Remember when EDM festivals became a thing? Ya… we’re beginning to feel old as well. Regional gaming tournaments have taken a page from the model and are now touring and very well might be visiting a city near you. Dreamhack, a Swedish production company specializing in eSports Tournaments, organized eleven events in six different countries last year supporting games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, CSGO, Fortnite, League of Legends, and more. Their combined tournaments in fiscal year 2017 reached over 90 million viewers and 250,000 real life attendees. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder why esports production companies are on the rise. Brands such as Call of Duty World League, ESP Gaming, and Big Blue Esports are pioneering the formation of esports for many different titles.
This trend, in combination with communities respective GG and ladder sites, is removing the disconnect between major tournaments in order to make their own league. It’s only a matter of time before we see games beyond League of Legends, Counter Strike, and Starcraft host their own World Championships.
Chat Servers for Subs
We’re not going to bore you with gaming viewership stats you’ve seen parroted by your Ernst and Young buddy on LinkedIn. However, what stats like Twitch seeing 9.7 million daily active users, half of Twitch users spending 20 or more hours per week on the platform, and 2.5 billion hours of view time for gaming streamers in the first quarter of 2018 tells us is that gamers are engaged unlike any other community.
We are guilty of this at Gamer Hustle, meeting Mang0 for the first time was better to me than shaking hands with John Paul Jones. These gaming content creators are rock stars and a big reason for our obsessive viewership stems from the interconnected community platforms like Twitch and YouTube have created. Getting the chance to support your favorite gaming creators and talk to them during a stream or in Youtube comments is why those viewership stats continue to accelerate.
Given the fact that these gamers have real lives, and can only stream/make videos so many hours a day, the best way to keep the party going is with chat applications like Discord. We expect creators building out their brand by using Discord to create a home base for their viewers to be a major trend in 2018. Gaming influencers can use this tool as a hub to connect all of their social media, have live voice chats with subs, poll followers, and collaborate with other creators.
Game Publisher Content Creator Programs
In the past few years, we have witnessed a major surge in YouTube Gaming Influencers making walkthrough, strategy, and news content for their favorite mobile games. Prime examples of this are Dorky Dave for the game Marvel Contest of Champions, Mobile Gamer for Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, and General Tony for Clash of Clans. If you’ve been hooked on a mobile game, you’re well aware of how important these creators are to how players view the game.
Gaming publishers have noticed the same and are giving these creators early access to new releases, flying the creators to their studios, and utilizing them to issue major news announcements. YouTube issued a study on the subject which revealed 95% of gamers watch video content for games they play. Furthermore, 47% of video content for a game comes from creators in the community. It would be unwise for publishers to ignore the creators responsible for making half of the games video content. Also, there is certainly a major trust deficit between how gamers view gaming influencers vs. how they view publishers.
Companies such as EA have embraced their creators in the form of their Game Changers EA Community Partnership Program. Given the symbiotic benefit of such relationships, we expect to see many more publishers follow suite in 2018.
Mobile Esports Gaining Traction
Streaming mobile games has always been a chore and it’s only been a little over a year since Twitch introduced mobile app cam streaming. You wouldn’t know this if you were to look at the stats. Supercell’s Clash Royale tournament last year had over 27.4 million participants and newest figures from Newzoo indicate the mobile revenue will surpass console and pc combined to 51% of the total market in 2018.
With major new MOBA releases like Vainglory and Arena of Valor, we see more and more content being made for these titles in a competitive format. It’s definitely early innings for competitive mobile gaming but that hasn’t stopped esports teams such as IMMORTALS from sponsoring players for Clash Royale and Arena of Valor.
Content Creators Taking Control of Their Own Marketing
It seemed like every YouTube creator took a major revenue hit when Adpocalypse occurred last year. YouTube made a major change in how they place ads by implementing a theme-guided algorithm. Many creators noticed a substantial drop in ad revenue and increased demonetization for “Not Advertiser-Friendly” content. Things have only become worse with how ambiguous the AI works and YouTube’s vague guidelines. This action most notably affected gaming YouTube channels who are known for playing graphic games. Gaming channels are prime real estate for advertising and deserve to be compensated for the awesome content they deliver.
So in 2018 we see major growth of gaming influencers taking control of their own marketing. Why? Because there is no reason they shouldn’t.
Gaming content creators have the best audience to connect with. According to a Google white-paper, 64% of gamers have downloaded a game after seeing it on Youtube. Furthermore, gamers are 1.5x more likely to purchase a product online compared to your average consumer. There is simply not a more cost-effective way to market your game. Sean Smith, a Forbes contributor, explains how effective using gaming influencer marketing was for a client of his: “I’ve worked on projects such as one that led to 30,000 beta signups in 24 hours from one YouTube video pitching a service on a channel that had 40,000 subscribers. That was only one of three videos produced for that project, and the entire project cost was $1,500. If you do the math on that, the cost per acquisition is astounding.”
Finding the right gaming influencer is the key to a successful campaign, more so than their reach. Veli-Pekka Piirainen, founder of Critical Force, details this point in an interview with gamesindustry.biz “If you work with the big ones you have to pay $10,000 to make one video, and that’s it. Then they play something else,” he said. “[We] partner with small ones, and we have the same kind of programme: if they get more subscriptions, they get more support from us.” … “According to Piirainen, a video featured in this way for a single week can increase a YouTuber’s subscribers by between 5,000 and 15,000; a very significant change for smaller influencers, some of whom have now built careers on working with Critical Force in this way.”
Full disclosure, this is a bit of a shameless plug, but our goal here at Gamer Hustle is to help gaming influencers to control their revenue and monetize their channel as they see best. Our platform makes it easy for brands to connect with gaming influencers for sponsorships and influencer marketing campaigns. Brands can search for content creators on our platform and filter by reach, social media platforms, games, and content type. They can also check out historic graphical KPI data for the creators channels, see previous campaigns the creator has done for brands, and reach out to them without dealing with neglected email addresses. Brands and gaming influencers can run performance-based YouTube campaigns where the creator is paid automatically for every 1,000 views the video receives. Gamer Hustle also makes it easy to manage all of your sponsorships. Use the tools in our Sponsorships Dashboard to assign tasks, analyze impression & engagement data, and quickly review new uploads.