The gaming industry, now home to over 3 billion active global gamers, has emerged as a dynamic realm for marketers seeking to engage this vast audience authentically. This year’s Future of Gaming Conference unravelled the intricacies of reaching gamers, unlocking their purchasing power, and identifying upcoming opportunities within the gaming sphere. In this article, we explore the main takeaways and highlights from the conference.
Crucial Education for Marketers
An overarching theme echoed throughout the conference: the imperative need for marketers to understand the nuances of gaming audiences and the diverse range of inventory options available within and outside the gaming environment. The critical takeaway: brands must abandon the one-size-fits-all approach and instead, recognise the variance across gaming platforms. Different forms of gaming resonate uniquely with different brands, whether it’s mobile gaming, console experiences, or other innovative formats.
The Metaverse: A Complex Evolution
The concept of the metaverse remained a focal point of discussion. While some critiques deemed Mark Zuckerberg’s VR-enabled metaverse as falling short of expectations, the more focused interpretation involving vast gaming communities such as Fortnite and Roblox emerged as a thriving, lucrative landscape for advertisers. There was consensus that the failure of one metaverse iteration should not overshadow the potential of others, urging marketers not to dismiss gaming solely based on a single interpretation’s shortcomings.
Expanding Brand Horizons in Gaming
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in both gamers and brands seeking to explore this space. Notably, ‘non-endemic’ brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Mercedes, and the UK Government —entities traditionally unrelated to gaming audiences— ventured into gaming. As gaming becomes endemic across various demographics, the outdated stereotype of ‘gamers’ as a separate category is fading, which opens a broad spectrum of opportunities for brand engagement in this space.
Synergies between Film and Gaming
Efforts to bridge the gap between gaming and the film/TV industries showcased promising advancements, learning from previous failures in game adaptations for movies. Innovative strategies, like the integration of games with movie promotions, were evident in A24’s successful promotion of ‘Talk to Me’ in Fortnite. This integration not only engaged audiences but also effectively cut through traditional advertising clutter, providing a blueprint for future cross-media collaborations.
Diving deeper into the ‘why’ behind gaming, beyond the ‘what’ and ‘how,’ emerged as a key insight. Players engage with games for diverse reasons, be it achievement-based gaming, social connections, or the escapism and enrichment offered by the gaming experience. Brands aspiring to reach gamers with sincerity must tap into these emotional connections to create resonating advertising strategies.