by Harry Lang, VP of Marketing at Kwalee
In the past few weeks there have been a glut of digital mobile, PC and console games expos, conferences and showcases viewed by hundreds of millions of people around the world. The sheer scale, popularity and value of digital games is simply staggering — and it just so happens that this is the world that I now spend my waking hours working in.
The Summer Games Fest, The Future of Games, Xbox Game Studios, Day of the Devs, Future Games Show 2023, OTK Games Expo, Devolver Digital, Future of Play, Wholesome Direct, PC Games Show and Guerrilla Collective — all these events took place in May and June and entertained a rapt audience around the world. The heroes of these jamborees are both the games being promoted in a frenetic gold rush of pre-launch awareness building but also the influencers, streamers and tastemakers who earn a fortune peddling their interactive wares on YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and Discord.
The current messiah in this crowd is a blue haired noisebox ‘Ninja’. With over eighteen million followers (or disciples — they’re a scarily loyal clan) he earns a reported half a million dollars every month through endorsements, sponsorship, donations and ad revenue. Overall the games industry is worth $384 Billion, rising to a forecasted $521 Billion by 2027 according to Statista, so there are loads of Ninjas out there.
Games aren’t just like a new religion — they’re much bigger than that. Over three billion people play regularly across all devices, dwarfing the two and a half billion who practise the most popular religion, Christians, atheists and agnostics, by comparison, number roughly five hundred million — making them mere start-ups in the belief hierarchy.
YOUGOV’s March 2023 Global Gaming & Esports whitepaper expands further on the exponential growth of games with some startling statistics:
● 1 in 3 consumers worldwide (31%) engage in playing video games on a weekly basis
● Smartphones are the top device used for gaming among weekly gamers (64%) and those who game most often in a week (63%)
● Women are far more likely to game on mobile devices than men (71% vs. 59%)
Three years ago, I wrote about the rapidly growing world of esports and came out with a potentially contentious prediction:
“By 2021 esports will have more regular viewers and fans than all US sports outside the NFL, and globally esports is well on track to overtake football as the most popular sport to watch within the decade”.
Claim number one has certainly come home to roost, whilst claim number two is well on track. FIFA currently claims there are 5 billion fans of the world’s most popular sport, meaning that at current rates, and factoring all games media, my predictions were, if anything, conservative.
Games are fun, engaging and ethically sound escape tunnels from reality when played in moderation (for the most part — driving haphazardly over prostitutes in GTA 5 is an exception rather than the rule). They’re tailor made for abject devotion — so we should have seen it coming.
If you’re trying to appeal to ‘hard to reach’ younger audiences, as well as the cash rich/time rich older generation plus the remainder avoiding the cold, harsh reality of ‘Real Life in 2023’ in the middle, games are the media altar every brand should be praying at.
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