Why has gaming gone from bedroom hobby to boardroom priority?

Gaming has gone from being a bedroom hobby to a boardroom priority, but why? More importantly, how should brands and businesses best approach in-game marketing, and what does the future hold for gaming?

Despite generating more revenue than the global music and movie industries combined ($159bn in 2020), gaming, until very recently, was a market ignored by most brands. But, whilst brands have neglected gaming’s marketing potential, advertisers are now conscious of its power.

Why is in-game advertising quickly becoming a go-to medium?

Only 33% of Gen Z watch TV and just over 50% of millennials opt for streaming services over traditional TV. What’s more, Netflix’s CEO recently said that its biggest competition isn’t other streaming services – it’s video gaming! Netflix has a whopping 167 million subscribers, whereas Fortnite alone has over 200 million users… all telling signs that gaming is moving up in the world and brands should take note.

Why has gaming gone from bedroom hobby to boardroom priority?

Globally, there are more than 2.6 billion gamers, each spending over 36 hours per month playing. Gaming can no longer be dismissed as an underground subculture – it’s a growing part of pop culture and it’s showing no signs of slowing.

What does all this mean for brands and businesses?

Brands are starting to wake up to the fact that gaming audiences are huge and are very engaged. There’s a massive ecosystem for brands to tap into online and it’s ever-expanding.

Despite the stereotypes, the typical gamer is no longer an antisocial teenage boy. In fact, 70% of players are over 18 and the male to female ratio is almost equal. According to ESA, gamers are as diverse as can be; they are university educated, ethnically diverse, and engaged civically.

Here’s an example of the buying power amongst the gaming community:

In 2018, tickets to Ninja’s Red Bull-sponsored Fortnite event sold out within minutes. The following year he was celebrated on collectable cans of Red Bull. When Ninja collaborated with Adidas, his trainers sold out in under an hour.

Ninja Red-Bull collectable cans

What brands, businesses and advertisers should take away from these examples is the massive buying power and disposable income gamers have. Gaming is creating unique opportunities for brands and businesses, who should seriously be thinking about how they can successfully communicate with a generation that is used to fast-moving, image-heavy environments filled with bite-size pieces of content.

Authentic In-game advertising is key to success

Up until now brands haven’t always grasped what they could gain from in-game advertising and many brands have gotten it so wrong!

Brands who’re looking at in-game advertising should first understand that games are pieces of art and often take years to make – so just throwing a big brand message inside a game is going to cause more harm than good. It’s very important that brands strive to make sure that their ads are authentically positioned within a gaming world.

A great example of authentic activation is Coca Cola’s 2017 in-game partnership with FIFA player Alex Hunter. The partnership was a strong activation because it fit in perfectly with the narrative.

Thanks to the nature of gaming and the technology that enables ads to be placed on any object in-game, ads look more authentic in context and similar to how they would appear in real life. What’s more, brands & businesses that’s budgets wouldn’t ordinarily be able to run campaigns on a jumbo screen at a live NBA game can take advantage of gaming to deliver their message to an even more targeted, engaged audience inside of NBA 2K20. Amazing right?

So, what’s the future of gaming?

Gaming is without a doubt on an upward trend and we’re noticing that it’s actually replacing social media as the main place where young users gather online. Great news for advertisers, since the gaming environment is less intricate than social media, making it an ideal, straightforward format in which ads can be impactful as opposed to getting lost and scrolled past in an endless social feed. Couple that with a video game’s capability of measuring viewability and its ability to target players with highly personalised campaigns, video games join TV as a top way to reach global audiences. So, there you have it, that’s why gaming has gone from bedroom hobby to boardroom priority.

Where do we fit in?

HYPD LIVE LOGO - gaming gone from boardroom hobby to bedroom priority

The Viral Group has recently launched a new division – HYPD. HYPD has been created for the players, by the players and is one of only a few Twitch Partners. Twitch Partners make up an exclusive group of the world’s most popular video game broadcasters, personalities, leagues, teams, and tournaments. All that means that we can produce highly targeted results-driven ads and campaigns to a massive in-game audience.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch and let’s show you how you can create some epic in-game ads.

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