Inside ITV’s £2.5m investment to bring TV gaming to the masses

ITV is betting big on bringing gaming to live TV, investing £2.5m in game developer Live Tech Games. The firm’s co-founder, Nathan Moore, says accessible games with mass appeal can future proof TV audiences.

Moore tells The Drum that gaming has a key role to play in the future of TV. “It used to be really fun watching someone else on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire win the jackpot, but that’s not the case any more. People want to be involved and have an active participation and it’s a necessity that TV also comes into that position.”

Live Tech Games first tied with ITV to develop and run its first ever live game during an episode of daytime show This Morning. After a successful pilot of rock, paper, scissors, ITV got serious about the concept and how it could find opportunities for a brand to come on board.

Moore says creating a game without barriers to entry was key to the pilot’s success. “The sort of people who are watching This Morning might not be willing to play these super complex games like Fortnite or have any understanding of the metaverse. TV is broadcast to the whole nation, you can’t stop it being seen – it’s made to be loved by everyone.”

Launched with co-founder Samuel Worsley in 2019, Live Tech Games is in development with ITV to test new game formats as well as methods of embedding and commercial opportunities.

“We had said to our investors, ’wouldn’t it be amazing if in five years’ time our games could be played live on TV?’” jokes Moore. “We even had a picture of Ant and Dec on our deck slide.”

ITV has previously set out its ambition to add games into its schedule and ad breaks, providing sponsorship opportunities for brands. The UK broadcaster has already made breakthroughs developing games around its IP including a Love Island role play game and a version of the I’m a Celeb camp in Fortnite.

Moore says that, since gaming is “extremely focused”, it can be a great engagement tool for an advertiser. “It’s not like TV where people are often on two devices ignoring adverts – when they are in a game they play and don’t do anything else.”

While gamification will never be a replacement for TV advertising, Moore believes it can be a positive addition to help brands connect deeper with consumers without the “traditional” ad that interrupts a viewer’s entertainment. “We are going to see a lot more IP being converted into short form games – just look at Netflix’s gameplay, and Disney is also entering the space.”

Moore says Live Tech Games is actively working with other global broadcasters to design new gaming formats that can be monetized through sponsorship.