Covid-19 has seen a surge in gaming as lockdowns around the world have encouraged indoor pursuits and more people have been seeking out ways to hangout with friends and family in online spaces.
So what does all this mean for brands and agencies? And what are the long term ramifications? To find out, LBB’s Laura Swinton gathered together an international panel. Join Adam Kerj, CCO Nordics Accenture Interactive; Charlotte Rubesa, Strategist, 72andSunny Amsterdam; Claudio Lima, CCO Cheil Brazil; McKay Hathaway, Group CD, VMLY&R for a fascinating discussion about how lockdown has levelled up gaming.
Fortnite and Animal Crossing have emerged as the big winners thanks to their capacity to function as fun social spaces. Serendipitously, Nintendo launched the new version, Animal Crossing: New Horizons on March 20th, and it’s been a magnet for players and brands alike, with fashion labels like Marc Jacobs, Pret-a-Porter and Gucci getting in on the fun.
As for Fortnite, the game attracted 12 million people to log in for a live Travis Scott gig in April
, and on May 8th, the game that was originally known for its no-holds-barred Battle Royale mode launched Party Royale, a place for daft playful games, parties and more. The opening night’s party saw Deadmau5 and Steve Aoiki do live sets. And Christopher Nolan premiered a trailer of his upcoming film Tenet within Fortnite - something that surprised even avid gamer McKay, who notes Nolan's passion for the cinema experience.
In the esports arena, many live tournaments were either cancelled or forced online, meaning that the lockdown may not have been the esport revolution we might have predicted. However, broadcasters have been experimenting with sport-based games to fill the content-hole left by the cancellation of the Olympics and Euros 2020 – BT Sport, for example, has been inviting sports legends and pop stars to compete on FIFA.
What does all this mean for brands and the ad industry? A mindset shift, for sure. Marketers, cooped up with their kids for months, are seeing the popularity of gaming up close and in their own homes. Gaming has become a reality for them as they battle with Fortnite-loving teens for bandwidth. That, suggests Claudio, means a definite uptick in interest among marketers that might have previously been unconvinced.
Longer term, as gaming has become unquestionably universal many people have engaged with video games who had, until lockdown, been unsure or uninterested. Just as lockdown has nudged different groups to try out e-commerce and video calling with their family, it has brought a host of newbies to the world of games, and even to the concept of virtual worlds.
Delve into the panel, and find out how gaming levelled up under lockdown.