It’s Game on for 2022

Gaming is only an ever-growing opportunity for brands. There are approximately 3 billion gamers globally and this is increasing by 5.6% year on year. The games industry itself is worth over £130 billion and is predicted to double in value over the next 5 years.

For brands this is a lucrative market and a pathway to engage with millennials and Gen Z, audiences that are increasingly are shying away from traditional media such as TV.

While broadcast viewership has fallen in the region of 20% over the last decade, 80% of under 40’s now average 7 hours of video game playtime a week. With youth consumers spending more and more of their time gaming, brands are understanding the need to be in this space if they are to maintain relevancy and create cultural credibility.

But what is the current gaming zeitgeist? What trends can brands take advantage in the gaming ecosystem. Here are our top suggestions for brands in 2022:

The Battle for gaming subscriptions: The console war between Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation has heated up dramatically and there is now a new battleground: original content. Gaming giants are securing IP much like the popular streaming services to control the gaming pipeline. To have exclusivity for much anticipated titles is a way to dominate. Microsoft recently made the eye watering $68.7 billion acquisition of Blizzard Activision, retaining popular games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Overwatch. Unsurprisingly, Sony hit back with the purchase of Bungie and the popular cooperative shooter, Destiny 2. But what’s the long-term goal? Our prediction is through securing IP, these platforms aim to grow their digital gaming subscriptions. Xbox GamePass and PlayStation Plus will add these IPs to their repertoire of games and services.

But how can brands take advantage of this escalation in hostilities? Brand partnerships that add value or promote these subscription services have a chance to benefit. Offering relevant value exchange will open huge marketing and partnership opportunities

‘Superheroic’ Opportunities: The Marvel and DC Comic franchises have massive fanbases, with a steady stream of triple A movies, TV shows and games scheduled for released in 2022 and beyond. Partnered brands can benefit from not only the huge popularity but also greater reach through their wider cross platform exposure. For example, car brand Ford and sport fashion brand Nike have featured in Marvel movies, TV series and games, exposing their brands to a multitude of audiences across different mediums.

Partners in the MetaverseThe metaverse was a buzzword in 2021, with brands dipping their toes into these digital immersive worlds with the likes of ‘Fortnite X Balenciaga’, ‘Nikeland and Roblox’, and ‘Selfridges and Pokémon’ to name a few. With the elusive Gen Y&Z audiences spending increasingly more time in digital worlds, brands can create fully immersive online spaces that celebrate their products without competing distraction.

The Hyper-Casual: Hyper-casual games are designed to be easy to play, accessible and fun so make great partners for brands entering the gaming space. These games feature heavily on the android and iOS platforms (e.g., Helix Jump, Rise Up and Flappy Birds) so they also enjoy mass potential reach. The mobile gaming market on its own is worth $90 billion globally.

Purpose led gaming partnerships: Some of last year’s most memorable gaming partnerships were those with an altruistic goal. H&M’s launch of a new eco-friendly clothing line in partnership with actress Maisie Williams and the hugely popular video game, Animal Crossing, where players could explore ‘H&M’s Loop Island’ to engage with assets and learn about the clothing line’s sustainability and recycling credentials.

These trends reflect two main waves of change. The first is that gaming is becoming a crucially integral part of our lives; from live subscription services to endless content and the future with the metaverse. Secondly, echoing gaming’s growing mainstream audience, gamers are looking to play and connect in new digital spaces with communities that exemplify their passion points. Brands that can genuinely enter these spaces and relate to gamer passion points will succeed in enamouring themselves to our gamer generation.

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