The gaming market is already dwarfing the movie box office and as we’ve seen in the social media space and year ago in the internet space, eyeballs drive revenue. This is leading gaming companies to recruit popular gamers to help drive awareness of their latest games much the way consumer product companies are utilizing social media stars on Instagram and YouTube to drive product awareness and sales via product placement. It’s a very different way to advertise but advertisers have a history of going where the eyeballs are.
In today’s Digitial Lifestyle, that means streaming video and gaming platforms, live gaming events and various social media platforms. This could mean an advertising business model is to be had in Apple’s Apple Arcade, Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s rumored streaming gaming platform.
The world’s biggest videogame publishers are paying popular gamers tens of thousands of dollars to play their latest releases live over the internet, hoping to break through to buyers in a crowded industry where dominant games like “Fortnite” cast a large shadow.
Electronic Arts Inc., EA -1.58%Activision Blizzard Inc., ATVI -2.28%Ubisoft Entertainment SA and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. are among the publishers making hefty payouts for the real-time broadcasts, or live streams. The amounts vary depending on the popularity of the “streamer,” and could go as high as $50,000 an hour for top celebrity gamers, according to talent and marketing agents.
Take-Two plans to pay streamers to play “Borderlands 3” when the comedic shooter game launches Sept. 13. Ubisoft, an early adopter of the live-streaming strategy, plans to use it again for the Oct. 4 release of its special-ops shooter game “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint.”
“Having celebrity streamers play games is an important part of the business,” Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two’s chief executive, said in an interview. “It is relatively new, but it has to be organic. The streamers have to believe in it.”