MEC @ E3
This June, the gaming industry came together for the 19th Annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Launched in 1995, E3 is the leading annual video game industry event, bringing together exhibitors from around the world to showcase the latest and greatest across hardware companies, gaming studios, accessory producers, and leading gaming sites.
The inaugural E3 was where Sony first introduced PlayStation to the console market, challenging the then-dominance of Sega and Nintendo. As time has passed, the gaming landscape has changed dramatically, with broader audiences now playing games, the emergence of mobile and tablet gaming, massive growth among social gamers, videogame sales that often outnumber Hollywood’s best efforts, and, of course, technological advancements that have pushed gaming as a leading category of digital entertainment.
This year’s E3 was especially important, as Sony and Microsoft unveiled their next-gen consoles, both of which have been eight years in the making. The appeal of gaming as a consumer behavior has never been greater, nor have the opportunities for marketers to play within the gaming space.
WHY E3 MATTERS MORE THAN EVER
Consider the following strategic reasons for gaming:
- We have moved on from the traditional perception of a gamer, with the majority of audiences desired by brands now reachable through the many gaming platforms. Over a billion people are now playing games, with mobile being the most popular device, in line with smartphone and tablet proliferation.
- Engagement times on gaming platforms outpaces many other channels across a number of audiences.
- Gaming remains a relatively untapped environment with only a few brands being able to deliver meaningful campaigns.
- Technology advances provide users with physical interaction with brands through motion tracking.
- Gaming offers interaction with audiences during their most focused attention, unlike other channels where users are consuming multiple channels at the same time.
- Gaming is the number 1 paid app download category for mobile, and engagement times on gaming apps is greater than that of Facebook.
WHAT THIS YEAR’S E3 MEANS FOR BRANDS
Whether it’s a mother who engages in social gaming on-the-go on her smartphone, college friends who stay in touch via multiplayer console games, a professional who plays their favorite game via an app on their commute, or the slew of other consumers who are playing a wide variety of games on an ever-increasing number of devices and platforms, one thing is clear – gaming is a form of entertainment that is increasingly taking up mind and heart space among an ever-growing list of consumers. With vast opportunities to play, and titles and connectivity increasing, brands have the opportunity to go beyond traditional gaming executions (e.g. in-game ads) to create innovative, proactive, and attention-capturing experiences.
For example, Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One console at E3, positioning it as a mass-market device that can serve as the essential device for any family or home, no longer only for self-titled ‘gamers’. Meanwhile, Sony’s new PS4 not only allows for streaming non-gaming content, such as Netflix, but it also provides the opportunity to be entertained anywhere via the full suite of portable PlayStation technology. As other game and device creators increase the social features, introduce unprecedented levels of connectivity, and streamline the experience to allow for ultimate user control and play, the possibilities for brands to get involved are rapidly evolving.
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