For years, video games have been viewed as a waste of time. Gamers were constantly portrayed as anti-social nerds who live in their parent’s basements and eat nothing but hot pockets (thanks South Park.) As the internet became more accessible, so did the popularity of gaming.
With the introduction of YouTube, video games found a platform that gave gamers a voice and an audience. Gamers such as Markiplier and PewDewPie each make over $3.5 million per year from YouTube ad earning alone, with both averaging over 150,000,000 monthly video views. While these two are clearly unique cases, the numbers show that there is an audience that is begging for more video game content.
As gaming videos became more popular and technology improved, live streaming became the new platform for many users. Twitch.tv is a website that allows users to watch live streams of other gamers playing video games, cooking, playing music, creating costumes and live video game tournaments. Per Twitch.tv, the website has over 100 million monthly viewers that spend 106 minutes daily watching live gaming. While the viewership numbers alone are impressive, sites like Twitch.tv also reach half of millennial males which is one of the most sought after demos by most brands.
Like other social websites, Twitch.tv has allowed users to build followers who watch, engage, and even donate money to the streamers. Initially, the only brands that found value in these influencers were technology companies and energy drinks. As gaming has become more accepted other brands are starting to take notice. Old Spice recently got in the game by partnering with popular streamer Dr. Disrespect and the Slick Daddy Club. While the Dr. was already an avid Old Spice user, Old Spice sent over some products for him to give out to his viewers. Working with the Dr. not only gave Old Spice the ability to put their product in front of a younger audience, but it also could speak to them in a way the brand normally can’t thanks to Dr. Disrespect’s unique persona.
It’s time to stop thinking of gamers as anti-social people that are wasting their time. The gaming community is active, engaged, and constantly looking to share their exploits. While the community doesn’t align with the values of every brand, those that are willing to take some risks can find a rabid audience that is loyal to the streamers they follow and quick to embrace the brands associated with those streamers.