Gaming influencers

The growth seen in the gaming industry in the last few months can be directed to several streams- the pandemic, mergers and acquisitions between industries, and even new technology. However, another source that is often looked past consists of gaming influencers, better known as streamers. Video game streaming has significantly grown on social media like YouTube and Facebook, however, it has also led to an increased use of livestream platforms dedicated to gaming, such as Twitch and Caffeine.tv. These gaming influencers have their accounts over social media, as well as these gaming-specific websites and applications.

These gaming livestreams include gamers talking about their lifestyles, advertise game creators, and review games as part of promoting them. Game livestreaming is a niche market that yields to millions of subscribers and audience members. Gaming website Twitch was acquired by Amazon who recognized the potential growth in this industry. By August 2014, Twitch had up to 55 million monthly active users. Due to celebrity collaborations and broadcasts, these numbers have skyrocketed through the years. In 2020, Twitch has 3.8 million users, an estimated revenue of $1.54 billion, and an 18% growth in the number of streamers.

Over half of their users are between 18-34 years old, allowing them to target Gen Z and Millenials through streaming, with 73% under the age of 35. Furthermore, there is a global viewership with a majority of the viewers in the USA, Germany, South Korea, and Russia. Streamers are encouraged to create more content as they get paid for the hours of content they create, subscriptions to their channels, and ads played on their channels.

The top gaming influencers for this year are Cupquake, Ninja, and Syndicate to name a few. However, micro-influencers with fewer followers have also been getting fame recently. Micro-influencers seen on Instagram include Ryan Raposo and “alexexraa”, both of whom specialize in FIFA. They are also featured on several gaming pages and stream their games with other players on Twitch. This has led to them partnering with professional football teams such as the Vancouver WhiteCaps FC. Both have less than 5000 followers, allowing them to post for a niche audience. 

However, there is also a potential for growth through micro-influencers, which includes influencers that have a niche segment of viewers, and can be narrowed down to what genre of games they focus on. The use of micro-influencers can be strategic for businesses that are looking for influencers with the same viewers as the consumer base. Micro-influencers have a more loyal and engaged reach, which makes them equal competitors to other, more famous influencers.    

These gaming influencers play all genres of games ranging from e-sports, to PC, and even consoles, such as the PlayStation consoles. This guarantees gamers and viewers to find streamers that best match their interests. So for viewers, who are assumed to have played the same role as the streamer in the game, there is a sense of familiarity and ease with them. Many streamers charge a monthly fee to their viewers and subscribers. 

Overall, the industry has grown significantly through the number of streamers, their subscribers, and viewership. Through influencers such as streamers, any consumer goods-oriented business can rake up a number of users by effectively finding and matching with the right influencer (i.e. micro and macro). This allows them to identify and target a niche audience from the start, guaranteeing a reach to a highly engaged younger audience that prefers to spend less time on other activities.

Sources:

Christopher Honour, Blizzard Entertainment Community Manager’s spotlight

For our first Spotlight, let me introduce you to Christopher Honour, Community Manager of Blizzard Entertainment’s Latin American Team. During our interview, Honour gave insight into the life of a Community Manager at a highly successful gaming company, going into depth about what led him to this role, his responsibilities, and even his insights for the future of Community Management.

Growing up in Chile, he was an avid fan of videogames and classic 80s movies. Before he even knew what he wanted to do with his life, he was sure that it at least had to be related to videogames. After graduating with a Masters in International Marketing, he attended Festigame, the biggest Chilean video games convention, which was just getting started at the time. There, he met the guys of IguanaBee, who ended up hiring him for his first Community Manager job. Eventually, after many rounds of interviews, he landed a position at Blizzard Entertainment and moved to the U.S. In the words of Honour himself, this role, “allowed me to combine my love of videogames and my career interests in Marketing.” Luckily, he had focused on social media during his studies, which did not seem necessary at the time, but has proven extremely helpful during his career and allowed him to pursue his passions.

As a Community Manager at Blizzard Entertainment, Honour’s key objective is to make sure their players stay engaged in between releases of new content. If there is nothing new with the game, it is his responsibility to come up with a new and exciting project for the community, including tournaments, fanart contests, etc. One of the most important tasks to ensure success as a Community Manager is understanding gamer sentiment. This is true even “more so today than it’s ever been before,” according to Honour. The internet has opened a portal, allowing gamers to voice their opinions directly to each other as well as the game developers. It is crucial that companies are mindful of these communications and act upon the feedback correctly. In order to paint a full picture, one must gather data from all social channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. However, the feedback is never simple and easy to interpret. The conversations tend to be very split, meaning that in understanding the sentiment, “you may end up taking a whole lot more time than you normally would, and counter intuitively, it’s when it matters most that you need to assess this the quickest,” as said by Honour. Community Managers have to accept the limitations of being human and know that it is impossible for them to accurately measure something as complex and subjective as gamer sentiment. It is their responsibility to only make the best approximation of the truth at that given time, and act upon it accordingly.

In the near future, Honour expects technology to get better at gathering and sorting through the necessary information to effectively manage a community. One of his main challenges as a Community Manager is having too many things to do and not nearly enough time. With the help of developing technology, his time could be freed up dramatically, and his gamer sentiment analysis more timely and accurate. However, Honour is not worried about being replaced by AI. Although technology could definitely empower and assist Community Managers, the position still requires the “soft skills” of a human. 

Gameplay surges and deal-making flows

In the last several months, the gaming industry had flourished through unseen mergers and acquisitions, allowing some of the small and upcoming businesses to partner with larger, more successful corporations. This has been not only due to the increased user activity due to the pandemic, but rather also the scope of expanding to other uncharted platforms and industries through gaming. 

One of the biggest acquisitions was by Microsoft for ZeniMax Media which owns smaller game developer businesses. Microsoft has recently reached an agreement with ZeniMax Media to take over for $7.5 billion. This deal will affect the Bethesda games for non-Xbox consoles, as Microsoft stated that it will be determined on a “case-to-case basis”. An acquisition in the VR side of gaming has been seen as Koch Media is acquiring Vertigo Games, a business that creates VR games for PC, for €50 million. 

Secondly, there has been an update with the up and coming metaverse that allows users to converge in the worlds of virtual physical reality and physical virtual space. Epic Games led a $15 million funding initiative for Manticore Games, to create a gaming “metaverse” together. This merger will allow gamers to access one of the first metaverses created. 

Another subsection of the gaming industry faced a major development over the last few weeks by going public. Roblox, a user-generated gaming platform is reportedly going public next year at a predicted valuation of $8 billion. This is no surprise, as the gaming industry is one of the few industries that is expected to grow exponentially even through the pandemic. Similarly, Unity, a game engine developer, raised $1.3 billion on a $13.6 million evaluation, after its decision to go public in September. Skillz, a platform that enables developers to transform any app into a social network of games, just announced their decision to offer an initial public offering of $849 million to go public. This would allow Skillz to expand the business by selling shares to larger corporations like Wellington and Fidelity. 

A game-changing acquirement took place in the last few months that will further contribute to the high competition in this industry. Zynga Inc has agreed to acquire Peak, a mobile-game developer, for $1.8 billion. This will allow Zynga to have ownership of games such as Toon Blast and Toy Blast. This acquisition is expected to bring Zynga more than 60% new users, through an international audience. Furthermore, across acquisition is in the works between Sumo Group plc, an independent video game developer, and Pipeworks, a console and online game developer. 

A combination of new ventures, expansion through mergers and acquisitions, as well as public offerings, have brought a spotlight to the gaming industry and potential investors due to the scope of growth. This has increased the general willingness to invest in the gaming industry and proves why it is a market with a long, profitable future.  


Sources:
https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/21/21448877/microsoft-bethesda-softworks-zenimax-acquisition-xbox-game-pass-series-x
https://venturebeat.com/2020/09/22/epic-games-invests-15-million-in-diy-game-startup-manticore-games/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-01/zynga-to-buy-peak-for-1-8-billion-in-its-largest-deal-ever
https://www.crunchbase.com/acquisition/koch-media-acquires-vertigo-games-2a33–060c88e4
https://venturebeat.com/2020/10/01/robloxs-user-generated-game-platform-could-go-public-at-8-billion-valuation/
https://www.crunchbase.com/acquisition/sumo-group-plc-acquires-pipeworks–e4a8b9ce

Brands’ new playground: e-sports and gaming

If money makes the world go ‘round, brands are the energy supply to make it spin. The brands we recognize and choose to stick with are constantly influencing our decisions, whether we realize it or not. Every aspect of what we do on a daily basis is covered in brands, from the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the entertainment we consume. The gaming industry is a sect of entertainment that seems to be growing larger by the day, and because of this, many companies are trying their hand at injecting their brands into what we’re playing. Given gaming’s more unique hands-on and immersive touch on how we play, companies are coming up with creative and innovative ways to subject us to their various brands. Through the gaming community, they have the ability to interact with fans of their brands like never before.

A great example of popular brands getting injected into gaming is the recent collaboration between makeup giant MAC and EA’s The Sims 4. The Sims game series, for those of you who came out of your rock to read this article, is a life simulator where you can do almost anything — start a family, buy a mansion, work your dream job, and burn that mansion to the ground. The player has the option to custom craft a “Sim” to their liking. They choose what they look like, their personality, and even their goals. For the first time ever, players have the option to choose makeup designed by MAC’s Director of Makeup Artistry, Romero Jennings, to enhance their Sim’s looks. The iconic styles featured in-game can also be bought in-store or on MAC’s website so you and your Sim can match — if that’s something you’re into.

Diverging from makeup to full-blown worlds, The Sims 4’s most recent collaboration was with a little indie film called Star Wars. An expansion to the base game, which came out in early September, lets you travel to the world of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The expansion, titled Journey to Batuu, allows you to virtually travel to Disney Parks’ Star Wars themed area. The best part about this expansion is that not only can you go there, but you can take part in the actual activities that exist within the real-life land. Your sim can construct a lightsaber, build a droid, drink at Oga’s Cantina, and much more. Now, there’s no sweat if you can’t physically go there (thanks COVID), you can go there virtually!

These brand collaborations are not only affecting the games themselves but the community that plays them. A favorite among streamers, Ninja, who has hopped from more streaming services than frogs do lily pads, has finally returned to his

 original home of Twitch. In celebration of that, he joined up with Adidas for a brand-new signature sneaker collection called “Chasing the Spark.” Yes, these sneakers are just as colorful as Ninja’s hair.

A huge part of the gaming community is, of course, esports. For those of you coming to us from your rock, esports is, put simply, the highly competitive gaming world. Here, many sponsored teams have a chance at competing on both national and international levels for fame and fortune usually in a tournament-style way. One game well-known to the esports world is Riot Games’ League of Legends. Back in June, it was announced that one of the major League of Legends teams, Fnatic, is teaming up with Gucci to release their own luxury watch.

These are just a few examples of how brands are recently taking their hold on the gaming industry. It seems like every day we hear of a new collaboration between the two industries. The future of this collaboration is bright on that can, and most likely will, lead to many more interesting and creative ways to merge gaming and branding.

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References:

https://www.maccosmetics.com/mac-sims https://www.ea.com/games/the-sims/the-sims-4/news/mac-x-the-sims https://hypebeast.com/2020/10/ninja-adidas-nite-jogger-zx-torsion-collaboration- chase-the-spark

https://esportsinsider.com/2020/06/gucci-fnatic-watch/ https://www.ea.com/games/the-sims/the-sims-4/packs/game-packs/the-sims-4- star-wars-journey-to-batuu

Collaborations Between the Entertainment Sectors and the Gaming Industry

Due to COVID-19, some of the biggest events in 2020 have been cancelled, including countless sports and music events. However, this has given rise to the era of live music concerts on video games, allowing performers to collate and partner with game developers and publishers. Such opportunities allow gaming businesses to earn profit, through in-game purchases as well as the purchase of subscriptions to the game, and music artists to gain publicity for upcoming projects. 

A record-breaking example of a live music concert was hosted by rapper Travis Scott, on the popular gaming platform of Fortnite. This concert garnered more than 27 million users through Fortnite as well as different streaming platforms. Unsurprisingly, when Scott’s single was released after the concert, it stood at number 1 on all popular music streaming platforms. After looking at this huge success, several artists followed suit including electronic music DJ Marshmallow and K-Pop band BTS. 

This unusual collaboration between the music and gaming industries has allowed artists and performers to attract an audience that is different as compared to those who would normally attend their usual events. Furthermore, this new partnership between these two industries has allowed games like Fortnight to add a non-violent edge to their games, by introducing concert stages and theatre spaces. These virtual arenas let players meet others, listen to music, and watch whatever is playing, without trying to attack them. 

However, one can question whether this success will continue into the post-pandemic future. And the answer is yes. Video game concerts enable people of all demographics to attend events right from their homes, no matter where in the world it is located. Furthermore, it is no doubt that many cannot afford unreasonably expensive concert tickets. As for performers, Minecraft has given opportunities to small-scale performers to host concerts, providing them with collaboration opportunities and a chance to promote their music to international users. 

Another potential industry that can be added to this partnership is that of e-sports. Several event managers for e-sports are planning to invite famous artists to perform at half-time shows. The collision of these industries is beneficial not only to game developers, artists, and e-sports players but rather also users. When analyzing trends, it was found that Toronto Raptors basketball fans were more likely to be fans of Call of Duty. Similar data mining strategies could be used to find the genre of music these fans like to listen to. With the use of data mining, analyzing players’ moves and strategies, and hosting collaborative events on games, there is a long future ahead for the gaming industry.      

Sources:
How has the Corona crisis affected the gaming sector in 2020?
The Mobile Gaming Industry Mints Billions More Than the Entertainment Industry
Are Fortnite Concerts The Future Of Live Music?
During the pandemic, video games are the new concert venues

The Diversity of Problems in the Gaming Industry

Gaming is supposed to be entertaining and fun, a way to relax, an excellent means to meet new folks, even a wonderful channel for your aggression, right? So why the heck do we need to deal with so much hate to play a game?

Throughout the way, each gamer runs into some issue, which makes gaming seem more of a stressor than a de-stressor.

Common Problems in the Video Gaming Industry

You will find basic interlocking concerns here.

  • Racism and Discrimination

Racism in the gaming industry has become a difficult concern for people of color who are seeking to have fun and relax playing their favorite online games. In most situations, people of color are either pushed out of these communities. Sometimes, they are rejected to go close to them for fear of being exposed to a near-permanent trauma.

People of color experience harsh forms of discrimination within such communities, from being called a series of racial slurs to being challenged for their capabilities within the industry.

  • Harassment and Sexism

There is also a concern with institutional abuse and discrimination. Recently, more than seventy individuals in the gaming sector, including women, have stepped forward with accusations of gender-based harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault.

In the past years, women gamers who have already raised their voice over the sector using their true names have been endangered to more doxing, hacking, and harassment. How can we stop this problem?

Male gamers are not the only ones worsening the issue. That’s because the gaming community has a hand in it by creating misogynistic games. The sexualization and objectification could be noticed in a series of video games.

For instance, League of Legends portrays extremely sexualized women with very little shield or clothing, although the game involves fighting. The lead roles of these video games are more likely to feature men, along with their female counterparts, either the damsel in distress, sexualized, or both.

  • Hate Speech

Hate speech is presently a problem with gaming communities. It attaches itself impeccably along with typical personal assaults against other gamers. That is a behavior trait to the toxic game communities, and all game industry runs the risk of becoming toxic.

In such environments, aggressive and disgraceful comments are considered the norm, like trolling. Nevertheless, if asked, the majority of gamers wouldn’t label themselves as having life-threatening political views, nor as being discriminatory. Many wouldn’t assume their action horrible, as “they don’t literally mean it.”

With these existing problems in the gaming industry, more and more people of color like black gamers prefer to speak with different tones to hide their origins. How can we prevent those kids from getting offended for being not the expert in a game and avoid them from being laughed at? How can we stop sexism towards women streamers?

So How Meadow Can Help?

That is where Meadow got you covered. We are pleased to announce that our team of specialists created features that will allow a safe environment for all gamers. We can achieve this by locating and flagging all unsuitable content and inform the gaming studios with a specific matter.

We decided to join the cause so we can help to create a safe environment for every gamer on the planet.

Importance of Gaming Companies to Listen to their Community

There are many times that your favorite game has an update that received a lot of backlashes. Take, for example, the Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Warzone, where developers brought significant changes in the game. One of these changes was replacing Call of Duty Warzone’s Bounty Contracts with Most Wanted. With Most Wanted, players can become the target of every other player on the map by placing a contract on their head.

Players could revive their entire squad if the survived the duration of the contract. Immediately after the update went live, influential gamers and fans alike were livid then took to social media to express their disappointment. After 24 hours, Infinity Ward overturned their decision. They immediately brought back the Bounty Contracts and made a few other minor changes.

It turns out this was not the first time Infinity Ward changed their minds after uproars due to their update.

From Gamers to Developers

In the gaming community, it is important to have communication between the game developers and gamers. One of the few ways is through feedback. Notice how there is always an option for you to leave feedback in the game. The information you will give will be used by developers to make well-informed decisions, such as what to improve and adjust in the current features and actions in the game. Additionally, the gaming companies will know what the players think needs to be added into the game to make it more appealing and enjoyable to players.

Another is through criticism. It might be difficult to take criticisms. Who wants to be told that they are wrong? But for the sake of improving the gamer experience, it is important to accept these criticisms and use it well to build and improve. Whatever criticism you receive is an opportunity to learn about the gamers that, in turn, will lead your gaming company to generate the right actions to turn the majority of them into supportive and satisfied players. This way, better outcomes can be achieved because you know exactly what your audience wants and needs.

Open Lines

Nowadays, there are a lot of ways to open communication lines between the community and gaming companies. There are hundreds of active communities and online interactions around gaming that you can find on many social networks and platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Discord, Reddit, and Facebook.

Gaming companies can find a lot of valuable insights among these conversations and interactions. This includes gamer’s thoughts on the games, product and update issues, bugs they encounter, and also the suggestions on how to enhance the game from the perspective of the gaming community. It is also an opportunity to know whether you are meeting the expectations of the gamers and assess if your company’s performance is deteriorating, stagnant, or improving with the current actions you are taking.

Final Thoughts

In the end, gaming companies need to be aware of what the community is saying about the game as well as what they want. Through opening lines of communication and listening to the voices of the players, the necessary steps can be generated, making it possible to continue the success of the game while satisfying the user base.