Gaming Should Be On Your Marketing Radar
What I'm going to say right now might shock you. So prepare yourself.
I love playing video games.
Yeah, I know. That's a pretty embarrassing thing to reveal to the entire online community, especially to fellow business associates. What's a "professional" guy like me doing playing games like a little kid? Shouldn't I be doing more important things, like rearing children, for heaven's sake?
While that may have been a legitimate concern as recently as a decade ago, in the last couple years gaming has become decidedly mainstream. Here are some surprising stats that you might not realize if you haven't been reading IGN.com or other gaming sites religiously for the past few years:
- In the last 3 years, video gaming has surpassed both the music industry and Hollywood in terms of total revenue
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the biggest entertainment launch in history, earning $550 million in five days - more than any single movie, book or album launch
- 68% of American households play video games
- The average age of video gamers is 35
- 40% are women (there are nearly twice as many women over 18 playing video games than boys under 17)
- 37% of heads of household play games on a handheld device (cellphone or PDA)
- 25% of game players are over 50 years old
I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a marketing strategy meeting for a Fortune 500 company targeting consumers under 30. The thing that stuck out more than anything else from this experience was how important the "gaming" mentality was throughout their marketing strategy. Just like previous generations of marketers were able to make blanket characterizations such as "men love sports" or "women love babies", it was obvious that this company sees video games as a fact of life for nearly anyone under thirty. And according to the statistics above, it's not just companies that target younger people that need to start paying attention to gamers.
In a future article, I'll discuss some ways that this realization can help inform your marketing strategy. For now, I'll just leave you with this: if you aren't including "gaming" on the short list of shared interests for nearly every segment of the market, you're missing out on a key component of what makes modern consumers tick.
* Most of these stats come from the Entertainment Software Association: http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2009.pdf
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