Game changer: Immersive marketing within virtual worlds

Growth in computer games got the attention of tech giants, so should marketers get immersed themselves?

The gaming industry has become one of the most lucrative in modern business. Generating a staggering $108.4bn worldwide in 2017 (beating some predictions by 33%), it’s no surprise that tech companies are suddenly very interested in a relatively young offshoot of the entertainment sector.

Unpopular monetization strategies like microtransactions have been partly responsible for these recent figures. But statistical aggregators expect the greatest amount of growth to come from innovative technologies such as VR.

This presents innovative marketers with a unique opportunity. They have the chance to create immersive brand experiences in a virtual capsule, unhindered by the constraints of the physical world. Whilst this may sound like a distant reality, marketers are already thinking about the potential of this technology for augmentative gaming experiences.

Fabrice Rousseau, General Manager of Alexa had this to say on voice technology when we interviewed him at our latest CMO event in Europe:

‘Voice has big potential [in gaming]. We’re building monetization capabilities so that game developers become even more excited about building games for voice’ – Fabrice Rousseau, GM, Amazon Alexa

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With instant access connecting businesses to consumers, the company understands the potential of supplementing a key home experience. Marketers need to decide whether to invest in voice and whether an augmented gaming experience is worth the resources it will cost.

But the growth of the industry alone should prove that there is untapped potential for marketers. Consoles are now linked directly to payment accounts and in-game purchases are standard. So why would businesses dedicated to innovation be hesitant?

The answer is two-fold. Until now, studios with isolated console releases couldn’t specify how many people would see branding at in-game locations. Today most games have online capabilities, making locations easier to track. In addition, blatant attempts to sell brand-first experiences to the gaming community have backfired. Game vloggers have listed weak efforts like Pepsiman on worst game ever countdowns. Such lacklustre efforts didn’t seem serve any other purpose than to create extra product placement. As all modern marketers now know, value has to come first. Games like 7Up’s Cool Spot show the reverse is possible.

What should companies do?

Businesses have become better at better partnerships in the data age. By trusting gaming industry professionals executives could be creating Kingdom Hearts, not inviting the ridicule of Sneak King. In addition, gamers have come to expect their entertainment systems to serve communities. Marketers that need to understand and develop their own communities could therefore learn a lot from gaming executives. Businesses can responsively design brand experiences that add value and improve perception, loyalty and sales, but only with effective collaboration.

For an understanding of how important partnerships with the right professionals will be, take a look below at what Tommy Francois from Ubisoft had to say about the potential of marketing in immersive worlds:

‘I think [games] can change marketing, I think they can change businesses’ – Tommy Francois, VP Editorial & Creative Services, Ubisoft

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What do you think about the future of marketing? Comment below or complete your details at this link so that we can begin to qualify your interest in attending our next CMO Digital Insight Summit.


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