Gaming: From Product to Platform

Last year, winners at Eurobest elevated gaming. As we saw in some of 2019's exceptional work, games became a platform, as opposed to simply a product for sale. Esports unlocked new potential for brands and gaming was recognised as a platform to engage a notoriously hard-to-reach community of ad-blockers. An audience who, typically, don’t respond to advertising.

Dave Roberts

Chief Content Officer, Engine

2019 Entertainment Jury President

Marta Swannie

Senior Creative and Innovation Director, Superunion

As we near the end of 2020, gaming has become a mainstream advertising medium. A recent report on the ad opportunities in gaming from marketing effectiveness authority WARC found that 3.4 billion people play digital games globally and, with enforced downtime under lockdown, 16% of consumers reported gaming more often. The Esports market, specifically, is growing rapidly, with brand investment expected to reach $844 million this year. In fact, gaming is likely to benefit long-term from the Covid-19 crisis. 2019 Entertainment Jury President and Chief Content Officer, Engine, Dave Roberts and Superunion’s Senior Creative and Innovation Director, Marta Swannie, talk more about the evolution of creativity in gaming.

Insight for the future

Moments of Escapism & Expanded Virtual Worlds

Gaming became a valuable social pastime in 2020; a place for gamers to talk to friends and escape the ‘uncertain sameness’ of the day-to-day under lockdown. Back in 2019, we saw work like Radio & Audio Grand Prix-winner 'Green Dawn' and Direct-winner 'My Life as a NPC' (both from DDB Paris for Ubisoft) expanding and adding depth to gaming universes, offering moments of escapism via enriched fantasy realities. Dave Roberts comments on the increasingly blurred lines in this area of creativity: “There were some particularly strong entries that had elements of immersive storytelling and game-play at their heart in 2019. I wouldn’t necessarily say that they were ‘gaming’ and, to some extent, this is one of the most interesting questions facing the jury in 2020: Where do you draw the line?”.

Marta Swannie agrees. “I love how the lines between ‘gaming’ and other activities have completely eroded. Gaming is permeating through everything we do these days, whether it’s socialising, going to ‘gigs’, following characters in stories or travelling the world.”

New Players: Brands & Gaming

As a medium, gaming is no longer considered a way to reach a niche audience – but rather a cross-demographic entertainment channel. As Marta puts it, as new brands enter the space, they’ll need to understand the community and adopt queues from outside of their own categories. “Serious gamers tend not to like being marketed to and can be critical of brands that act ‘fake’. Successful brands will be the ones who can find their voice in this space, have fun (or roll with the punches) and give something back to gamers that will make their experience better. Not worse.”