Warning: Gamers Are Cool [and Influential]

I’ve been developing some in game strategies for a client and, as a result, have spent some time thinking and learning about gamers. I think for anyone over 30 the concept of gaming still seems nerdy, weird and reserved for young boys who spend a bit too much time in their parent’s basements.

To be honest, until I started in the industry I used to think like that as well. I was wrong. Sort of.
First off, gaming is a huge industry. A pro gamer league has been around for at least a year, industry sales in the US eclipse Hollywood movies and blockbuster games can sell millions of copies (generating multi-millions in revenue) in less than a few months.

Millions of Canadians own gamer consoles and a huge number of people play online games on a weekly basis (some even more than TV). Advertising campaigns for games are film-like, expensive and in depth and they’re only getting bigger. When you consider that the Cyber Cannes lion was given to a Halo 3 campaign this year, you know that gaming is pretty mainstream.

How have games become so popular?

For one, they’ve been around for a while – just in different forms (cards, board games, etc). The emergence of online gaming has provided another outlet for gamers to actually play real people wherever and whenever they want. The rise in mobile gaming over the next decade is only going to intensify and create strong game brands and, in turn, revenues.

Secondly, they provide a more engaging experience than TV or film.

I love movies and go frequently. But even when I’ve found a fantastic movie that I love, I can only see it a few times and each time the experience looses a bit of it’s original taste. There’s something in not knowing how the story ends that always makes the first time better.

Games have a similar issue. After you’ve conquered the single version, you don’t really want to do it over again. That being said, there are about a million other things you can do: play multiplayer, go online, look for hidden levels, cheat codes, create your own, etc. The game doesn’t die out after you’ve conquered it and, in some cases, you’re now at a level where you might feel comfortable challenging other, experienced players.

That being said, the gaming industries strongest asset is their rabid, passionate user base. People get excited about new shows and films but gamers take it too a new level. They’ll wait in line for consoles or games and there extremely involved in fan forums, chat rooms and comment everywhere online.

For the most passionate gamers, it becomes their life. Being the top gamer – by ranking, gamer points or victories – is an obsession more important than anything. Don’t believe me? Check out this video:

Athene has declared himself the #1 Paladin (World of Warcraft) player in the world. He has a full website, a series of trash talking videos (even a new preview to his life story) and even provides lesser gamers (“Noobs” as he calls them) tips on how to get better.

The video above had over 1.5 million hits on YouTube and has generated just under ten thousand comments – ranging from love it to other, trash talking gamers telling Athene he’s brutal.

Why does this matter?

It matters because it’s passionate people like Athene who help to spraed the word about the power of the product and get others interested. Tapping into this group (in a relevant way) can be great for a brand – especially when the content you provide is relevant to the crowd and, of course, fun.

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