Marketers need to understand gaming communities before it’s game over

20 Mar 20194 minutes read

With Facebook, Snapchat, and Google becoming the latest major brands investing heavily in the $140bn gaming industry, we’re warning marketers that they need to understand the culture behind the phenomenon, if they want to level up!


Yesterday at GDC in San Francisco, Google unveiled its plans for a so-called ‘Netflix for Gamers’ platform named Stadia which they have positioned as the ‘future of gaming’. Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are also set for presenting at the conference.

 It’s hard to wrap your head around the size of the rapidly growing phenomenon that is the global gaming industry. What was once considered a ‘niche’ is now a global market worth $140bn, with the total UK video games revenue (£5.5bn) expected to overtake the total spend on books (£4.9bn) by 2020.

CNET earlier reported that Snap Inc had invested an undisclosed amount in Australian gaming studio called Prettygreat, before acquiring it for $8.6 million last year. The social media giant is also rumoured to unveil gaming platform next month for developers featuring the tagline “Less talk. More play.”

With aggressive plans to develop ‘the games equivalent of Netflix’ the objectives for these brands are actively challenging traditional entertainment genres from sports to film and TV.

JustGiving has recently launched a new service designed to make it easier for video gamers to encourage charitable donations. The donation platform has created Gaming for Social Good hub as a response to a large increase in the number of gamers who want to raise funds for good causes through their activities, such as gaming marathons or challenges. It said that more than £75m had been raised for good causes through the live-streaming platform Twitch since 2012.

The surge of investment and focus on the gaming industry is certain to attract the attention of outside brands looking to partner-up and marketers hoping to secure their place in the highly profitable trend. As stated in The Drum; ‘gamers can smell bullshit a mile off’ - they will see through fabrications or stunts, and they demand more from us as marketers. The sharp, cynical, and fiercely loyal legion of fans is ‘invite only’ for marketers. We have to earn the right to join the conversation, we need to either add value, immerse ourselves in the experience – with the self-awareness that the audience demands.

Dan Thomas, Head of Games Services at Etch Play says “gaming audiences eclipse traditional brand communities, both in terms of volume and engagement levels. The familiarity with tech, fast adoption and evolution of gamer-focused platforms has repeatedly shown where gaming communities lead, others follow. Forums, social media and traditional video are making way for the current phenomenon that is live streaming which is exhibiting staggering numbers and unprecedented influence with the audience. A trend we have been studying extensively that would pay dividend for other industries to pay close attention to”.

Formerly known as ‘Moov2’ the digital specialists at Etch Play are comprised of experts in the gaming sector. With extensive experience offering digital services to the games industry such as web, mobile and app development alongside supporting services such as digital marketing, community management including social listening and influencer engagement. Etch Play have provided experiences for major national organisations such as Microsoft Studios, Sony, Hasbro, Barclays and Supermassive Games.

With 16 years of success in the industry, Etch Play are bringing their cultural understanding of this audience to provide the crucial connection between mainstream brands the gaming community. The key to connecting with the gaming community will be understanding the culture and using the right approach.

 So what’s clear, is that the key to connecting with the gaming community will be understanding the culture and using the right approach, so if you have spotted this opportunity and would like to organise a catch up with the Etch Play team to discuss your possibilities, please leave your details below!