Video games! Most of us at least tried them, some of us loved them, some of us weren't quite intrigued. What can't be denied is that the video game industry is quickly becoming the most profitable entertainment industry in.. ever! It surpassed both movie and music industry by a landslide. Avengers: Endgame one of, and if not the most anticipated blockbuster earned around 800 million dollars, while the release of GTA V earned 1 billion dollars in just three days. The global market is estimated at around 2.5 billion gamers. With the introduction and popularization of new platforms, video game industry is taking on new challenges and climbing to new heights.
The Twitch Effect and Marketing
The most famous streaming platform called Twitch is practically Netflix for gaming, one of the differences is that it’s watched more than Netflix, Hulu, HboGO and ESPN combined. The site hosts a multitude of different streamers streaming various games. Amazon realized the potential Twitch has and acquired the company in 2014. for 970 million dollars. Twitch is now the premier streaming platform for video games with over 15 million daily active users. Some of the most famous content creators came from Twitch: Ninja, Summit1g, TimTheTatman, DrDisrespect, Pokimane and so on. Similar to other general streaming platforms Twitch allows you the viewer to have complete control over the content you are watching.
Marketing and video games didn't quite go hand in hand. Marketers couldn't figure out how to get into the gaming industry, because it was very unpredictable. Most of the excitement would follow the release dates of major games, but beyond that there wasn't a lot to go by. With the introduction of Twitch, rise of Esports and popularization of content creators, marketers found a way in.
The Cult of Personality
Influencer marketing and video games really go hand in hand and it's mostly thanks to Twitch, YouTube and of course content creators. When people are watching their favorite streamers and see them drinking a certain energy drink, using a certain chair, they are very likely to go out and buy that product. Red Bull realized that and signed a partnership with one of the most popular gaming influencers Tyler „Ninja“ Blevins, to release limited edition Red Bull Ninja cans. What's funny is that not that long ago, Ninja was just a mediocre streamer on Twitch, averaging around 2000 viewers until Fortnite came out. Fortnite was a spectacle in itself, but it also skyrocketed Ninja to fame. From a couple thousand viewers to hundreds of thousands of them.
What needs to be said when it comes to the gaming community is, they are very inclusive and smart! If something isn't quite right or someone isn't being completely truthful about their sponsorships, they will find out. And gamers aren't forgiving. It's important to make sure your brand resonates with the target audience and the influencer who you are trying to sign. If you have a quality product that is of use to the gaming community you are halfway there, all you need next is to be honest and they will accept you.
All About the Hype
One of the most successful promotional campaigns in video game industry is happening right now! And it's for a game that hasn't even been officially released. A well known American video game company Riot, known for their record breaking MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) League of Legends, released a close beta acces for their up and coming FPS (First Person Shooter) called Valorant. Valorant is a mix between the most popular FPS of all time Counter Strike and hugely popular Overwatch. Fans were extremely excited when the game was announced, but no one could predict what is happening right now. In order to adjust the servers correctly, Riot stated that the closed beta will only be accessible to those who watch streamers playing the game on Twitch. Which means the more hours you watch somebody play the game, there's a bigger chance for you to gain access and play the game. The numbers are ridiculous. On the first day of the closed beta close to 2 million people were watching their favorite streamers play the game. And the numbers aren't dying down, due to the limited access the hype surrounding the game became unreal, everybody is hoping for an access drop. In the first week Valorant averages almost a million concurrent viewers and 150 million hours watched, in just a week!
When big companies took notice of gaming industries big strives some of the best crossovers ever took place. One of the most memorable ones was when Fortnite was at its peak of popularity. It just coincided that Avengers: Endgame was coming out, and what came out was a really creative marketing move. They added the villain Thanos into the game! Community loved the move and it sent a message to all other companies that thought out moves involving the gaming industry could be really fruitful.
Cyberpunk and Keanu
In june 2019. Polish video gaming giant CD Project Red showcased their new game Cyberpunk 2077. CD Project Red are one of the most beloved companies in the gaming industry. Mostly because they always take the harder route, they are known for always listening to their fans, polishing games even it means delaying release dates and not charging fans for additional content. They became famous for developing a widely known game called The Witcher so when they announced their new project Cyberpunk 2077, all the fans were sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for more info on the game.
During the E3 conference in which they revealed the first glimpses of the game, fans were astounded when another crowd favorite came on the screen. Keanu Reeves, one of the biggest actors of our time was a character in a video game! Keanu Reeves plays a non-player character named Johnny Silverhand and he loved the experience so much that he reached out to CD Project Red in hopes of giving the character more screen time. The thing is, CD Projekt Red wasn't aiming for a well known celebrity, but Reeves connected with the character while also putting his own spin on it.
Hideo Kojima, Japanese video game designer, director, writer and producer is one of the cult figures in the gaming industry. He rose to fame working for a Japanese video game company Konami for which he designed one of the most popular games of all time, Metal Gear. His newest masterpiece called Death Stranding had it’s first reveal trailer in 2017. and it shocked the gaming community, in a good way! Fans weren’t just surprised by his famous philosophical and apstract approach in regards to the visuals and the story driven content. But when they saw the cast of characters you could hear millions of jaws drop.
When you look at the Death Stranding cast it looks more like an IMDB page for a newly anticipated blockbuster. Characters are played by: Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Guillermo del Toro, Nicolas Winding Refn and Conan O’Brien! And who would blame them, video games have a very different approach when it comes to storytelling. Not just that, by 2021. number of gamers in the world is supposed to pass 2,5 billion! If you’re and actor, why wouldn’t you want to get familiar with a piece of that number?
What the Future Holds
Community is everything when it comes to video games. Companies that value the meaning of a community and have an experience in building one should have no issue finding a way into the gaming world. But what does the future hold? We all know about the technological advances in video games like AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) but the storytelling is evolving as well. More and more actors, directors and major film studios are looking at the gaming industry. Not just because of the different storytelling approach, but also because of the astounding numbers that the industry is presenting.
We shouldn't be surprised when we see a major cast of characters in more upcoming video games. Actors love it, it gives them a chance to express themselves in a different light and gather up some new fans, studios love it because the numbers are astronomical. As long as all the "newcomers" understand gaming culture and the importance of community in gaming we should be delighted by even more gaming masterpieces sporting our favorite cast of characters from the movie industry.
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