The gaming industry is blossoming. During the pandemic, 227 million Americans played video games regularly. Players from all generations flocking to games like Super Mario Bros and Call of Duty.
In fact, gaming is now bigger than the TV and music industries combined. As digital technology allows players to download their favorite games without leaving their homes, the industry thrives.
But what makes gaming so popular? And how can your business use this growing industry to find marketing success?
A Brief History of Gaming
The gaming industry’s 40-year history has been rich and driven by innovation. Evolutions in technology have allowed game developers to create unique immersive gaming experiences that users love.
In the 1970s, gaming primarily existed in arcades. People played games like Pong and Space Invaders on large coin-operated systems. In these arcades, groups of players could meet and socialize while playing.
Nintendo released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985. At that time, they introduced the first major role-playing game (RPG) to the gaming market — The Legend of Zelda.
Nintendo sold 2 million copies of the game in America, despite the reality that few people owned NES consoles.
In the 1990s, we witnessed a rise in video gaming competition — both between players and developers. Big tech companies like Sony saw potential in the gaming market. This is why Sony released the original Playstation in 1995.
At the same time, gaming competitions attracted big-money backers like Microsoft. For the first time, gamers could turn pro.
The 2000s were a decade of innovation. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony all rivaled each other and sought to deliver the best gaming experience with their consoles.
The Nintendo Wii employed motion sensors to further immerse players. Meanwhile, the Xbox and Playstation fought for exclusive releases and each brought out two new consoles.
During the 2010s, millions of new players jumped into gaming due to massive improvements to smartphone functionality. With the releases of games like PUBG and Pokemon Go that could be played on users’ phones, new audiences who didn’t want to play on consoles jumped into gaming..
Looking into the future of gaming is tricky, but it appears that it will be social. In 2021, popular games like Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Rocket League allow players to socialize in a virtual landscape.
This leads many to believe that video games will be the new social media, as the conversation surrounding gaming continues to grow.
Aside from developing games, how else can your business can get involved in the gaming industry?
It might take some creative thinking, but there are many opportunities. You just have to find the right platform at the right time.
Twitch is a streaming platform where audiences watch other people play video games. If you aren’t a gamer, that might sound strange. Believe it or not, it is big business.
Average viewership on Twitch ranges between 2,500,000 and 2,700,000. During events and new releases, that number can spike as high as 6,577,000.
The regular and loyal viewership that exists on Twitch provides companies with a great platform for advertising.
Viewers regularly return to the same streamer, which means they trust their opinions and are more likely to take advertising messaging seriously.
Sponsorships are the best ways to get in contact with streamers. Most streamers can’t make a living through streaming contracts. Instead, they must rely on sponsorships to pay the bills.
Twitch marketing is extremely effective right now. Content consumption has risen 79% since the start of 2020, and content creators are now producing 89% more sponsored content.
Sponsored content has more viewers. And a greater portion of those viewers stay engaged during sponsored content.
This makes sponsoring a streamer a great investment for your marketing spend.
If you’re not ready to get in contact with a streamer, then you can ease into the gaming space by connecting with social media channels.
You can grow your brand image by aligning with games that your customers are playing.
And how can you determine what games your target audience enjoys? Don’t worry, because there is plenty of data freely available about exactly who is playing each specific game.
To get the maximum amount of engagement through gaming, you need to be aware of gaming events, releases, and competitions.
Gaming events like E3 showcase upcoming game. Millions of people tune in to catch a glimpse of future releases.
All of the big players show up, and the events are usually streamed via multiple platforms.
This means you can find the right stream to advertise with and then create a bespoke campaign for the event itself.
When a new game is released — or a popular game makes a major update — viewers flock to streams to watch their favorite gamers.
This means you can ramp up your marketing spend to meet the demand of viewers who come to streamers’ channels.
You’ll need plenty of foresight, though. Keep a calendar of releases to help you stay ahead of the competition. They are also look to capitalize on increased viewership.
Gaming tournaments are becoming major sporting events.
5.41 million people watched the first round of the Free Fire World Series earlier this year. That’s higher than the average viewership of the NBA finals.
Gaming tournaments are run much like sporting events, with broadcasters highlighting brands and plenty of advertising breaks for companies to fill.
There are ample ways to advertise through gaming. You can sponsor streamers, advertise alongside game releases, and fill commercial slots during tournament breaks.
The gaming market can really help expose your brand to new audiences, and it’s never been easy to do so.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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