Market To Market: Game On
Gaming is a global phenomenon. According to Reuters, gaming generated $116 billion in revenue last year, eclipsing television ($105 billion), box office ($41 billion) and digital music ($17 billion).
Video games aren’t just the most profitable form of entertainment—they’re also the most popular. Nearly half (43 percent) of U.S. adults say they play video games, according to the Pew Research Center.
Gamers play an average of seven hours and seven minutes each week, which is up nearly 20 percent from last year, according to the 2019 State of Online Gaming report. Video games play such an important role in today’s culture that there are even holidays to celebrate them: Video Game Day on July 8 and National Video Game Day on September 12.
When gamers want to get in on the action, it’s easier than ever to play. Smart TVs often come bundled with games that can be played without a console and game-streaming services allow gamers to play without needing to purchase expensive gaming equipment.
Whether they’re playing on a console, TV, PC or smartphone, or watching others play, gamers and spectators alike are part of a massive market that’s becoming ever more mainstream. The next time you see fans pouring into a stadium, there’s a good chance they’re not there for a traditional sporting event. Instead, they might be there to watch teams battle it out in digital combat.
Esports—the art of ultra-competitive gaming between two or more professional gamers—often commands fan attention that rivals that of some of the country’s largest sporting events. According to research firm SuperData, esports drew 258 million unique viewers last year. Compare that to the 204 million unique viewers who tuned into NFL regular season games in the U.S., according to Nielsen data.
Marketers looking to reach gaming enthusiasts can take their campaigns to the next level with promotional products. More than half (59 percent) of esports fans say they tend to buy brands they see advertised, according to a report from GlobalWebIndex, and nearly half (48 percent) would buy a product or service just for the experience of being part of a community.
From gamer gear to spectator giveaways, companies can put their brands in play with promotional products. Read on for trends and ideas to help your clients reach new high scores in the gaming industry.
Available in red, royal, black and white, the tech kit features a long, braided cable and a textile pen wrapped up in a cord organizer with a snap closure.
Crown Products, Inc. / PPAI 113430 / www.crownprod.com
Give gamers an apparel item they’ll be proud to wear. This sublimated short-sleeve jersey can be customized with logos, graphics, text and colors.
Champro / PPAI 669316 / www.champrosports.com
Gamers can grab the award-winning core gaming backpack and go. This checkpoint-friendly backpack features an external USB 3.0 quick-charge compatible port and a built-in charging cable.
Mobile Edge / PPAI 314937 / www.mobileedge.com
With the mobile joystick, gamers can turn their mobile device into a traditional gaming controller. It clips to the front of a phone without the need for wires, batteries or Bluetooth connectivity to allow gamers to navigate through a game.
BIC Graphic NA / PPAI 114187 / www.bicgraphic.com
The VRCharge lets gamers power their virtual reality gaming. It clips onto VR goggles and plugs into the Samsung Gear VR to charge. When fully charged, gamers can enjoy four hours of power without draining their phone charge.
Hirsch Gift, Inc. / PPAI 221823 / www.hirschgift.com
Gamers can power up anywhere with the Xoopar Geo Wireless 5000mAh Power Bank, which charges on contact with wireless-charging enabled devices. Skeletal lights indicate charging.
Logomark, Inc. / PPAI 110898 / www.logomark.com
Players will look cool at gaming conventions while logos get plenty of exposure with the high-profile, portable billboard effect of these sunglasses. The patented print areas make them a game changer. A unique and fun wearable, they are made of high-quality materials so the wearer will keep them long after the event. Available in two styles for adults, plus a kids’ version.
iBlack Sports / PPAI 759406 / www.iblacksports.com
The gaming industry is constantly evolving, allowing gamers of all ages and skill levels to get in on the fun. Expanding beyond a participant activity, gaming has also morphed into a spectator sport where millions of fans gather to watch tournaments both online and in person. Companies can give their marketing campaigns a creativity surge by using promotional products to:
Rally fans. From viewing parties at gaming venues to matches at esports arenas, companies can add to the excitement with promotional products.
Drive ticket sales. Entice gamers with exclusive logoed gifts when they purchase tickets, VIP suites or packages for esports events.
Award winners. Esports winners can land prize money that swells into the millions. Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, offers $100 million in prize cash for its competitive tournaments. Companies can bring their name into the arena with custom gifts and awards for champions.
One of the biggest trends in the gaming industry is a move toward mobile. Over the past 10 years, mobile gaming has grown from the smallest segment in the gaming industry to the largest, according to the Global Games Market Report. By 2020, mobile gaming will represent more than half of the total games market. The mobile gaming sector is projected to bring in nearly $100 billion in annual revenue by 2021.
Marketers should also pay close attention to esports, which draws an audience of around 400 million fans around the world. The 2018 Global eSports Market Report projects that global esports revenues will reach $1.4 billion by 2020. Spectators often watch from esports arenas such as the $10 million, 100,000-square-foot esports Stadium Arlington in Arlington, Texas, the largest esports arena in North America. Wherever fans are watching, companies can use promotional products to create an immersive, exciting and memorable experience.
Best U.S. Cities for Gamers
WalletHub compared 100 of the country’s most-populated cities across three dimensions—gaming environment, internet quality and coverage, and gamer and developer opportunities—to determine the best cities for gamers. These gamer-friendly destinations rose to the top of the list.
1. Seattle, Washington
2. Irvine, California
3. Los Angeles, California
4. Orlando, Florida
5. Atlanta, Georgia
6. New York, New York
7. San Jose, California
8. San Francisco, California
9. Austin, Texas
10. Raleigh, North Carolina
The Rise Of eSports In Academia
More than 130 universities around the country offer varsity collegiate esports programs, governed by the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE). More than 3,000 student athletes participate in varsity esports, with NACE awarding $15 million in annual esports scholarships and aid.
Sources: ESPN; National Association of Collegiate eSports
Players Will Play
Here’s how much gamers play each week:
Age 18-25: 7.78 hours
Age 26-35: 8.21 hours
Age 36-45: 7.76 hours
Age 46-60: 6.32 hours
Age 60+: 5.63 hours
AVERAGE: 7.14 hours
Source: Limelight Networks
Meet the Power Gamers
Power gamers, those who play more than 10 hours a week on a PC or console, aren’t those you might think.
68% are employed
42% are parents
40% are college graduates
33% are women
Most Popular Video Game Genres
Adults report playing these kinds of video games:
Team sport or racing 33%
Source: Pew Research Center
The Gaming Industry’s Biggest Players
These companies bring in the biggest gaming revenue:
Tencent $18.1 billion
Sony $10.5 billion
Apple $8 billion
Microsoft $7.1 billion
Activision Blizzard $6.5 billion
Source: USA Today
Eau de Gamer
Microsoft teamed up with the makers of Axe body spray to create Xbox-branded body wash, shower gel and deodorant. Available only in Australia, the product line launched last month. According to Microsoft, products smell of fruit, herbs and various types of fragrant wood.
Audrey Sellers is a Dallas, Texas-area writer and former associate editor of PPB.