Gaming has changed. It is no longer just about playing videogames with friends. With the growth of live gaming platforms like Twitch (which draws over 100 million viewers each month), and the popularity of gaming YouTubers like PewDiePie, gaming is increasingly becoming a spectator sport. But how can brands interact with this shift?
Gaming fans no longer want to simply play the games. We’ve seen gaming as a spectator sport embraced in the real world, with gaming bars like Loading, which borrow from the world of sports bars to put gaming (and watching gaming) at the centre of a social experience. In the digital world, gaming platform Twitch allows gamers to watch live streamed gaming to pick up tips to improve their technique, whilst also engaging with the high level players at a social level through video chat. This opens up the world of gaming as a spectator sport, bringing it more into a similar space to football or rugby – at the centre of a social community rather than a silent or solitary activity. Smaller brands are starting to pick up on the popularity of spectator gaming with adverts interspersed with the gaming videos, but it feels like there is a gap for a big brand to really own the gaming space.
We think that the world of spectator gaming is a massive opportunity for brands. It feels like there is role for a brand to seize as the champion of spectator gaming – celebrating the fact that gaming has ventured out of the bedrooms of teenagers and into the wider world.