We don’t even have to look at the numbers… We know the gaming the industry is one of the fastest growing industries on planet earth. What used to be a “hobby” or “small after school activity”, has now turned into one of the most dominant markets and business opportunities right before our very eyes… Buy why? And with the gaming industry becoming more and more competitive, how can a gaming development or gaming production company stand out from the crowd and capture more market share?
The US gaming market is currently worth $106.8 billion (Source)
There will be 3 billion active gamers by the end of 2023 (Source)
China and the US dominate international gaming markets (Source)
79% of gamers in the US are adults (Entertainment Software Association)
3 in 5 gamers are male (Entertainment Software Association)
Mobile gaming is responsible for over half of total gaming revenue (newzoo)
PUBG Mobile was the highest-grossing mobile game in 2021 (AppMagic)
Worldwide home console revenue reached $49.2 billion in 2021 (newzoo)
Gamers spend more money on in-game downloads and streamer support than on full games (SuperData Research)
Let’s dive in… And we’ll keep this short and concise… Like you’ve always wanted…
1. A game development company brand is more than the games they produce…
This statement is true: The games that the game production or development company launches lead the way in the in the brand, sales, and marketing adoption… However, a company that neglects the importance of the brand loyalty to the company that PRODUCED the games is in big trouble. Take for example, PIXAR… We can recognize, follow and pay for a PIXAR move, simply because it comes from a production studio such as PIXAR… That is sufficient for many, if not most, consumers…
This is an important idea that many gaming companies ignore… Blizzard, Activsion, and others take this point seriously. The brand and vision from which their games are created and launched is an important growth component to the success of the company.
- It’s all about the user…
- Innovate or die…
- The games lead the way in branding, but the “corporate brand” is the foundation…
- Creating a culture of technology-first, innovation and creativity is imperative… (it’s about the people)
2. Your brand hierarchy and architecture matters
Like we mentioned above, how your corporate brand and the individual “brands” of the games you produce, matters. What does this mean? Take for example, the difference between GM and Ford. GM owns many different, smaller automobile brands. GM prefers to allow those sub brands to take the spotlight and lead in the brand image and voice. Whereas Ford IS the brand, people buy a track from Ford because it is a Ford.
We can see another example of this in the movie industry. PIXAR is a brand that is known for it’s style of movies, family friendly, animated with an emotional and catch storyline. On the contrary you may have a Warner Bros. They produce a wide variety of movies, styles, themes, from horror, to comedy to blockbuster.
Long story short, brand hierarchy matters… When you think Blizzard or Activision… What games come to mind? What about the style, voice, theme, user base, loyal fanbase and more?
3. If you lose focus on the game developers… Your brand will suffer
You don’t have to look far to find many promotions, events, advertising campaigns geared toward “gamers” that came across as… there’s no other way of putting it… cringe.
In my opinion, these are perfect examples of “men in suits”, in a C-suite office conference room, looking at the “data” and making marketing, branding and advertising decision from there. This will fail, hard.
How can a gaming brand avoid this pitiful? Simple, focus on the people that MAKE the games. Game designers, storytellers, developers, map creators, coders, hardcore competitive players, etc.
They people that MAKE the games are your best sample for people who will LOVE your games. I see this as being similar to “user generated content” or a brand that revolves around the absolute passion of the people that work in it. Focus on the game developers, let their story shine, and the fans will follow…
4. Yes, still let the games “do the talking”
At the end of the day, it’s the games that will propel your brand and company forward. So, let them shine… Let each game have it’s brand, voice, message, aesthetic and fanbase… Your corporate brand should be a strong foundation on which these game brands can launch. Your corporate brand should focus on the world-class design and development talent that differentiates your company from the rest…
Your corporate brand is the gaming studio where the BEST OF THE BEST work, it’s for the technicians, nerds, diehards, disruptors, creatives, and thought leaders… World-class games are the byproduct of this brand foundation.
I’m excited to see where the gaming industry heads to next. The technology will change, it is changing, but the art of effective storytelling, branding, and entertainment remains fairly constant… Let’s not forget these principles.