eSports: Is it time for brands to get in the game?

Video games are no longer the favorite subject only among children and adolescents. For a while now, they have started to get a lot more attention – and here we can even include the brands. This is a market worth over US$ 150 billion and has left the entertainment business to come up with everything

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Video games are no longer the favorite subject only among children and adolescents. For a while now, they have started to get a lot more attention – and here we can even include the brands. This is a market worth over US$ 150 billion and has left the entertainment business to come up with everything in a new category: eSports.

With over 450 million fans across the planet, you can understand very well why the business world began to take an interest in the gaming world. Just to get an idea of how this sector turned into a fever, in 2018 the League of Legends World Championship (one of the top online games) drew 200 million viewers, while the Super Bowl final ( largest sporting event in the world), hit “only” 99 million people.

With these impressive numbers, one thing is fact: ignoring all success is not an option. But is it time for brands to invest in this trend as well?

The eSports Market in Brazil

If someone thinks that “electronic sports” are huge powers in Asia and the United States alone, it’s good to change your mind. Here in Brazil, the eSports audience has already grown to over 20 million people, which makes us the third largest fan in the world – behind only China and the US.

And it is exactly this popularity that has made games not only a sport, but a business. Today, the championships are broadcast live on various sports channels in Brazil. In addition, athletes have become international stars and the invested money are already worthy of any worldwide phenomenon.

But, along with all these factors, what has attracted the attention of brands to this universe is the possibility of communicating with very strategic audiences. Here in Brazil, for example, eSports is one of the fastest growing sectors among Generation Z, and currently the portion that most accompanies the scene is in the 25-34 age group (millennials). These are two very demanding audiences when it comes to brand engagement, so games can be interesting platforms when it comes to building a good relationship through ads, promotions, and even packaging.

Entering the game (even if catiously)

Since the explosion of games is still relatively recent, talking about ensuring success for corporate strategies can be risky. It is true that the market is presenting itself as a trend, but there is still not much clarity about what can work and what can go very wrong.

However, some organizations have been quite creative in this area, such as Red Bull (which hosts a League of Legends international tournament with live finals in São Paulo) and Netshoes (which has a team of players specializing in the game FIFA and sponsors the team in national and international championships).

Miller Lite, on the other hand, was able to transform the exterior of its beer packaging into a bluetooth video game controller. The can was developed for E3 – one of the main fairs dedicated to the gaming world – and has 10 buttons and USB charging.

Fusion Energy Drink went even further. In a special edition honoring Rainbow Six Siege fans, the company coded game data (such as maps, equipment, and the best recorded matches) into microscopic DNA molecules. These particles were then inserted into the brand’s energetic in 1,500 cans that were distributed to players and influencers.

The whole idea is for each person to keep the collectible packaging (without consuming the drink!) So that, in a few years, a technology not yet invented would allow the reading of all stored data.

From all that, you are sure that eSports success is really something to pay attention to. After all, in addition to winning over many people around the world, electronic games have made sense to investors and brands because of their strategic potential. You can’t stay out of this trend, do you agree?