Games are more popular than ever across consoles, PCs, tablets, and smartphones. If you’re a marketer and not taking the gaming phenomenon seriously, you’d better look at some cold, hard facts. Of all smartphone users, 39 percent play games at least once per week, and 15 to 20 percent of users are playing for a significant amount of time.
“If you take a screen shot … of what’s dominating the iTunes store or the Google play store, whether it be in the free category, whether it be in the paid category, or whether it be in the top grossing category, games is absolutely dominating. Games is driving that ecosystem,” said Simon Whitcombe, group director of global marketing solutions, Facebook, during his keynote address at the thinkLA Gaming Breakfast in Los Angeles, Calif.
Wrap your head around this: Supercell, a Finnish video game developer that came out of the DNA of mobile gaming company Digital Chocolate, was almost completely unknown one year ago. Today, with game hits such as “Clash of Clans,” and “Hay Day,” the publisher brings in $2.3 million in revenue per day.
You may not have heard of GungHo, a Japanese publisher that just opened its first U.S. office in the L.A. area, but it has a $9 billion valuation which, according to Whitcombe, comes off the back of puzzle RPG game “Puzzle & Dragons.”
“I believe that 50 million people are playing this game right now,” said Whitcombe. “Before they localized [“Puzzle & Dragons”] into the English language, people in the Western world were playing it and figuring it out for themselves. This game is generating nearly $5 million a day in revenue. This is absolutely where gaming is going. Mobile devices are dominating our lives, and gaming is a huge part of that.”
So now that Whitcombe has opened your eyes, let him blow your mind.
Gaming is a sport
Yep, that’s right. People love to watch other people play games online. Want proof? Last weekend, 1 million viewers concurrently watched a Dota 2 game tournament.
“Professional gaming is here, it has an audience, and they are deeply, deeply engaged,” said Whitcombe. For the most part, that audience is watching this content on a website called "Twitch." Last weekend, 4.5 million people viewed content on the twitch.tv platform. If that doesn’t get the attention of entertainment marketers, I don’t know what will.
So, do you want to know what the hot-ticket games are? Here you go, and you’re welcome.
Set in Chicago, this cat and mouse game (you’re the mouse) requires user knowledge of how hack into electronic devices. This is used to either gain information, or destroy the device in question. Yeah, that’s right – you can’t hack a mobile phone? Then you won’t be able to hack this game.
This Gladiator themed slasher game takes Roman-era combat into the virtual realm. Apropos considering critics of modern Western culture have dubbed us “the new Romans.” But damn if the graphics don’t look sweet!
Grand Theft Auto 5
With constantly evolving iterations, this game never seems to lose its appeal. This version is set in L.A. and features a motley crew of characters. Michael is a wealthy and adrenaline addicted yuppie, Franklin is a gang banger only by proxy, and Trevor is a desert-rat drug dealer with a hillbilly temper. Come to think of it, this sounds like the synopsis of a great Elmore Leonard novel.
Click here for a recap of the thinkLA Gaming Breakfast.