2015-10-26 Andrius Grigorjevas

GAMERS’ NATION

It is time to accept it. Video gaming is here. It is big and it is going to grow in the future.

You’re thinking about nerds? Well, time to dispose of that stereotype as well. It’s already too huge to fit into that picture.

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

The whole discussion about video gaming reached a boiling point when Jimmy Kimmel made comments about gamers watching gamers being a double waste of time. And then everybody understood the wrath of the gaming community. Oh, well. He had it coming. Did they prove a point? Mostly, yes. They also proved that they are vicious, nasty and angry crowd.

PROLIFERATION

And this not just a bunch of individuals we are talking about here. This is the full-fledged community. It seems that those “people watching other people play” have their own dedicated platform called twitch which has been growing to an enormous proportion: “Gaming-centric video web site Twitch ended 2013 with more than 45 million unique monthly viewers who watched, on average, 106 minutes of video a day, according to an end-of-year report from the company.” (Forbes – How Big Is Twitch’s Audience? Huge)

Youtube gaming channels are some of the most watched and having most subscribers. People like PewdiePie are not only earning money from their play-through with nasty comments type-of-videos, but recently have even been elevated to a celebrity status.

There are also news outlets like IGN that cover entertainment topics by putting video gaming in the first position with movies, tv shows, comics following game reporting.

gamers nation trend

THE SIZE OF IT

Of course, one of the main factors proving that this is no longer a nerdy minority you have to deal with is the money involved. Here is the industry breakdown by the Guardian:

“It is estimated that the revenues of the video game industry worldwide will reachabout $91.5bn when 2015 comes to an end, while live and recorded music revenues are estimated at about $47bn, movies at around $104bn, and television subscriptions at well over $200bn.”

That’s a 20% portion of the whole entertainment pot.

size of gaming

OTHER GAME-RELATED TRENDS

Gaming is everywhere. There are at least three big trends that are directly influenced by the ever growing army of digital gamers. Games or gamification are making their way everywhere:

-ACHIEVEMENT CULTURE – from habit changing to reinforcing positive behavior, now we are all about collecting our own achievements and sharing them with others

-REWARDIFICATION – when achievements are not enough, brands are taking the next step by giving out actual tangible rewards in the form of discounts, product or even money to people who are able to reach something within the provided framework

-GAMIFIED WORKPLACE – all of the aforementioned elements are finding their way in corporate culture as a way to attract and retain employees.

related trends

UNDER-REPRESENTATION

For such a huge cultural phenomenon there is very little representation for gamer demographic in advertising discourse. The last time I saw a gamer in the ad was the infamous DANSKE ad, but even there it was about kids playing computer games. And we know that’s not really the case anymore.

IMPLICATIONS

My proposal in terms of communication planning is really simple:

-when describing target audience, first think not in terms of single/family/kids or no-kids or even income/age based classifications, but answer a simple question  – is that a gamer or not.

That’s all you need. For now.

SEMIOSEARCH

communication field and its problems never cease to amaze me - the truly brilliant thing is that there are no final answers. I don't understand anything, but I guess nobody does (there just a moderate degree of success in pretending that they do). If you have challenges, questions, topics, themes or projects - contact me and maybe we can crack them together. Andrius