It’s no secret that in an industry as expansive and profitable as gaming, the question for brands will always be – how can you monetise gaming? Has all the potential been used up in this multi-million dollar industry? Or are there ways to do more, especially for new players entering the market?
We invited Adam Fitch – an awarded esports journalist – to talk with Katarzyna Dabrowska on inSTREAMLY’s “It’s Simple, You Know?” podcast. They discussed the most pressing issues related to this topic and came to a simple conclusion. It’s all about building community.
Investing in the gaming community is where it’s at if you want to profit from gaming. But, of course, there’s no “gaming” without “gamers” – it’s simple, you know? (We like puns, and dad jokes, so sue us). Showing gamers that you are involved in their community, if they see the effort, you put in to truly understand how unique this category of consumers is. And they will give back what you put in.
Tapping into the potential of the community can be approached in two ways – direct and indirect. A medium-effort investment return means sponsoring or partnering with professional esports teams, streamers or other content creators. Which will create a positive vibe amongst their fans about your brand.
Another approach is creating offline spaces where gamers can meet in real life, grab a bite to eat and a drink (if the licensing allows). And most importantly connect, supported by online communication platforms favoured by gamers such as Discord. Discord is usually where these communities tend to make their first connections. Then meet offline, making this type of venue unbelievably essential.
Gone are the days of LAN parties and internet cafes (yet the nostalgic feelings remain), where we would bring our PCs to a friend’s house and play Diablo II or Unreal Tournament (for hours on end) or meet in an internet cafe to hang out with friends to play Counterstrike. LVL in Berlin, The Fortress in Melbourne, or The Kinguin Esports Lounge in Gdansk have replaced the LAN parties and internet cafes of days gone by, which clarifies that this is a worldwide phenomenon with no indication of slowing down.
Competitive esports being a thing is no longer a surprise to many people. However, not many people are talking about the potential of creating and maintaining small, local, casual events and gaming centres to enable brands to maintain a relationship with the large majority of non-professional gamers, who are the core audience who make it happen.
There would be no Ninjas, Faze Clans, or any other huge names without that audience. Community makes the industry what it is, and it would be unwise to ignore them. And, let’s be honest – places and platforms like these are an incredible tool for brand advertising and monetisation. There is no better promotion than a friend’s recommendation of a product or a service.
It’s about time that we started treating gaming as a real sport. If chess can be, why can’t this? Public football pitches bring people together, which has been fundamental to building and sustaining local and dedicated communities. Logically, creating gaming centres is the next step. This means real-life venues where people can meet, hang out and engage in their passions somewhere outside of their homes will make them even more inclined to support the places and businesses that brought them together.
What’s in for the brands is clear. Centres like these are incredible advertising platforms. Banners and other advertising natively built into it will be natural for the patrons, knowing that this is what funded the entire undertaking. In addition, there is potential for larger events, such as gaming tournaments, which will have the press talking by attracting popular streamers and content creators to the mix.
By growing small, local communities devoted to their interests, we can contribute to gaming development.
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