The modern video game landscape is broad, deep, quick to change and can seem utterly bewildering. A quick glance reveals a tangle of demographics, platforms, communities and means of self-expression that ranges from “daunting” to “completely impenetrable” to an outside brand. So why are insurance companies, luxury fashion houses, and music publishers making inroads into gaming, and what does this mean for you?
New for 2020, the Game Industry Track will run from March 16–18, featuring a thorough exploration of the expanding influence that gaming is exerting on the wider world — and how it can be understood and engaged with. Read on to discover the unrealized potential that games and their players hold for you, and the SXSW sessions that will shine a light on it.
More Than Just Big Money
The obvious allure of the video game market to outsiders is in the enormous reach it offers — annual revenue is projected to surpass $230bn in the US alone, driven by an audience of equally impressive proportion — but there are deeper trends at work.
In Digital Play Is Winning - Can Screen Time Be Good?, Tami Bhaumik (Roblox) will moderate a discussion between experts on how games are fulfilling childrens’ need for exploration, imagination and social contact, displacing traditional activities. Level Up Your Company Culture with Extra Life will delve into the benefits of integrating gaming into the workplace as experienced by Rooster Teeth’s Jack Patillo, while Alexandre Amacio (Reflector Entertainment) will show how games can connect traditionally separate entertainment media into one cohesive whole in A Journey Through the Universes of Transmedia IP. These sessions highlight the evolution of gaming from a niche hobby to an integral part of modern life — but rather than just being absorbed into and defined by the mainstream, gaming culture is very much making its mark.
Addressing the Gaming Audience
Video games, their platforms, and the surrounding culture provide an enviable richness of user data and engagement. Accessing the vast potential audience and outsizes influence promised by gaming has traditionally proven to be a struggle for non-endemic brands, though, with traditional advertising approaches often lacking the expected impact. In response, novel strategies that strive for a deeper understanding of overarching culture and communities are beginning to emerge.
An Advertiser's Guide to Twitch Chat, with Bethany Lyons of Superdata Research, will explore tools and practices used to interpret and engage with the legendarily cryptic live chat element of the leading game content platform, showing how events and influencers can drive engagement and how the instant feedback from users can be analyzed to improve messaging. Unlikely partnerships between giants in completely different industries are beginning to emerge — in Investing into Esports: Collaborating with Brands, Naz Aletaha (Riot Games) and Edward Gold (State Farm Insurance) will show how surprising crossovers can provide even more startling returns on investment. Taking a more direct approach, How Fashion is Driving Branded Gameplay will see Glu Mobile’s Sarah Fuchs demonstrating the potential of successfully integrating gameplay with the brand experience.
Delve Deeper Into The Game Industry Track
To learn more about how you can benefit from engaging with this rapidly-evolving sector, browse through our Game Industry Track sessions. Sessions in this Convergence Track are open to all SXSW Badges.
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Photo by Tina Rataj