How to Advertise in Gaming? – Starter Guide


The evolvement of Gaming Industry

Before starting to look at advertising in gaming, it is important to firstly talk about how gaming trends have shifted throughout the years. Gaming industry has reached around 50 years since its first launch. Evolvement of gaming can be divided into three categories; 1. Arcade Era (1970-1983), 2. Console Era (1985-2000), 3. Online Boom (2001- Present).

1. Arcade Era (1970-1983)
When Atari is mentioned many gamers’ mood changes, and nostalgia hits. Not only that but Atari has massive importance in the development of gaming, as they were the first ones to launch a game, the well-known Pong. Pong came out in an arcade version in 1972, it was some sort of table tennis game that attracted many players. Pong made a huge breakthrough for the upcoming games which would all be based in Pong’s concept. Other games like Pac-Man or Donkey Kong launched in arcade machines and made history by attracting millions of players.

2. Console Era (1985-2000)
However, something else started to attract gamers more, that was the option of being able to play from their homes. That’s where personal computers and consoles started to gain attention. Firstly, CBM launched Commodore 64 a personal computer for gaming at home purposes. But then Nintendo completely revitalized the gaming industry by launching the first usable console NES in 1985. Which would come most of the time as a package deal with Super Mario Bros which until this day is one of the most famous games to ever be created. After Nintendo other companies entered the console market, their biggest rival was Sony. Likewise, Sony took the console idea to a whole new level by making it very practical by incorporating CD-s, easy to play with their excellent controllers, easy to carry around but at much better quality with PlayStation 1 in 1994.

3. Online Boom (2001-Present)
This is when everything changed and the gaming industry as we know of was developed. With the increase of access to internet connection gaming got revolutionized, now everyone was considering multiplayer matchmaking, playing with their friends from home from their gaming equipment. It was Microsoft that launched Xbox Live in 2001 the online gaming platform where users could play and chat together with one another. Afterward PlayStation followed this path and other gaming companies with a focus on PC gaming. Now basically every game and every gamer is part of this big gaming community, everyone plays from their home using a wide range of gaming equipment and software to chat, voice call, record their gaming journey and share it with the others in the internet.

Someone might ask why was it important for me to explain the history of gaming firstly when I am supposed to talk about advertising in the gaming industry? Well, they are connected as if gaming wouldn’t reach the Online Boom era, digital marketing in gaming would be impossible. Equally important the journey of evolvement is important to understand how many times trends in gaming change and how small gaming startups can adapt to these changes with their limited resources they own.

What is crucial to understand?

1. Audience is increasing and becoming more diverse
This means that gaming is not any more focused on kids or teenagers nor is it more centered on men. Based on some recent studies 60% of women play mobile games on daily basis. Moreover, the average age of streamers on Twitch is between the ages of 18-34. As so, when advertising it is important to understand the specific target group you as a company want to work with as every age group and gender has its own preferences of how they want to be approached.

2. Market is increasing so do competitors
Like the number of gamers is increasing the number of gaming companies in the industry is increasing as well. With the advancement in technology is far easier to create games these days so there are tons of micro-businesses that launch games. However, as there are many players in the industry in order to get recognized from others it is important to try to be different from others, which can include the genre of game, its gameplay, and especially the marketing incorporated with it.

3. Be different/creative
It’s important to never forget that advertising in gaming does not happen only “outside” of the game anymore. It can be during the game, maybe the clothes of the main character, maybe the types of cars driven in it, or the skins of weapons they can all be of a real franchise. So to conclude, options for promoting in gaming are unlimited, it’s just crucial to be creative and think outside of the box, being different.

A simple example of how ads in gameplay can look like! (picture taken from ripten)

4. Exploit all the platforms
Furthermore, there are not only many platforms where games are played but also where games are consumed or watched like Twitch Live Streams and YouTube videos and other gaming platforms. With that in mind it is not necessary to try and advertise only in-game, streamers in the above-mentioned platforms can be paid or asked to play a specific game so that it gets promoted to the audience. This strategy is known to be the most effective one in the gaming industry due to the fact that there are millions of viewers in those platforms on a daily basis.

5. Trust Analytics
Finally, having a clear analysis of viewability it’s a must in order to succeed and be one step ahead of the competition. Measuring tiny details such as how much gamers are watching the ads, which parts they are just skipping, which part of the clip seems like a favorite and so forth. Likewise, costs can be reduced, and the productivity of ads can be maximized.

In conclusion, this is the first part of my blog campaign where I will try to explain some tricks gathered from my own knowledge as a gamer for more than 17 years. But of course, also other material on the internet about what big conglomerates in the gaming industry do will be reviewed and adapted to help a small or entrepreneurial gaming company. All the steps mentioned above will be reviewed in more detail in future sessions.



About Author

My name is Erion Likaj and I am a student of Hochschule Luzern in the Online Business and Marketing department. I have been a gamer fanatic throughout my entire life so my goal is to help new startups in the gaming industry to raise awareness through advertising and to be able to exploit the market as much as possible.

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