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Advertisers, gamers aren't who you think they are

By David Sable, Senior marketing executive and advisor



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August 13, 2020 | 4 min read

Today’s game universe is what I consider to be the newest, true channel of storytelling. Gaming is fully interactive in-game both as a player or as a viewer of the game; has viral discussion power like all great stories; fuels imagination; is actually deeply personalized like no other; sells off-line merchandise (what could be a better measure?); and is ripe for marketing partnerships, advertising, and promotion.

Anzu urge marketers to see the potential in the gaming industry. Sandy Huffaker/Invision for Ubisoft/AP Images.

Anzu urge marketers to see the potential in the gaming industry. Sandy Huffaker/Invision for Ubisoft/AP Images.

To be clear, I am not talking about ’gamification,’ a buzzword of a few years back when big money was made by a small few on the diggibable notion that everything we did would be a digital game (that could be monetized…of course).

I’m talking about video gaming.

According to New Zoo, there are 2.7 billion gamers in the world playing across three platforms and generating close to $160 billion in revenue. These platforms are:

  • Consoles like Xbox or Playstation that have 729 million players, $45billion in revenue, 28% market share, and are growing about 7% a year.
  • PC Gaming has an audience of 1.3 billion players, $36.9 billion in revenue, 23% market share, and is still growing nearly 5% a year.
  • Mobile Gaming with the most players at 2.6 billion (people play across platforms), the lowest barrier to entry, and less than 40% pay for their games, still drives $77 billion with a 48% market share, growing at a rate of 13% a year.

That’s a lot of people and a lot of money which can be seen by the numbers above – most are playing across platforms. But who are these gamers? If you haven’t been following its development and growth or are not a gamer (even casual) yourself, no doubt you have a view… and I’m ready to bet that most of us have a view informed by watching our kids or grandkids (both in my case) or by not knowing anyone who plays. And either view can skew your understanding the wrong way.

Believe it or not, the average age of a gamer is 35 years old. More to the point, 75% of gamers are over the age of 18. And yes, gaming is inclusive. At least in terms of playing, 46% of gamers are female.

Older, more diverse than most imagine, gamers also game more hours than they do just anything else, with an average weekly playing commitment of over six hours (if you have ever gotten lost in a game… like I have… you know you can do that in one crazy sitting) vs about eight hours for streaming video content, with the 18 to 30 crowd preferring gaming to everything, including sports.

Truthfully, though, when I added up all the weekly viewing stats: streaming, broadcast, web, mobile, whatever… it seems no one eats. I’d be concerned about the future of the human race. This fear has been confirmed by many gamers saying that they have missed important events and daily activities as they were engrossed in playing. One last little fun fact, 38% would go pro if they could make a living at it... add me!

Bottom line: if you haven’t added gaming to your marketing mix, you’re missing out on audience, engagement, and a huge opportunity to expand your brand and sell your product.

Stay tuned for more articles from David, spanning advertising, gaming, and culture in the next article in this series on behalf of Anzu.

David Sable, senior marketing executive and advisor at Anzu.

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