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Gaming the System: Getting Inside a Billion-Dollar Industry

Gaming has emerged from the dark basement of pop culture to become a billion-dollar industry. Here’s how to speak its language.

Gamers comprise a global demographic of more than 2 billion people, and their market for them is only growing. According to Newzoo, the gaming industry is projected to generate more than $150 billion in 2019, far outpacing the music and movie industries combined.

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Naturally, courting this group would be appealing to any brand, but it’s not as simple as licensing a popular title and watching the money roll in. While a “gamer” can be almost anyone, the nature of their pastime typically makes them smart, savvy and informed shoppers.

Arc recently took a crash-course in this world when working with Intel to create an interactive demo experience for gaming PCs at the point of purchase. This meant talking to gamers just as they were about to make one of their most crucial decisions after months of intense research.

So, what does this teach us about how to talk to gamers?
As with any group, the key is authenticity and not coming across like an outsider. Understanding what communicates authenticity to a gamer was a primary focus for Arc’s Intel team. Here are three major takeaways when it comes to engaging with this powerful consumer base.

Tech. There’s no way around it. The machines that run these games are a big part of the culture and truly understanding them is essential. Even if a brand is not necessarily tech-focused, the technical foundation that most gaming requires—and the pride that comes along with mastering it—is key to speaking to this group.

Culture. While gaming is an obvious fit for technology brands, even non-category products can make in-roads. Mountain Dew is a great example of a brand that’s made gaming an integral part of their identity and has been accepted by the community as a result. After years of being the community’s soft drink of choice, they have recently released a line of drinks specifically for gamers.

Look and feel. Gaming has evolved to have a distinct style that defines the category. Common aesthetics include darker tones punctuated with bright colors and bold graphics. But beyond the basic look, any visual touchstone like the design of game menus or the in-game displays can instantly build a connection to the gaming community.

The enthusiastic response the Intel experience has received from gamers across the world shows that while their subculture does require some subject matter expertise, they are also extremely responsive to brands willing to make that effort.

October 10, 2019