One fact about the global video game market tends to surprise those unfamiliar with the business.
“The video game industry is bigger than the music and film industry combined,” said David Reitman, global games leader at Accenture, a strategy and technology services firm. “When you make that statement, basically people pause.”
While estimates of the value of the global gaming industry vary, market researchers generally peg direct revenue from video games at around $ 180 billion to $ 200 billion, including sales of game consoles, games, and hardware. as drivers, and income from other sources such as game purchases and advertising.
By comparison, the global entertainment industry, counting both theatrical and home viewing, topped $ 100 billion for the first time in 2019 before taking the hit of the pandemic in 2020. The global recorded music market, while Thus, it grew to reach $ 21.6 billion in 2020.
The numbers offer a perspective on how great games have become in the half century or so since modern video games have been around. At this point, just watching others play is an activity with hundreds of millions of participants, and games now compete for attention with all other forms of entertainment.
“We compete with [and lose to] Fortnite more than HBO, ”Netflix admitted in its 2019 letter to shareholders.
Fashion and sportswear brands perfected their use of other forms of entertainment such as film, sports, and music as marketing channels decades ago. It’s hard to imagine Armani’s legacy without the movie “American Gigolo,” or what Nike would have become if it hadn’t gifted its sneakers to a rookie basketball star named Michael Jordan. Video games are a much younger medium, and only recently has fashion caught on. Lately, the industry has started trying to connect with gamers, and in the past year those efforts have accelerated.
One of the reasons fashion players are expressing interest is that games offer a potential revenue stream from the sales of clothing and digital products. But perhaps more significantly, they are a way for brands to extend into virtual spaces where people spend an increasing portion of their time. They represent a relatively untapped marketing channel where creative companies can produce immersive and interactive experiences that are unlike anything available to them through other means.
At the same time, there has been an increase in interest in the idea of the metaverse, a buzzword with origins in science fiction, generally imagined as a virtual counterpart parallel to the real world, most likely formed from a mosaic of different platforms on line. . Popular games like Fortnite and Roblox have emerged as the sites where their foundations are being laid most clearly. Now Meta, the group formerly known as Facebook, is investing billions to try to make this vision of the metaverse a reality. Fashion companies, many of which were slow to embrace e-commerce and have spent years building their digital presence, are determined not to take long to find a place in this future.
This case study examines some of the most important recent efforts by fashion and beauty companies to reach gamers, and breaks down their strategies for examining the opportunities and obstacles in engaging with games for marketing:
- Vans launched an ongoing project within Roblox focused on skateboarding.
- Balenciaga brought its brand DNA to the world of Fortnite.
- LVMH-owned Benefit Cosmetics took a slightly different approach, establishing a presence on Twitch, a popular platform for live streaming video games.
The companies spoke with BoF about what their goals were, what it took to bring the projects to fruition, and what they have learned about video games and gamers.
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Editor’s note: This case study was reviewed on December 1, 2021. An earlier version identified Doggo’s image from Fortnite as one that was used on a billboard in-game and in real-world locations. That is wrong. The image shows user-generated content that appeared within Fortnite as part of a “living lookbook” campaign.