How The Expansion Of Video Game Fan Demographics Drives Sales
Table Of Contents
Insights For Brands On The Power Of Gaming
Who do you usually think of when it comes to video game fans? For a long time in the past, many people associate the majority of the video gaming community with teenage boys who can’t stay off their consoles. However, as technology advances, the development of video games and its devices have attracted increasing attention from various crowds.
From the traditional Call of Duty series to Candy Crush for older generations, video games are on its way to widen its audience pool. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses why it's time for gaming brands to explore the complete view of player variety, and how that factors into their gaming production and marketing.
No Longer A World Of Male
The prototype of video games first came into the market during the 1990s. Ever since then, female gamers were commonly seen as a minority group that could be ignored. As the gaming industry developed with incredible speed, female gamers gradually took over an important portion of the player pool. Although there are significantly fewer female gamers in genres such as first-person shooting and grand strategy games, the female-to-male player ratio in the U.S during the 2010s is almost 50:50 (E.S.A).
Additionally, more and more girls are paying attention to the gaming industry by becoming “cloud esport players,” especially in Asia. Even though many Chinese girls only play games such as the Arena of Valor occasionally, they watch every professional league tournament. They might not spend a lot on those games alone, but they do register as dedicated fans of certain esports teams or players.
Although girls might not be crazy gaming fans, they do love to shop merchandise such as champion skins associated with the game they play or watch. Yet, female players are often overlooked to some extent by gaming companies, thus overlooking a major part of their potential clients.
Cloud 9, a professional American esports organization founded in 2013, is now an active participant in over 10 different esports game titles. In its former partnerships with Puma, their apparel-sponsorship was also dominantly male.
In March 2020, PUMA launched a third PUMA x Cloud9 series that includes both men and women’s apparel to cater to its audience of both genders. PUMA went to great lengths in its designs. Aside from plain T-shirts, the series also includes windbreaker jackets, leggings, and more. Puma’s social media campaigns with Cloud9 received a 73% positive rating on various social media platforms, a percentage that greatly surpasses the industry average of both esports and traditional sports campaigns.
Puma helped Cloud9 modify its branding as a futuristic esports organization who is also a fashion icon. It acknowledges the expansion of its fan base, and no longer takes gender as a predetermined factor when it comes to merchandise marketing.
All Age Appropriate
Alongside the gender bias, video gaming was once seen as “teenage boy exclusive”. When it comes to words like “MOBA” or “PvP”, a lot of us would still immediately associate them with teenage boys who forget about their schoolwork and sit in front of an Xbox all day long. However, as the gaming world expands, video games have greatly widened their age group selection. To maximize profit, gaming companies must know who they want to market their product to, as well as who they can market to.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a Nintendo Switch game released in March 2020. It’s a huge hit that sold 5 million copies within the first month. As a nonlinear life simulation game, this version of Animal Crossing excels at attracting gamers of different age groups. You assume the role of a customized character, and begin your journey by grooming an empty little island into your own customized haven. The official age range is set to be 3+--it’s a game for everyone.
When Animal Crossing just came out, not only did many of my college friends played it, but my 10 year-old cousins and 30 years old aunts and uncles who had some time to spare played, as well. Set in real time (the time within the game matches time in real life), Animal Crossing: New Horizons allows everyone to enjoy the game as casual as they like. Students on break could spend hours grooming their islands, and busy commuters could just casually harvest their garden for five minutes everyday after work.
While every person has a different aesthetic taste, the game also prepared a huge range of customization options. Whether it’s a nostalgic Pokemon island or cute anthropomorphic animals, Animal Crossing has it all. It makes both 5 and 30 year olds happy through different means. In an age where the first generation gamers could already be in their 40s, it is important to attract an audience of different age groups: after all, the more players, the more sales.
The Ultimate Player Style Mash Up
Video games are divided into many genres: PvP, MOBA, RPG, and so on. They are further classified into different platforms such as Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PC. While games like League of Legends appeals well to young men and women who like competitive gaming, it’s almost impossible for LOL to expand its audience reach because of its difficult play style. Unless one donates a ton of time into learning to maximize farm gold, killing enemy backlines in team-fights and more, you can't really become a decent LOL player and that would hinder you from a good gaming experience.
To a certain degree, how games differ in play styles limited their ability to acquire new audiences. As more and more companies begin to realize that, there are games today that successfully come across the genre boundaries and acquire a massive player base. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is one of the newest examples.
Fall Guys, a battle royal game released for Windows and PlayStation 4 in August 2020, pulled off a sales miracle by drawing over 1.5 million players within 24 hours of release. The battle royal game type features a mashup of survival and competitive play style. Trending games such as Call of Duty, Fortnite and PuBG all belong to this genre. However, while those examples are built on the traditional formula of players fighting each other by acquiring weapons, Fall Guys broke the convention by drawing inspiration from both competitive and children’s playground games.
In a game up to 60 players, everyone is represented by a cute, customizable jelly-bean like figure. Their aim is to pass through a sequence of randomly chosen mini-games until only one player remains. The winner gets a crown that could translate into customized clothing for your little “fall guy”. Although it’s hard for many to win a crown, participating in a game would also grant you some points that allow you to customize your character too.
Fall Guys is the ultimate presentation of “a game for everyone”: whether you are a casual or a competitive player, you can always find pleasure in this game by either winning the crown or simply dragging your cute little bean man around. Both the arenas and characters are designed to be all-age friendly. Depending on how many mini-games you passed, every game lands between 5 and 20 minutes: it’s a perfect option for a quick day break. Each mini game features an easily understandable goal such as “cross all obstacles!” or “push your team’s ball to the pit first!”.
Additionally, the game is available on PC so you don’t even have to own a gaming console. Addictive in its nature, Fall Guys doesn’t limit itself to a children’s game as its outlook may indicate. The joy of winning over 50+ players in a round still sticks to the core of a battle royal game, and thus attracts millions of competitive gamers, many of which swore to break the world record of some obstacle courses.
What Could Be The Next hit?
In conclusion, all three cases mentioned above managed to cater its product to a wider range of gamers. Whether its gender, age or play style, it is important to understand how the gaming community grows. It’s time to move on from impressions like “video games are for kids”, and properly recognize the full potential of your selected player pool.
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