From entertainment to engagement, gaming is reshaping the marketing landscape.
In the dynamic realm of marketing and advertising, a new player has emerged - gaming. What was once confined to screens and consoles has now transcended entertainment to become a pivotal tool for brands to connect with diverse audiences. The gaming industry has evolved, intertwining its essence with marketing strategies to create a synergy that resonates with gamers and non-gamers alike. Welcome to the multifaceted world of gaming's integration into marketing, exploring the gamut from casual gamers to AI-generated experiences and challenging perceptions.
Hanting Zhu, Associate Business Director, Gaming & E-sports, Publicis Groupe ME&T, shares his insights on seamlessly integrating gaming into campaigns, transforming marketing solutions, and opening new horizons for brands.
Photo above: Hanting Zhu, Associate Business Director, Gaming & E-sports, Publicis Groupe ME&T
Gaming, once relegated to a specific demographic, has broken free from its boundaries. "Everyone's a gamer, and there's a game for everyone," says Zhu. The reality is that gaming isn't confined to a single stereotype. It encompasses casual to hardcore gamers, those who play, and those who watch, creating an intricate tapestry of engagement. This understanding shifts the narrative, erasing misconceptions and ushering in a new perspective that gaming is a universal form of entertainment that appeals to a diverse audience.
In the digital age, content creators have become pivotal figures in shaping online engagement. In the realm of gaming, these creators hold a unique position, fostering a level of audience engagement that far surpasses traditional influencers. "Gaming content creators perform anywhere from three to 10 times better at the same tier of influencers," says Zhu, revealing the power of these creators to captivate and connect with their audience. Their authenticity and genuine passion resonate deeply with viewers, creating an engagement that goes beyond mere marketing strategies.
When presenting gaming to clients, a bridge between the gaming vernacular and marketing language is crucial. Brands are tapping into the unique strengths of gaming, be it connecting with Gen Z consumers, fostering brand advocacy, or encouraging user-generated content. As Zhu highlights, "We're uniquely positioned to connect gaming verbatim and jargon with marketing language." This connection provides brands with a clear understanding of how gaming aligns with their marketing goals, ensuring a seamless integration.
Gaming spans a broad spectrum of engagement, from casual gamers seeking a brief escape to professional gamers dedicated to honing their skills. Brands recognize this diversity and tailor their approaches accordingly. From incorporating gaming elements into marketing strategies for mass brands to delving into e-sports for competitive brands, the industry's flexibility allows for an inclusive and engaging presence across the gaming spectrum.
Gaming's footprint in the Middle East is expanding rapidly, with UAE and Saudi Arabia taking center stage. Government support and a burgeoning interest in gaming have propelled the industry into the mainstream. These nations are diversifying their economies, investing in infrastructure, and cultivating a gaming ecosystem that aligns with global trends. As the region embraces gaming, it is a testament to the industry's potential to drive economic growth and cultural transformation.
As technology advances, the intersection of gaming and AI emerges as a realm of limitless potential. AI-generated games and environments evolve from human prompts to autonomous generation, adapting in real-time to player interactions. This synthesis of gaming and AI not only enhances the gaming experience but also opens doors to personalized engagement that extends beyond traditional gaming boundaries.
"There's definitely a lot of technological and market potential in the region. People are looking for new ways to entertain. [Gaming] is a great way to relieve stress, pass time, inspire ideas, or even have a bit of fantasy moment - who doesn't like to throw a fireball?" says Zhu.
Challenging stereotypes surrounding gaming is pivotal to its integration into the marketing landscape. By presenting gaming as an all-encompassing form of entertainment, brands can shift perceptions and embrace its potential to connect on a profound level. The evolving perception of gaming as a diverse and engaging platform, rather than a solitary screen experience, paves the way for a more inclusive and authentic approach to marketing strategies.
The integration of gaming into the marketing world signifies a paradigm shift that extends beyond conventional strategies. From content creators and diverse gamer profiles to innovative AI-driven experiences, gaming's influence on marketing is profound. The growing interest in gaming within the UAE and Saudi Arabia reflects an evolving landscape that aligns with global trends. As the industry continues to evolve, it shapes perceptions, redefines engagement, and illuminates a future where gaming isn't merely a medium of entertainment, but a dynamic force that drives meaningful connections in the marketing and advertising sphere.
"We're here to help drive that holistic perspective [towards gaming]. We're here to change the perception of what gaming is and what gaming can essentially be," states Zhu.