The gaming industry is growing and changing faster than ever in 2022, with major shifts and big developments in the first quarter of the year. In the second part of this two-part series, we’re sharing current industry trends, along with some gaming PR tips to help you navigate this dynamic landscape.
While some trends will demand new approaches, not all of the changes in the gaming industry will call for strategies to reinvent the wheel. As such, some of this advice will simply be reminders of already existing options, others will be new tips to break through the noise.
Trend #1: A growing industry with a diverse audience
The future is about diversity, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has become paramount in the gaming industry. Gaming is a multibillion-dollar industry (projected $314B by 2026), the largest it’s ever been = the most diverse the audience has ever been.
- Your brand goes beyond just games and products. Consumers evaluate a company’s position as an industry leader before engaging or purchasing products and services. It is critical that a video game brand looks beyond product PR.
- Highlight your DEI work. If carried out correctly, strategically promoting DEI efforts could allow a gaming company to foster and promote positive press, branding, and recruiting.
- Take note of the tough climate around DEI. Any storytelling around DE&I must be carefully curated to ensure that there is no risk for it to prompt criticism.
Trend #2: Increase in industry mergers and acquisitions
This year has already seen an enormous amount of funding and M&A. These transactions allow big gaming companies to reach more gamers while diversifying their portfolios, making them less susceptible to risk from a single title. Industry analysts predicted that more M&A are yet to come.
- Understand the opportunity for indie studios. While the core gaming market may be consolidating, consumers will still be looking for the kinds of unique gameplay experiences that indie studios can build. Indie studios should make sure to stand out from the pack in order to reach gamers looking for your unique content. Indie studios aiming to get noticed by the mega-corporations also need to break through the noise generated by other similar studios hoping to do the same.
- Employ a different approach for mega studios. For mega studios, being able to execute precise cross-promotion across a growing portfolio of games and audiences is becoming more important than ever. This demands experience and an understanding of how to identify and tell a cohesive brand story, inside and out.
Trend #3: More engagement of non-gaming consumer industries
Non-endemic brands, such as brands in the cosmetic and fashion industries, see gaming and esports as a huge opportunity to reach their target audiences. Gaming allows access to a large captive audience of Gen Z and millennials with disposable incomes at a time when it has become more and more difficult to reach them through traditional media channels. Utilizing gaming also offers another major opportunity to build a long-term relationship.
- Create an authentic tie to gaming. The pandemic created a unique opportunity for millions of people to explore gaming as a new form of entertainment, and for brands to engage with customers in different ways. But the approach needs to be intentional. A brand’s presence needs to fit well within the game/esports environment simply slapping an ad into a game will not be effective, and could even potentially generate a negative association.
- Take time to find your place. The engagement also needs to be long-term, a “hit and run” style will not work. Gamers will recognize when a brand is only trying to capitalize on the audience without a sincere and concerted effort to contribute to the community. Brands must remember that gaming is a fan experience, it is a fan-verse, and so the question marketers have to ask themselves is how to provide something engaging, relevant, and innovative.
It has been an exciting year for the industry, and should be equally exciting for gaming PR strategists who work with AAA games, independent studios, and startups. As ever, new trends allow for new approaches to reach the growing audience in the gaming industry.