Four leaders from South East Asia’s advertising, media and gaming industries have come together to build a business upon the rapid rise of esports and gaming marketing.
Former Havas Media Thailand CEO and Twitch South East Asia head of marketing Ferdinand Gutierrez will be the Ampverse CEO, while Charlie Baillie, ex-Universal Music and RythmOne, will be chief commercial officer. Two more Twitch alumni will also be part of the founding team with Matthias Beyer (former regional director fo content) taking on the role of director of content and Surasak (Yoon) Winij (former Thailand country manager) will be vice president of content.
All four will lead the business, supported by several strategic advisors including Rob Gilby, former managing director of Walt Disney SEA.
Gutierrez says the time was now to capitalise on gaming’s growth and the expertise of the four founding team members.
“We felt that it’s the right time to build Ampverse because the potential in gaming in the region is just starting to be realised. As with any growth markets or industries, the key is understanding where that growth is and to capitalize using your strength and capabilities. In our case, as a founding team, it’s our expertise in marketing (especially in the gaming/influencer space) coupled with a deep-rooted knowledge of the SEA gaming and esports talent ecosystem that separates us from other companies. We felt there is significant value we can provide to help brands and agencies navigate the space and our advantage has a significant upside worth taking a chance on.”
The business will be split into three parts: Ampverse Influence, Ampverse Talent and Ampverse Publishing. ‘Influence’ will be connecting brands to top esports influencers with over 500m monthly views, ‘Talent’ will be a representation business to help top gaming and esports talent commercialise, while ‘Publishing’ will be a content and creative studio to co-create intellectual property with brands.
Gutierrez believes that the South East Asian market specifically is primed for these services.
“Southeast Asia is already the fastest growing gaming market globally, and we believe that the industry in Asia is set to become a global powerhouse. Whether its teams, talent or content, more and more of the region will be at the forefront. North Asia has already established itself and Southeast Asia will follow suit. In markets like Thailand where the infrastructure, talent and industry are all present, we are already seeing great traction and look forward to accelerating its growth through an ecosystem that will serve all parties through passion, professionalism and performance,” he says.
A key challenge for the business will be breaking down the stigmatisms and preconceptions brands have about gaming. Gutierrez says that many brands perceive gaming to have a high barrier to entry.
“Historically, brands have not used gaming as a marketing channel because its new and is perceived to have a high barrier of entry. This perception is due to the belief that gaming is only esports. Esports is just a small part of the gaming world and while it’s the most talked-about section, it’s not the easiest for brands to get into. Gaming content and the products that go with it is a much easier first step, as the barriers of entry like cost, timing, know-how are all mitigated by a more familiar model such as influencer campaigns and media. Ampverse has already executed over 200+ influencer led campaigns with 80% of our customers being repeat buyers and are proving that gaming is a great channel to bring consumers closer to brands,” he explains.
His advice to brands starting out is to understand that gaming revolves around a tight-knit community and this demands authenticity from brands. “As a marketer, we would advise to be authentic, be real and communicate with the community through voices they want to listen to and with media that allows them to make their own choices in order to best leverage your brand's equity to drive results.”
With the influencer side of the business already in action, he says the coming months will be about regional expansion but also looking at more around the publishing and merchandise sides of the business.
“Ampverse's vision is to be the leading gaming and esports media company in Southeast Asia. Our focus will be to expand our services regionally within the gaming and across the broader marketing and advertising ecosystem. We already have a few exciting initiatives within the publishing and merchandise side of our business and will be launching them in the coming months.”
Ampverse launches in Singapore and Thailand but the business said it planned to open more locations across the region in the coming months, having closed seed funding from gaming and entertainment investors in South East Asia.