A friend posted on Facebook the other day saying he bought Destiny 2 but suddenly realised that he hated first-person shooters. Whether this was a cry for attention or simply the truth, I think the marketing team behind Destiny 2 did its job. Let’s be honest, you have to be really good at selling video games if you want a job in the video game industry.
Video games are more accessible than ever, and will continue to grow in popularity, especially with the phenomenon growth of eSports. Video games are often an emotional purchase for people, unlike buying consumer goods such as toilet paper. This means that gamers are often excited to hear announcements from video game companies. Marketers in the video game business needs to create genuine, authentic and engaging content that will appeal to them and make them want to buy the game. Game designers, sound designers, writers, programmers, graphic designers and marketing; these are all areas of the video game business that die-hard players or casual players can excel in. However, I must warn you that does not mean those jobs are abundant, or easy to get. On the contrary, it can be a notoriously difficult business to break into and you have to be extremely determined to do so. A career in video game marketing can be an amazing career, especially if you love games and you love being involved in the gaming community.
Now electronic sports, more commonly known as eSports, present huge global opportunities for savvy marketers to get into this field. eSports is competitive video gaming broadcast to a live audience. These include popular games such as Overwatch, League of Legends (or LoL for short), Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Tom Clancy’s RainbowSix Siege to name a few. While live events and tournaments have long been a part of videogame culture, broadband livestreaming has radically widened the audience. The size of the audience is staggering.
In PwC’s latest Entertainment & Media Outlook for 2017-2021, they reported the total eSports will likely grow exponentially to US$874mn by 2021 from just US$42mn in 2012 which indicates how massive it will become. Traditional sporting viewership is reportedly on the decline and viewership for eSports is steadily on the rise. Twitch.tv, the leading eSports streaming site, accounts for more peak internet traffic than any other sites except for Google and Netflix. Also, it is hard to talk about eSports without mentioning the massive community that surrounds eSports. The community are not there to watch professional gamers go head to head, but also gather to learn and debate the latest strategies, players and tournaments. The power of live video, combined with a dedicated eSports fan base, spells huge opportunities for marketers and brands to connect with this growing audience.
While eSports might still be in its infancy, it represents a golden opportunity for brands and marketers to reach their target demographic. For many years, brands have had great success in reaching a sizable audience through traditional sport, and it will be no different with eSports. Not surprisingly, there are brands who have capitalised on this. For example, Coca-Cola has been a major sponsor of LoL for the past several years, and has organically built their reputation in eSports. @CokeeSports is the brand’s second biggest Twitter account (after @cocacola) and they have a collaboration with IGN, a gaming site. Red Bull has extended its approach to marketing through its extreme culture sponsorship, creating an entire digital hub for content around the industry and sponsoring teams and events. Their content is actually worth checking out. Another example, Logitech has been sponsoring professional eSports teams by providing their own technology.
eSports are the next big thing for marketers. There are opportunities there for those who understand their games, the culture, are passionate and willing to get involved.
My word of advice? Start small, whether this is doing volunteer work for a small indie company, running a gaming news Facebook page or helping out with marketing for a university gaming student club, every little involvement will help. For example, at my university there is an eSports student club called QUT eSports that I do photography and social media for and this has given me tremendous experiences and connections that will help me secure a job in the video game industry.
By Bradley Jardine