An Outsider’s Perspective on Gaming, Social Media, and Digital Business
By: Justine Merriman
For anyone like me, who grew up with an original PlayStation and one single disk of Spyro the gaming industry is pretty foreign. Sure that purple dragon was fun to fly and capture some shiny gems with, but not enough to spark a true interest in gaming. That said I am an avid YouTube viewer who is used to hearing terms around fortnight and twitch being used pretty frequently. So after a two and a half hour class on the gaming industry I was shocked when neither Twitch nor YouTube were mentioned once.
Now to be fair the topic may have been gaming, but the subject was around how Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. Specifically, how these businesses have chosen to build, buy, and expand their core competencies in relation to their gaming departments. Despite trying to keep us on topic the conversation kept coming back to the numbers… we are at business school after all! Profit, market share, total units sold, promotional discounts, etc… Which in my mind translates to how have these businesses utilized their digital footprint with social media to promote their brand and create buzz for new products.
In case you were wondering Sony has had and maintains the largest market share of the three with Microsoft in second and Nintendo in fourth. However, the Nintendo switch is quickly gaining momentum and is on track to beat Sony’s most popular iteration of the playstation as long as the sales trend continues. These brands also make and buy rights to the games themselves in hopes that limited editions or early releases will help drive these sales but over-all we never touched on the true importance of digital media and this industry.
As someone who doesn’t care about gaming, but loves to discuss new forms of monetization, I am fascinated by this two-billion plus user industry that is still in the infancy of using social media to grow their digital businesses. The main forms of social media being used are specifically for games and the real-life actors who are portraying the virtual characters and social media influencers who are either paid to post sponsored content or have turned their own gaming habit into a viable source of income with twitch.
The Try Guys sponsored video that has received over 1.7 million views in the first 48 hours of publishing:
Ninja, one of the most popular streaming gamers on Twitch:
Now as I am not one of the 150+ US gamers, I would think that these companies would be interested to learn that I am actually familiar with their products not because of any promotions they put out, but rather because of the activity and posts from influencers. I particularly enjoyed watching the Try Guys video as they documented going from not owning a console to participating in a tournament in less than a week. To any business this must send off monetizing and profit bells, which is why it is so surprising that digital businesses like twitch are not included in industry conversations more openly.
So if we all know that these businesses are utilizing social media influencers through sponsored posts, then why are the companies so afraid to share this information and more importantly why have none of the Big Three gotten in on creating their own digital streaming platform?!
Side Note: I may be totally wrong here, but this is just my opinion :)
Oh and lets not forget… even the Foster’s had a whole story-arch around children being paid as influencers for gaming companies: