, the “Gymkhana Uncovered” event will provide the perfect insight into this innovative partnership together with the opportunity to see Block demonstrate just why he and the Ford Fiesta WRC are a perfect combination.

We’ll be tweeting from the event, so if you’d like to ask any questions, feel free to contact us on @DriversRepublic. You can also keep track of tweet stream from other journalists during the event using the hastag #FordDiRT3.

DiRT 3 will be coming worldwide to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC from 24th May 2011 and will boast more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the series, including over 50 rally cars representing the very best from five decades of the sport.

With more than double the track content of 2009’s hit, DiRT 3 will see players start at the top as a professional driver, with a top-flight career in competitive off-road racing complimented by the opportunity to express themselves in Gymkhana-style showpiece driving events.

Sounds like a blast! We’ll let you know after we see for ourselves tomorrow.