Question: Can you name the industry that has been in existence for barely 40 years, yet accounted for almost $25 billion in 2011 consumer sales alone? If you guessed video games, thanks for reading the title.
The fact is that in an incredibly short time the video game industry has grown from the curious fascination of ‘Pong’ in 1972 into one of the true behemoths of consumer entertainment today. With the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) set to kick off next week—hot on the heels of new console announcements from Sony and Microsoft—we are yet again on the precipice of another milestone in video game history and will look to see how brands can ingrain themselves into such a massive consumer space today and in the future.
Over the past few months Sony has announced the PS4 and Microsoft introduced the Xbox One, the eighth generation of consoles and the first new group of consoles in about eight years (Nintendo’s Wii U, the successor to the Wii, was released in late 2012). The overall technology is impressive as both companies are bringing a plethora of new possibilities to the table. Particularly worth noting is the PlayStation App, which plans to utilize the “second screen” experience in game, in real time and Microsoft’s multiple advancements with Kinect, such as heart rate tracking and advanced voice control. We can also expect both companies to push even harder on becoming the entertainment hub of the household, providing apps, movies and internet access that will look to rival not just each other but products like Apple TV, Roku and Google TV.
So what do these developments mean for brands? Game advertising has been going on for years—the NBA 2K series is flush with in-game sneakers from the likes of Jordan and Adidas, racing games such as Burnout show ads on billboards and even President Obama has gotten in on the act, buying virtual ad space from Electronic Arts during the last two election cycles. And we haven’t even mentioned how brands have quickly taken advantage of the explosion in the mobile/casual games market, including Taylor clients like Friskies and Captain Morgan. But the gaming industry, like all technology, moves fast, and it’s up to our industry and our brand partners to capitalize and deliver a positive consumer experience.
New gaming technology is always striving to be more immersive with advancements like better graphics and motion control. The idea is to make the player feel a part of the experience as much as possible, and from a brand’s perspective it becomes an incredibly enticing and valuable way to reach the consumer. With a massive segment of the population now ‘gamers’ (according to the ESA, the average gamer is 30 years old and 47% of all gamers are women) all eyes will be on E3 come June 11 to learn more about the next big step in gaming and how brands can utilize these platforms to reach their consumers now and in the immediate future.