Category Archives: E-Sports

The war of attention: Gaming brands as the future of creative excellence

As the event show runners and leaders in esport competitions in the Cayman Islands, Netgeekz Media is quite up to date with everything gaming.

Few industries are operating at the speed that gaming is right now. Accelerated by consumer adoption, marketers in all aspects of the gaming world are having to scale up their efforts to keep pace. The GamersBay Event in March 2021 brought together gaming professionals and leaders to compete for over $10,000 in Cash and Prizes.

A highlight reel of the event can be found here, watch the recap now.

With people spending more time at home, wanting entertainment and socialisation, gaming has had its already fast-growing trajectory amplified. The spotlight on gaming has never been so bright. With this comes a responsibility on marketers to create content that resonates with people, ensuring that their brand rides as much on this wave as it can. GamersBay brought together various companies across the island to reach their target audience.

Carlos Alimurung, chief executive officer of ONE Esports, explained, “In the past 12 to 18 months, primarily due to the pandemic, not only has gaming grown as a pastime for people but also, esports, which is a part of its own ecosystem in gaming. When we think about our own content and the way we advertise and promote our content and experiences, we’re increasingly thinking about how we keep these new fans that have come into the esports ecosystem. The world will eventually come out of this thing and we’re going to be in the war of attention.”

The war of attention isn’t the only factor that is complicating the effort to scale up creative production. All marketers in the discussion said they needed to localise language and were always looking to adopt new platforms and formats to reach consumers. This is because the gaming audience is inherently discerning when it comes to digital creative. The younger, meme-hungry audience is comfortable calling out disingenuous brand marketing.

Allan Phang, regional head of marketing and PR at EVOS Esports, says, “Marketers need to be localised because they need to understand the culture. Especially in esports and gaming because the audience loves memes, and they can be gaming or country-specific. Our social media pages have to be careful in how they output this content. Another aspect is that the gaming and esports audience get shown too much esports and gaming content, they get exhaustion from it. For this esports and gaming audience, they prefer different content formats, and we need to stay in touch with them and deliver what they want.”

This was one reason the marketers agreed that automation could be a viable option for gaming brands. The ability to take out the reformatting and manual labour from the job means creative and design teams can have more freedom to think about new ways of connecting with the audience.

Celtra’s general manager for APAC, Raushida Vasaiwala, commented that automation was needed because the tools most teams used were too manual to scale.

“At a very high level, the problem is that the sheer manual nature of the production means that the tools that are currently used for design purposes are not for scaling purposes. This slows down the speed or the desire to get that campaign out on time,” she said.

Razer’s digital marketing director, ecommerce, Fred Chery, added to this, explaining that his brand has success in removing creative bottlenecks from teams, which freed them up to do better strategic work.

“The aim is to not put the bottleneck on the in-house creative team because we are not asking them to do five banners in 48 hours to cover just one product and a few markets, we are able to take this part out. This means we can ask for more quality. That’s one of the benefits of automation, we are able to do a lot of quantitative ads for the bottom-funnel but also at the same time it gives time for us to do even better briefs so that we can work on greater top of funnel creative ads,” he said.

Being able to balance the performance and brand aspects of marketing at the same time is a common challenge for gaming marketers. The speakers agreed that they all had transnational or e-commerce targets to hit but also had to spend time engaging with audiences to build loyalty.

Guillaume Noe, VP marketing at Coda Payments, said, “Balancing the promotional content and the engagement content is important. We are an e-commerce website, so obviously we want to drive sales. But if you only show cashback bonus and promotions to your users, at some point, you don’t engage. The quality of the relationship would be very transactional. This is not how you create brand love.”

There is a lot to consider in the fast-paced environment of gaming marketing. The audience is more discerning and the speed at which new products and IP is launched into the market is only getting faster. Brands will all take different approaches to build teams and strategies but it’s clear that tools that automate will become normal practice within this vertical.

Visit https://www.GamersBayCayman.com to learn more.

The traditional sports world is taking eSports into the mainstream

How the NBA, ESPN and others are starting to embrace a new type of athlete.

 

Five years ago, you couldn’t have imagined video game competitions being broadcasted on the same channel as traditional sports. TV networks have been historically obsessed with pastimes such as baseball, basketball, football and soccer, but times are changing. Thanks to the massive popularity of eSports, driven in large part by the internet-streaming generation, the entertainment landscape has transformed drastically over the past couple of years. Nowadays, US channels like Disney XD, ESPN, NBC and TBS are all trying to put eSports on the same level as traditional sports, with the end goal being to reach new, younger audiences. Want to watch a EA’s FIFA or Rocket League tournament on ESPN? Well, you can do just that.

The recent interest from giant broadcasters comes as the world of eSports continues to reach new heights. Pro gaming tournaments are selling out arenas worldwide and, every time a competition is streamed on Twitch, there are millions of viewers tuning in. With business this good, why wouldn’t anyone want a piece of the pie? NBCUniversal, which owns NBC and NBC Sports, is the perfect example. The company announced it would be launching its own two-on-two eSports tournament this summer, featuring one of the most popular games right now: Rocket League. It’ll air on the NBC Sports network, right alongside the English Premier League.

“We’re in the sports business,” says Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president for NBC’s Sports Ventures, when asked about why his team decided to join the space. “I’ve always defined sports as competitive entertainment, and whenever you’ve got competition that people are watching to be entertained, that to me is what sports is about.” Simmelkjaer touched on how there are still people who question whether eSports are “real” sports, which he says is an argument that doesn’t make sense: “It’s got people who are passionate about it, both playing it and watching it [and] lines up with our desire to reach as many audiences as we can around the country, of all demographics, of all interests.”

ESPN is another media company making a major push into eSports, which is surprising considering the somewhat controversial comments president John Skipper made not too long ago. “It’s not a sport,” he claimed in 2014 at Recode’s Code/Media Series event in New York City. “It’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports.” Despite that, ESPN really started embracing eSports in 2015, when it broadcasted a pro gaming tournament (Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm) on ESPN2 for the first time ever. The year before that, the network streamed a League of Legends competition online, but giving eSports a slot on actual TV was quite a significant move.

“We are at a point now where fans no longer question why we’re covering an eSports event, but are asking for more.”

That strategy shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, since ESPN’s first-ever eSports stream netted the network more viewers than that year’s NBA Finals and the last game of MLB’s 2014 World Series. League of Legends on its own is estimated to be a $1 billion-per-year business, so it’s only natural that ESPN, NBC, Turner (owner of TBS) would want to get involved. In its latest report about the eSports industry, research firm Newzoo said it expects competitive gaming to reach yearly revenues of $1.5 billion by 2020.

“eSports has been around for some time, but its trajectory is still exciting to us because it allows us to experiment with various content, coverage and distribution platforms,” says Kevin Lopes, director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN, says. “We are at a point now where fans no longer question why we’re covering an eSports event, but are asking for more.”

“There’s a pattern there that’s been happening for years, it’s not something you can just dismiss as a one-time thing anymore,” he says. “It’s not a fad, it’s actually here to stay.” One of the challenges, according to Simmelkjaer, is figuring out ways to have a more consistent schedule across eSports competitions, which is complicated because of all the different intellectual property owners. That said, it’s something he believes will sort itself out as publishers sign exclusivity rights for broadcasting or streaming specific tournaments.

It’s crazy to think that eSports still hasn’t reached its full potential. The NBA, NFL, ESPN, NBC and many others have taken notice though, and now they’re looking to cash in. But, ultimately, that’s great for eSports and people like Etienne who have been trying to show the world that eSports are, indeed, the real deal.