Irish brands’ reluctance to explore potential tie-ins with the gaming sector is resulting in “missed opportunities” to find new customers and build brand loyalty among a younger cohort of consumers, according to new research.
Compiled by Dublin marketing agency Tenth Man, the report – based on interviews with 11 Irish and international “thought leaders” on gaming – argues that the unwillingness to engage with the sector is based on misconceptions about the demographics that have driven the sector. According to some estimates, gaming has surpassed the film and television sector by revenue, and steady growth is expected over the next five years.
But the report highlights that the stereotype of the gamer as “teenage boy in his attic” persists despite the increasing diversity evident within the space. Among the three billion gamers globally, half of them are estimated to be women and 80 per cent are over the age of 18, the report claims.
In Ireland, home to an estimated 700,000 gamers, “younger generations understand, accept and play games themselves,” according to the report. “However, older generations who are not as familiar with the sector tend to harbour preconceived opinions and misconceptions. With more senior executives in the boardroom as key decision-makers, this can result in missed opportunities.”
The sector has boomed in Ireland over the past decade or so and the Government is keen to foster its development, unveiling a new tax credit for game developers in the last Budget.
But so far only a handful of Irish brands have dipped their toes into the water, the report highlights, including An Post, which launched a partnership with The Legion, an esports events host, in 2021.
The “ways in” for Irish businesses “are endless”, it argues, “from creating in-game advertising, to partnering with gaming organisations, to working with gaming and esport influencers, sponsoring gaming and esports events or even creating their own games. Even products and brands that might initially seem off the table,;from food and drink to insurance and health, can be adapted to fit the gaming space.”
Globally, luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton have collaborated with game developers on branded in-game purchases while the Metaverse has opened up opportunities for other brands such as H&M.
“There is no other industry of this size that brands are not actively targeting,” said Jen Reid, strategy director at Tenth Man. “Gaming is larger than the film and TV industry yet it is perceived as too niche to engage with. It’s an incredibly lucrative industry and proactive companies are recognising this and taking advantage of it.
“As gaming continues to grow, we expect that brands will no longer be able to afford to ignore it. There is definitely an opportunity for Irish companies to get first-mover advantage on their competitors.”