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It's time brands started playing games

The Drum 02 Jul 2020 07:30
By Cari Kirby-02 July 2020 08:30am

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As lockdown restrictions relax, we’re beginning to reflect on our time indoors, looking at what kept us sane and connected to the outside world.

It’s no surprise that we were all looking for things to keep us entertained. Statista gives us some cold hard facts that give context to our lives in lockdown:

It comes as no surprise that as we entered lockdown, we were all looking for things to keep us entertained indoors. Statista reports that 51% of people worldwide were streaming more shows and films than they were pre-lockdown, with Netflix reporting 16 million new sign ups during the first three months of the year — almost double the number of new sign-ups it saw during the final three months of 2019.

Statista reports that 36% of people claimed to spend much more time playing games than they did before the pandemic, and further figures from US telecoms network Verizon showed a 115% increase in gaming usage compared to a typical day before Covid-19.

We think it’s fair to say, games have been a been a staple in our lockdown lives.

Using games in marketing is not a new thing of course.

In-game advertising

It’s not just fashion houses either – while the Getty Museum in LA is physically closed players can adorn their pixel walls with art from their collection, and Monteray Aquarium have been providing information about insects, fish and fauna found in the game habitats during livestream events on Twitch!

It’s no surprise that brands are getting involved in whatever way they can.

Esports is another way brands are getting involved with avid gaming audiences. We’ve seen sports leagues like the NBA and the Premier League using eSports to host tournaments and maintain fan engagement.

While recent events have seen many location-based events cancelled, streamed events are increasingly popular. Many sporting celebrities with brand sponsorships are taking to gaming events to connect to their fans whilst satisfying their competitive natures: Renault F1 star, Esteban Ocon streaming Gran Turismo and England Rugby player, Ellis Genge playing a friendly League of Legends match against British eSports organisation Excel Esports to name a few.

Branded games

Another more cost effective option is to create a game. While that might seem like another costly endeavor, there are a handful of developers and companies that offer a white label approach to game development — building out an existing game rather than starting from scratch, ensuring that budget is spent on branding opportunities rather than complex development.

For example, online fashion retailer, BoohooMAN have used a game to launch their second collection collaboration with Quavo, using in-game collectables, offers and giveaways.

Brands need to make way for games

It’s fair to say that this industry is going from strength to strength, and while brands need to build loyalty and create connections with audiences, they would be amiss not to consider how games could be part of their strategy for 2020 and beyond.

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StatistaGetty MuseumActivision BlizzardNetflix
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