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5 Game Marketing Trends in 2021



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Trend 1. Intense interest in cloud gaming and rise in digital distribution

In 2021, services of practically all large actors, from Microsoft to Google, will be present in the market. Their presence on iOS also contributes to this growth thanks to releases in form of web applications. Fewer and fewer gamers will purchase games on physical media, so that developers and publishers should focus on digital marketing and distribution of games in 2021.

As forecast by Newzoo, next year this market will exceed $1 billion for the first time ever.

Trend 2. Search of new advertising channels

Some developers try to integrate into non-standard channels such as, for instance, theater.

So, during 2020 the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater arranged a number of Minecraft performances, a fascinating project where one can see presentations of Russian literature classics in the Minecraft game universe themed on abridged school books.

Trend 3. Organization of own online events

The pandemic delivered a fatal blow to the game event industry. Because of COVID-19, neither E3, nor DevGAMM, nor GDC, nor IgroMir took place in 2020—at least, in their traditional format. The events went online, having deprived small indie studios of an opportunity to present their games to the public live.

In this context, large companies adopted the format of Nintendo Direct. Sony conducted its State of Play as far back as in 2019, but last year not only platform keepers, but also publishers and developers started organizing such streams.

So, CD Projekt RED shared details about Cyberpunk 2077 as part of Night City Wire programs, while Crystal Dynamics told about Marvel's Avengers in the War Table show. At the end of the day, these streams replaced stands at exhibitions for companies, but, unlike real events, such presentations have a wider reach, while communication with the audience happens to be closer and more direct.

It is likely that in future this event format will become a standard because streams can be conducted as often as possible, heightening people’s interest in the product.

Look for more development trends in the game industry in our Game Marketing in Russia Digest.

2021 In-Game Marketing Trends*

During the pandemic, the advertising market of in-game marketing changed as well. Many brands redistributed their advertising budgets from sports and show business to the game industry as it went on working and generated millions of content impressions. Thus, advertising tools were developing, and the following in-game marketing trends were formed in 2020, which should be taken into account this year.

Trend 4. Rise in in-game integrations

While companies used to use product placement and standards ads with a conversion component during tournament broadcasts, now in-game integrations are becoming a new standard. As a rule, they are immediate collaborations with game developers that provide exclusive advertising opportunities and the maximum reach.

This can be a full-fledged integration of a brand into the gaming process not limited to simple advertising placement. An energy drink Monster Energy appeared in the game Death Stranding. A player character could increase his stamina by drinking a can of the drink. On the day of the game release, Monster Beverage stock was 8% up. Most likely, this was the impact of a financial report published a day before rather than the game, but the coincidence was interesting.

Cross promotion of brands and game developers: in 2020, PUBG Mobile conducted a joint action with the chips brand Moskovskii Kartofel (Rus. Moscow Potatoes) in the Russian market. Game promo codes were placed on packs of chips, while branded artefacts with in-game loot appeared in the very game. In the international game version, a similar action was conducted jointly with Mountain Dew, a soft drink brand.

Trend 5. Brands will continue using games to create virtual events

It will be beneficial both for brands that get new ways to promote their products and for developers who will manage to attract new audiences to their games.

During the pandemic, the in-game world became a sound alternative to offline for media releases, openings and presentations of new products. A virtual 10-minute concert of a rapper Travis Scott took place in Fortnite, having gathered 27 million viewers and generated $20 million of total income online.

Besides, a trailer of Tenet, a new film by Christopher Nolan, was shown in Fortnite for the first time, demonstrated on a large virtual screen in one of game modes.

The year of 2020 mainly became a breakthrough for the game industry, which could quickly adapt and develop their audience under the pandemic circumstances. At that, more and more brands use e-sports and games in their marketing activities. Do not miss an opportunity to create your bright game integration in the Russian market in 2021, and RMAA Games experts will help you do it.


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About the Author

Marketing Director, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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