What You Need to Know about Today’s Gaming Trends, and How Branded Games Can Make a Real Difference to Your Marketing.
The latest facts and figures from the games industry, including five reasons why you need to get involved.
Us human's love to play games, and global brands have been entertaining their audiences with games since the 80’s.
But the industry has moved on a fair bit since then, it’s not just big brands with deep pockets that can make the most of this games boom, marketing departments of all shapes and sizes can and should get involved.
Who’s playing games and why?!
We know that people love to play games – in fact 2.2 billion people play video games worldwide.
The global games market is worth $137.9 billion, with a 13% increase year on year.
The growth of the market has increased dramatically since the rise in popularity of the smartphone.
If we look back, it took 35 years for the global games market to creep its way up slowly to reach a consumer spend figure of $35 billion in 2007, the year the first iPhone was launched.
In the 10 years following that significant Steve Jobs press conference, that consumer spend figure has increased by $100 billion!
So there is no denying that the shift in modern day technology is one of the biggest contributing factors for this exponential growth.
What does a gamer look like?
The accessibility of games has also diversified the audience. No longer the privilege of teenage boys, the make-up of ‘video-gamers’ is now much more balanced.
48% of the UK’s 32.4 million gamers are WOMEN and half are also over 40.
So chances are YOUR audience are playing games too, whether you’re marketing to a B2C or B2B audience.
We are all human and a whole heap of us are playing games.
But why do we love to play games?
Essentially, humans seek that dopamine hit and its pleasing effect in everything we do. Games are a prime example of ticking off a lot of those 'higher' needs. You can delve a little deeper into the hierarchy of needs in the original post here.
Games can unlock:
Working our way through levels, unlocking exclusive items, collecting points etc. all create a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Games often have a competitive element where you must defeat opponents, race around the track in the fastest time or score the most goals. Having a prominent and public leaderboard feeds into both our competitive natures and satisfies our sense of achievement too.
Creating an alternate reality, a make-believe world that breaks the constraints of real life, gives us huge pleasure in seeking abilities and traits that are beyond our normal life.
Creating communities and socializing, while working towards a common goal unlocks our need of belonging to a tribe or group and touches upon the psychological need for affirmation and comradery.
Most important of all people play games because they are fun. If a game isn’t fun or doesn’t meet these needs, people simply won’t play.
Branded Games and Marketing
With all that in mind it’s no surprise that brands are using games to create positive and lasting connections with their audiences.
In an ‘always-on’ and ‘plugged-in’ world, where consumers risk being overwhelmed by marketing messages, products and advertising, brands need to entertain and engage their audience with something that is relevant to their lives. Something that offers a sense of achievement, community, cooperation and fun to cut through the noise and go some way to creating brand affinity and loyalty.
But what can YOU as a brand, as a marketer, expect from a game?
Average engagement figures of between 10 and 40 minutes per player are the norm when it comes to branded games. However, it can even be much more if you strike it right.
Games are great way of building communities, with players sharing tips on game-play, sharing their scores and engaging with the brand in a positive way on social media. With the inclusion of leaderboards and sharing functionality, you can help your audience spread the word with their friends and networks, creating online brand ambassadors from top players.
Games can generate revenue too, with links to special offers or promotions that are unlocked only from collecting enough coins, or finding a specific item in the game. These exclusive items give a real reason to play and rewards players for their persistence and re-engagement, whilst driving traffic back to the website to redeem a ‘25% off offer’ or a ‘buy one get one free’ offer.
Permission based data capture
Brands need to offer relevant and engaging content to ensure compliant, permission based opt-ins to marketing databases. Using leaderboards can make that process fun and positive and more likely to gain quality data and leads.
Stand out from the crowd
Branded games are a great way to increase footfall to your stand. Having a branded arcade machine or an iPad running a competition offers something interactive and fun on an exhibition floor to help you cut through the noise and be memorable when following up post show.
Those are five pretty compelling reasons why brand should use games. However I’d like to leave you with one final thought…
It’s not about you.
Ouch. Sorry, a little harsh?
We understand that you have objectives and that your brand and messaging need to be represented within a game, otherwise what’s the point, right? BUT, make sure that you’re thinking of the player’s experience.
If your brand and messaging is the primary focus of your game, rather than the player and their needs, chances are it isn’t going to be that fun to play.
If you’re commissioning a bespoke game, make sure that good game-play principles are at the forefront of the brief. If you’re tailoring a white-label game that already exists, be sure to demo it first, check it has a good balance between brand integration and fun game-play.
It’s a balancing act, but one that any good games studio will be able to help you navigate.
If done right, branded games can offer huge rewards and could be a marketing game-changer.