Video games have been a part of our lives since the 70s, and the gaming community has grown exponentially since then.
Today online gaming is in vogue and gamers come from all walks of life are converging on various genres of gaming platforms to network, discuss and showcase their skills.
To give you a perspective of the Gaming revolution; there is north of 440K gaming channels on YouTube globally (as of the last Quarter of 2022) and more than 1.1 B watch hours were clocked only in the last Quarter of 2022 on YouTube globally. While there are no exact records for Indian platforms, data suggest between 5-25 Million Monthly active users on Indian streaming platforms like Loco and Rooter. Similarly, Twitch (acquired by Amazon), boasts 8 million streamers a month with 140 million monthly active users.
Gamers and Gaming audiences are a discerning set of buyers with a penchant for technology and a willingness to pay for high-end accessories, hardware, and virtual assets. This segment is also a voracious networker and hence has a high probability of rapid word-of-mouth spread of positive and negative experiences and perceptions.
Gamers can be largely segmented as e-sports and social or smartphone enthusiasts. The community streams, views, participates in live discussions, and live events, indulges in deeper discussions (on Discord servers) or participates in Q&A and in threads on platforms like Reddit as well.
From a gamer’s journey perspective, Twitch, and YouTube type of platforms are largely useful to stream games, and Discord and Reddit for engaging in deeper discussions around gameplay, troubleshooting, tips, and announcements.
Brands can leverage these platforms to nurture gamers and boost their brand engagement and brand presence. A caveat, however, for brand marketers, would be to synchronize their activities with the type of gaming platform. For e.g. Twitch and YouTube are great for streaming, and brands need to understand how they can leverage a streaming platform to engage communities. Similarly, Discord and Reddit are closed and open discussion forums, and hence there is an entirely different set of opportunities for brands to engage and influence communities/users.
Here are a few general tips for brand marketers, that they can consider if they wish to engage the gaming communities:
1. Focus on Inclusion: Building a thriving gaming community starts with making sure everyone feels welcome. This means creating an environment where people of all backgrounds, genders, and skill levels feel safe and respected. You can do this by emphasizing inclusivity in your community, welcoming new players, and making sure everyone is given the same opportunities.
2. Encourage Positive Interaction: The best way to build a strong gaming community is to ensure that everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions. Encourage members to interact with each other in a respectful manner and provide forums or channels where people can discuss their favorite video games.
3. Create Events: Events are a great way to bring people together and foster a sense of camaraderie. Consider hosting tournaments, game nights, and other gatherings that will bring your community closer.
4. Show Appreciation: Recognizing and rewarding members for their contributions to the community is a surefire way to keep them involved and engaged. Show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication by giving out awards or offering discounts on products or services.
5. Leverage Technology: Technology has made it easier than ever to reach a larger audience and build a global community. Consider using social media to promote your community and reach out to potential new members.
Building and maintaining a thriving gaming community doesn’t have to be difficult. By focusing on inclusion, promoting positive interaction, creating events, showing appreciation, and leveraging technology, you can create a vibrant and welcoming community that will stand the test of time. Having said that the community is not forgiving when it comes to general brand pitches and brands trying to interrupt their game and forum experiences by indulging in push messages and unsolicited product promotions.