With 3.2bn estimated video game players across the world in 2022, and 75% of US homes containing a gamer,gaming is now a mainstream activity. More and more brands are getting into gaming, for example, the retailer Claire’s Accessories is the latest to enter Roblox with a virtual destination called ShimmerVille, with the aim of empowering self-expression and personal style. The rapid expansion of the gaming audience has not gone unnoticed by technology platforms and media outlets who are actively working to incorporate gaming elements into their offering as an audience attraction and stickiness factor.
Video ❤️ gaming
Netflix has always kept a close eye on gaming. The platform has developed several shows directly inspired by video games, and in January 2019 went as far as describing Fortnite as a bigger competitor than other streaming services. It is then not surprising that Netflix started to integrate games both based on its titles, like Stranger Things, and other non-show-related games, like Rival Pirates.It has also started to include games on screen, making use of the interactivity available both online and on connected TVs. In April 2022, it introduced a month long interactive daily quiz show that was essentially an adaptation of the mobile game Trivia Quest.
Gaming is also starting to invade TV. In June 2022, Samsung introduced an Xbox app for their smart TVs that allows viewers to play a selection of games without an Xbox. Users need to buy a controller to connect to their sets but can then play as if they have a console.
Social platforms want their FarmVille moment
Social apps are also turning to gaming content. Games were a part of the Facebook experience in the early days, with titles like FarmVille becoming popular with users for a few years and displayed in the feed until Facebook changed their algorithm. Now two leading mobile-first apps, Snapchat and TikTok, are introducing games as a way of engaging more users. TikTok is reportedly working on a games tab within its app so that people can stay and play when they have tired of videos. Apparently gaming content in the app has become increasingly popular, so this is a logical step. As for Snapchat, Augmented Reality (AR) has long been a key part of its experience, and earlier this year the platform introduced a new AR lens that is actually a game. Ghost Phone lets users hunt for ghosts in their own home, with goals and points to win, as they walk around.The gamification of lenses could make them potentially more engaging, shareable, and addictive.
Time is of the essence
Spotify is another platform that has added games in 2022. In July they bought Heardle, the music-based game that challenges players to identify a new song each day, playing more of the intro in each round. Heardle was inspired by the word game Wordle, which The New York Times (NYT) bought for a reported seven figure sum in January as a way to generate more visits to their site. As with the NYT’s deal, the objective behind Heardle is to use gaming as a magnet to bring audiences into Spotify and encourage repeated usage even if they do not want to listen to music or podcasts, increasing the number of daily users and allowing Spotify to collect more first-party user data. Both games were snatched and integrated in the NYT and Spotify ecosystems very quickly to capitalise on the strong momentum around them.
What Brands Can Do
- Investigate gaming as a channel and content form. What level of involvement is most appropriate for your consumers?
- Test new approaches using established technology partners, extending current campaigns to new platforms.
- Ideate around on-site content. Can games help to explain innovations, sustainability, or other initiatives effectively?
For more information, download our recent Thought Leadership piece: Media Trends 2023.