A new study released today by Adobe Digital Index (ADI) shines light on a massive market that most marketers have yet to tap into: the gaming industry.
They might want to change that. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 155 million Americans play video games on their PCs, mobile devices, or via a dedicated game console. According to PwC, the gaming industry reached $15 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow to $19.6 billion in 2019.
To put it all into perspective, ADI compared the revenue of box-office movies on their opening days to the revenue of top video games on their opening days. The highest-grossing movie of all time on opening day, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” brought in $91 million, according to ADI. Compare that to the game “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” whose sales exceeded $179 million on its first day.
“The gaming industry is a lot bigger than most marketers realize,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI. “These games get more social buzz on opening day than most movies do, and the revenue for one of the top games this year outdid the highest-grossing movie start by nearly double. And I thought the movie industry was big. That’s huge.”
Video games are also overtaking traditional sports, according to ADI. Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, in which the player controls a character on one of two teams and the objective is to destroy the opposing team’s main structure, are a becoming huge.
One MOBA, in particular, “League of Legends,” with 67 million unique players, has grown quickly into a large, free gaming community, where marketers could potentially do product placements targeting gamers while they are in these virtual worlds, Gaffney said.
“‘Jerry World’ [Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium] would have to be filled 603 times to accommodate the monthly players of ‘League Of Legends,’” said ADI analyst Adam Lloyd. “I hope people carpool.”
The social data in the report is based on 20 million-plus social media engagements on blogs, Facebook, Google+, Reddit, Twitter, Dailymotion, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, VK, Disqus, Foursquare, Metacafe, Wordpress, and YouTube.
ADI found that people are following the gaming industry on social media, with MOBAs being more popular (from a Facebook “like” perspective) than the NHL, NFL, and even America’s favorite pastime, baseball.
ADI also looked at 4 billion-plus visits between 2014 and 2015 to gaming sites, as well as sales of gaming-related items online. The analysis was based on aggregated and anonymous data from visits to websites in multiple industries and segments. Among the findings, August’s desktop gaming visits were up 10% from 2014, and tablet visits were up 23%. According to Lloyd, higher-powered tablets coming on the market are enabling gamers not to be bound to the desktop for a high-quality experience.
ADI said it expects a 15% bump in sales activity during the upcoming holiday shopping season. But this time of the year isn’t the only peak shopping time for gamers. Game sales are just as high in June during the annual E3 event, when many gaming companies release new products or initiate prerelease ordering of the games they announce.
“I don’t believe anybody has ever aggregated shopping data for gaming until now,” Gaffney explained. “I was shocked to see that June sales were as high as holiday sales for the gaming business.”
One new addition to the top holiday gifts this year may be a pair of virtual reality (VR) goggles. VR, Lloyd said, is where gaming is headed. Examples include Microsoft’s Hololens, HTC Vive, Sony Morpheus, and Oculus Rift. While these devices have not hit the retail market yet—HTC Vive is set to release this holiday season, and Hololens, Morpheus, and Oculus are set for early 2016—already they are gaining ground socially.
Gaffney said she sees gaming platforms and VR as more of a product placement than advertising opportunity for marketers. “From a virtual reality standpoint, the marketing opportunity is endless,” Gaffney said. “Think of how industries like retail, real estate, CPG, restaurant chains, and others could benefit and get really creative in the virtual reality space. And with the number of people who are gamers steadily increasing, video-game marketing could be digital marketing’s next big trend, not just because of audience size, but also because that’s where the hard-to-find Millennials and Gen Z viewers are.”
About Adobe Digital Index
Adobe Digital Index publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from over 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
About Adobe Digital Insights
Adobe Digital Insights publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
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