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How is gaming changing the marketing world?

pc gaming

A gaming marketing strategy was not something we saw in the past, and it was a foreign concept, but big companies and advertisers have normalized this these days. Not all companies have adopted this new reality of gaming, but as the numbers show, more and more people are playing games, making it increasingly difficult to ignore the broadcaster and the industry. In this article, we will discuss how gaming is changing the marketing world.

The history

Gaming and marketing never had a reason to collide in the past – buying the game was a straightforward activity. You went to a store, bought it, went home and played it. There was nothing unusual about it. We thought of gaming as the activity of teenagers (mainly men) and young adults (usually seen as distant from society) engaged in and nothing more.

Today, statistics show that 2.7 billion people now play games in one form or another. That is one third of the world’s population. The move from console games to mobile is the main reason for this change. When Google and Apple introduced the Play Store in the early 2000s (2007), programmers saw it as an opportunity to take advantage of this new market, and the result is what we see today.

Mobile app players spent $77.2 billion in 2020 (46% of the market share), a staggering figure when you consider that the entire gaming industry raked in $159.3 billion in revenue. Mobile now accounts for nearly half of the industry and by 2021 the mobile market has only seen its dominance, taking 52% of the market today and generating $90.7 billion.

The change in gaming patterns has led to more regular mobile players – a redefinition of who a gamer is and has also opened the door for gamers of different ages. More women and elderly are now playing mobile games, reinventing the market and the definition of this word. 46% of the gaming population is female and 53% of internet users aged 45-54 play mobile games.

The rise of mobile games and the proliferation of gaming demographics have made gaming the most profitable in the entertainment industry. This change has led brands to view the gaming industry as a marketing juggernaut to explore.

The changing landscape

“Gaming is a way to distance yourself from the world.” This statement is one that we are often familiar with, and although it contains some truth. Lately, the quote has lost that element of truth. Playing games has also become a way to socialize, and the pandemic has helped this story.

A study found that more people were playing games because of connectivity with other players. This shows in contrast to the past, where the main reason people played was to escape reality. Games today help to form a social bond with other players. Examples are online multiplayer games, which have become increasingly popular.

Today, gaming has its ecosystem. There are dedicated fan bases for the most popular games on most social media platforms, such as Facebook, Discord, YouTube, Reddit, and Twitch. The ecosystems are a social gathering of fans of different games and a way for advertisers to access a large pool of gamers today.

Advertising games, virtual reality or any other game-like feature has historically been childish or appealing to a small group of people who lacked purchasing power. Today most gamers are in the working class or retirement class, and these individuals have the money to spend, and the $175.6 billion spent in the gaming industry this year is proof of that.

Using virtual reality, 3D technology and animation, people have become accustomed to these technologies and have not labeled them as “childish” items anymore, but have somewhat accepted them as part of the ongoing change. the recent customer loyalty Meta’s Metaverse (a virtual reality) is proof of the recent adoption of these recent innovations as mainstream.

These changing landscapes give companies the flexibility to leverage this technology for their brands. An example is Chipotle’s games and virtual restaurant in Roblox.

How advertisers interact with gamers

We looked at the history and the changing game environment. Now let’s take a look at how companies treat their customers. There are several ways gaming has influenced marketing, and we’ll look at them all.

  • Mobile: Advertising and mobile game apps are almost synonymous these days. Who doesn’t know that feeling of playing a game and then an ad pops up? It is the norm of mobile apps in the 21st century. Freemium apps come with in-game ads promoting different brands, and this is a one-way street for brands with gamers.

Another way mobile apps serve as a marketing tool is when brands partner with celebrities to create a mobile game. Some examples include “Restaurant Dash: Gordon Ramsey” and “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.” Both games are developed and published by Glu mobile.

  • Games developed by the company: Some companies have taken a step forward and invented their games. Like celebrities, companies partner with game making companies to produce games for themselves. This strategy is common in mobile games, and Chipotle is an example from a company that has followed this route.
  • Mixed in-game ads: Brands now advertise in games. This method is gaining popularity because it is not rare for companies to partner with games to have their logo or product displayed on a billboard, sweater, restaurant or clothing.

An example of a mixed ad is in FIFAs 2018 ‘the journey’ playthrough. Where you play as Alex Hunter, a football player who just turned professional and wants to be the best in the world. One of the in-game sponsorship deals Alex receives is a Coca-Cola deal and a sign of in-game success.

  • Video game streaming services: Video game streaming has become one of the most lucrative sides of the game industry for creators. So much so that Twitch, a gaming platform, is devoting itself to this act. twitch has 18.5 billion viewing time so far this year. To put this in context, other game streaming platforms such as YouTube and Facebook Gaming had viewerships of 3.8 billion and 3.5 billion respectively.

This massive viewership has attracted sponsorship of brands that pay streamers to advertise their product on their behalf. An example is when PSD underwear used Ninja as a brand ambassador for their product. There are many more now as advertisers use streamers to capture their fan base and market their products.

Final Thoughts

The gaming and marketing industries will continue to integrate and evolve together. The broad adoption of the game industry as a comprehensive consumer base means brands will seek to partner with game makers in the long run. It’s a huge paradigm shift that will change a lot of things in both sectors in the long run.