Gamers as Consumers

Gaming continues to grow in popularity and influence. Currently, over 3 billion people play video games and watch gaming content such as reviews, gameplay, and even interviews with gaming developers online. As such, gaming is easily considered one of the most popular hobbies (and arguably jobs if you count streamers and gaming influencers) in the world. 

Considering the popularity of video games, the industry generates a lot of money, which allows you to market services and products to millions of people. Although the video game industry had issues with supply chain shortages during the early stages of the pandemic, the industry is showing signs of major recovery. 

In their August 2022 report, Game Daily Biz found that video game spending was up by $4.1 million. This increase in spending shows that there are a lot of consumers out there who intersect with the gaming industry.  In fact, we know that as consumers, gamers spend their money on products and services unrelated to gaming. As such non-endemic brands can see success in marketing campaigns when they see gamers as consumers first and foremost.

Consumer Research

We conducted a survey that revealed some interesting things about gamers and the kind of things they consume and buy regularly. We decided to take a structured approach to our survey by setting parameters around the respondents’ gaming habits. Of the 1034 responses to our survey, all participants had to:

  • Play games on multiple platforms (PC, console, and mobile)
  • Spend at least $5 per month on video games (including subscriptions, battle passes, and in-game purchases) OR play at least 5 hours per week, OR play at least multiple times per month if the average retail price of a game was $30 or less.
  • Play at least 5 hours per week OR play at least multiple times per month OR have purchased/downloaded a game within the past 6 months if the average retail price was more than $30.

Finally, we divided them into tiers based on the average prices of the games they buy to call attention to the demographics that make up the people who play these games. Ultimately, our goal was to show how vast gamers’ backgrounds are, so marketers have nuanced conversations and campaigns for video games.

The Big Spenders 

Unsurprisingly, our data results highlighted that both Millennials and Gen Z made up most gamers. Our results mirror this Games Industry Biz article that concludes gamers fall into the 18-34 age range. We also found that when games have a retail price of $30 or more, the audience was mostly Millennials in their 30s and 40s and skewed male and non-binary gender-wise.

So, what does this mean for marketers? The first thing to consider is that consumers with a larger budget can likely afford the more expensive products, but they also can afford cheaper products more frequently. As such, higher-priced games are where you should consider placing marketing campaigns. When marketing to gamers, you should remember that gamers have hobbies they find more important than gaming, so broadening your view of what gamers want can reach more people.

For example, in partnership with Activision, Mountain Dew developed a campaign that offered double XP and double weapon bonuses for Modern Warfare 2 in the United States. Gamers interested in this deal had to purchase the game at the retail price of $69.99 and grab special Mountain Dew and Mountain Dew Game Fuel bottles to get the codes. With these points, gamers could feel more connected to the gaming community and be reminded that Mountain Dew helped them get a leg up on the competition online. Doing something similar to Mountain Dew will directly build connections with consumers and garner sales for your non-endemic product.

There are plenty of opportunities to market your product or service in games, even when it’s not directly tied to it. Don’t worry about whether the promotion of products might overwhelm gamers. For this campaign, consumers spent 7 million hours playing with branded and promotional items in-game, with 2.5 million promo codes redeemed. With this knowledge, other brands are cashing in on this marketing campaign tactic, including Papa John’s and Jack Link’s in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. 

While these examples show the benefits of promotional products in-game, you should also know you can sponsor gaming influencers who live stream or are known to play games in this price range. This will get more eyes on the game and, of course, your promotional content. Before you decide on the latter tactic, ensure you research the influencer to know who their audience is and whether their values and content align with your brand’s. We dive more into how to incorporate streamers into marketing campaigns in another article. 

The Under $30 Club

If you’ve been wondering where most female players fit in all of this, our research found that they are the consumers who play games with a lower retail price and are typically 24 years old and younger. 

This means for marketers with this target audience that smaller, niche, or indie games are where your focus should be when marketing your products. A great example is the collaboration between MAC Cosmetics and Sims 4. This simple collaboration gave Sims 4 gamers the ability to wear popular makeup looks created by MAC which tied heavily into the “create-your-own style” mantra of Sims 4. This partnership helped gamers express themselves with makeup in the Sims world while building awareness for MAC as a brand that prides itself on self-expression.

While the research results on male, female, and non-binary gamers as consumers are not cut and dry, you can use this data as a starting point for the kind of games you approach when developing campaigns for different demographics. 

Gamers are Consumers

Our survey gives insight into who gamers are and how they spend their money. When you’re targeting male and non-binary players in the higher game bracket, you’ll know they spend money across platforms. Additionally, they’ll have extra cash to purchase products you market in AAA games on console and PC. In contrast, female gamers will typically be found in spaces with smaller, more niche communities. This is perfect for finding passionate people who can promote and buy your services and products.

At Twofivesix, our expertise in the world of video games helps brands engage with gamers. We dedicate time to researching the gaming landscape thoroughly, so we know where your brand or product will authentically fit. If you want to learn more about how your brand can effectively tap into the world of gaming, feel free to drop us a line. 


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