When it comes to gaming – and esports, an industry that topped $1B in revenue in 2019 – creating a stand-out gaming experience is more important than ever before. Especially in a world where more and more people are spending time at home. Below is the first piece of content in a series of articles entitled: Game on! The video game industry’s opportunity to deliver superior brand experiences is now.
There are more gamers around the world (2.47B) than the entire population of US, China, and Europe combined. Let that sink in for a minute.
And that’s just the beginning.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the global gaming population and consumer spending on entertainment software were both steadily growing – enhanced by new hardware, subscription, and cloud gaming offers. But as social distancing and quarantine spread across the world, this trend grew exponentially. To the point that, in the US, Verizon reports video game usage has gone up by 75% during peak hours. And globally, there has been a massive surge in mobile app downloads.
What does this mean for developers and publishers? And what are the implications for other brands?
Act swiftly and make a big splash
Developing brand loyalty among the massive and constantly growing gaming audience isn’t easy. Despite its size, there is no shortage of content. Especially among mobile games which make up the largest portion of the gaming audience.
Most high-profile games succeed by continuously engaging their existing fan base, and using their energy and enthusiasm to further grow that fan base. This is done primarily in two ways:
- Through expansions and content patches that enrich the gameplay itself.
- By employing transmedia tactics, using other platforms, channels, and media to expand on the core narrative. This can come to life as novels, symphony orchestras, theme park attractions, other video game formats, film/television – and it is this space that is the most compelling for brand experience to play in.
The challenge in maintaining the attention of this highly energized and competitive audience is that publishers must act swiftly and make a hell of a splash doing it. They must prove their worth. Act as an Experience Brand – one that creates demand through a series of actions, not by a single experience or by what they say or promise to do in their marketing efforts. And today, engaging games must now include both online AND offline experiences.
Many gamers demonstrate their devotion by attending both types of experiences. Offline that mostly involves large esports tournaments (Fortnite World Cup, League of Legends, Overwatch League) to major industry events (Dreamhack, TwitchCon, GDC, E3 and ChinaJoy) that bring fans together with publishers and developers, influencers, and streamers. Online experiences or virtual brand acts are equally as headline grabbing – think Travis Scott or Marshmello’s concerts inside of Fortnite or Minecraft’s virtual charity concert Block by Block West that was so popular it crashed servers and had to be rescheduled.
So how do you architect a gaming experience that captivates and engages an audience both in person and online, around the world?
And more importantly, what can you do to bring these fans into your world and keep them coming back for more?
Create killer experiences.