Booming gaming sector is becoming seriously attractive for marketers

June 11, 2018 8:00 am

Change is inevitable, and nowhere is that more so than in online and video games, where transformation is happening in the blink of an eye, thanks to the velocity inherent in digital media.

While the business of gaming continues to evolve, mobile gaming is playing a large role in broadening traditional perspectives.


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However, as increasing numbers of people are turning to various forms of digital games for entertainment, the crucial question is: does gaming really present opportunities for marketers and advertisers alike?

Going by the sheer numbers the answer looks affirmative. As increasing number of consumers are spending more of their time to gaming than ever before, the world of gaming looks to present many opportunities for marketers to reach their consumers.

However, the crucial question is: is gaming a lucrative opportunity for marketers?

WOM to engagement

While many consider “gamers” to be a niche group of PC and console players, the rise of mobile gaming has expanded the definition to a much wider group.


“Not only have mobile gaming apps expanded the gaming landscape, but the growing popularity of eSports and the introduction of virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) devices to the category are making gamers even more of an interesting and attractive market,” says a study by Nielsen.

In addition, VR/AR devices recently entered the mainstream gaming scene, which could broaden the scope of the gaming realm even further.

So how do marketers reach these gamers?

“Generating “buzz”—word of mouth—is how gamers typically become aware of both console/PC and mobile titles. While TV commercials are more effective for console/PC games, mobile games have the ability to utilize the app store (through rankings and features) to best reach these gamers,” notes an analysis by Nielsen.

But are marketers ready for AR/VR gaming?


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Statistics reveal that only 11% of console gamers own a VR Headset.

However, even though VR devices are a minority interest in the gaming market, a research by Global Web Index says there are two ways users can get engaged with VR technology, either through dedicated devices or through mobile apps, which integrate with cheaper headsets like the Google Cardboard.

Will the growing number be its undoing?

The fact that mobile games have relatively low barriers to entry, and can be created in mere hours has added to their rapid popularity, coupled with the rising number of mobile phone users.

However, on the flipside, the immense number of mobile game titles has also rendered many new titles invisible without substantial marketing spending.

“The largest mobile games publishers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing annually, with a large amount of this spent on broadcast TV,” finds a study by Deloitte, ‘Mobile games: leading, but less lucrative’.

“If mobile games publishers cannot afford a TV campaign, they could use outcome‐based advertising, such as app ‐ install ads,” the findings add.

They would only need to pay for actual downloads of a game or could even choose to pay for apps that are both downloaded and opened several times. However this can be expensive, the Deloitte study further adds.

“A mobile games publisher might pay several dollars per download with no resulting revenue, even if the user benefits from hundreds of hours of free usage,” the study reveals.


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This becomes all the more important in the case of the Middle East, where almost 90% of the smartphone owners in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt are playing mobile games.

Another challenge for marketers that the mobile games sector presents to marketers is creating compelling content and making people aware of it.

Not to speak of ad-blocking, that is posing another challenge before marketers today.

“9 in 10 e-sports fans are either blocking ads, using private browsing windows or deleting cookies,” reveals a study by Global Web Index.

Esports is an umbrella term referring to competitive video game tournaments.


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So while many marketers are excited about the future of gaming market, there’s no denying that the growing market for gaming has many core challenges.

Although gaming presents a huge opportunity for advertisers, marketers must align with gamers’ interests to engage them.


Sunil Kumar Singh
By Sunil Kumar Singh
Sunil is a digital-savvy journalist and a leader in managing and integrating print & digital content in UAE, the Gulf and India. Sunil is an innovative editor with over 14 years' experience in digital content marketing, leading team and ability to deliver quality content for both print and new media.