Credit: Ella Don – Unsplash
Long gone are the days when gaming was nothing more than a niche hobby for geeks and tech enthusiasts in the know. Half of the world’s population now plays video games, although core gamers make up a mere 10% of that global figure. Still, the gaming industry generates billions of dollars in revenue worldwide.
More surprising, perhaps, data suggests that it is now larger than the film and the music sectors combined. And Hollywood knows that all too well, as producers go all-in on video game adaptations to get viewers back to the movie theatres.
While video games continuously dominate the conversation in the tech and entertainment spheres, studios and publishers still need to stay on top of the game to keep attracting new players and retain increasingly picky gamers. So, how will the industry pick up the pace? Let’s check three marketing trends to watch out for.
The rise of live streaming platforms
Sponsoring influencers is nothing new in the entertainment realm. Content creators have long been some of the best ambassadors of various brands that use their prestige and visibility to boost their own. But nowhere is this trend as pervasive as in the gaming industry. Pushed to the front by platforms like YouTube Gaming and Twitch, video game watching is gaining traction across a growing number of demographics. 140 million active users get their entertainment fix on Twitch monthly. Incidentally, live streaming offers a broad new venue to explore for gaming marketers.
Many leverage the notoriety and community-building effort of prominent streamers to appeal to prospective players in a more authentic manner. Other studios take the matter into their own hands and broadcast exclusive content, disclosing never-before-seen gameplay footage or teasing enticing new features. Meanwhile, gamers can interact more easily with developers to voice their complaints or queries as gameplay showcases often include Q&A sessions.
Twitch Drops Campaigns also grant viewers unique rewards and in-game items upon certain conditions, keeping audiences more invested than what an advertising campaign could ever dream of achieving.
The social component of gaming
Video games have long been social spaces in their own rights. But recent years have had people craving more connection, even if virtually. Massively multiplayer online platforms set the trend for in-game chatting, sometimes introducing voice chats to make the experience even more interactive. But social features have expanded beyond mere MOBAs and MMORPGs. Countless gaming apps now support in-game chat functionalities.
Marketing strategies also account for virtual spaces where players may socialize and immerse themselves in live events. For instance, virtual live gigs can contribute to pushing a game to the front pages. Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert was all over the news in 2020, amassing a record-breaking 12 million viewership. Community events are just as rife on Roblox, often delivering free accessories and items to all attendees.
Esports events and tournaments, especially if streamed live, can also provide meaningful ways to build community. Long story short, live events encourage engagement and loyalty.
The appeal of personalized service
Content is everywhere in this day and age of entertainment galore. As ad fatigue comes with audience saturation, audiences tend to react more strongly to attention-grabbing advertising. But they also want to feel seen and acknowledged in their needs.
Personalized gaming can therefore offer a tailored experience accounting for a gamer’s specific interests and preferences. Marketing strategies might include everything from adjusting difficulty levels to match a player’s skillset to providing fitted recommendations on what games to explore next. Gathering data also helps developers enhance the targeting of discounts and in-game purchases. Some platforms even reward users based on their playing patterns.
Online VIP casinos catering to high rollers are now a staple of the iGaming industry. Unavailable to non-regular players, such VIP sites offer exclusive bonuses and perks to a select few. High-stake gamblers may benefit from higher withdrawal limits and gain access to VIP slots and tabletop games. Top-tier members can even land luxury gifts and invitations to special events. Thus, such loyalty schemes are instrumental in personalizing the relationship between gamers and their platforms of choice.
Gaming might be one of the biggest entertainment industries around, but companies are still striving to adapt their marketing tactics to the evolving needs of their target audiences. And many more disruptors will force marketers to adapt again, from the rise of user-generated content to the growth of cloud gaming platforms.