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By Rumbi Pfende: Head of Advertising Europe, GameHouse, http://www.gamehouse.com/

The global gaming market is now worth a staggering $70.4bn, representing a 6% year-on-year increase according to a study by Newzoo, commissioned by GameHouse earlier this year. Clearly, gaming has cemented its position as a credible media channel and now represents a huge opportunity for marketers. However, how can we harness this vast resource and tap into the 1.2bn hyper engaged gamers who make up this global market?

Take a moment to think about how far gaming has come in a relatively short space of time – its growth over the last few years has been astonishing. This is in no small way due to the exponential rise in the popularity of Mobile gaming, which this year enjoyed a 35% year-on-year increase (Newzoo, 2013) and has been the driving force behind growth in the whole market. Furthermore, this year, for the first time ever, Mobile overtook Console gaming in terms of popularity (80% of all gamers now play on mobile), with Social and Casual gaming also achieving large increases (up by 11% and 10% respectively) (Newzoo, 2013).

By stark comparison, the Console segment stagnated, with 1% year-on-year growth in player numbers and a 1% contraction in worldwide spending (Newzoo, 2013). This evolution away from Console gaming and towards Mobile, Social and Casual platforms obviously represents an exciting new opportunity for marketers to reach this highly engaged and targeted group of consumers who, thanks to the popularity of smartphones and tablets are now reachable anywhere and at any time. This concept of ‘24/7 engagement’ is illustrated by the research, which found that, each day, 66m hours are spent playing games in the UK, representing a 20% increase on last year (Newzoo, 2013).

So, how can marketers adapt to this change in consumer preferences when it comes to gaming? We are all aware of the banner ads that have become the standard when it comes to advertising in Mobile, Social and Casual games, and whilst they are undoubtedly still effective, many brands are now looking towards a more innovative brand integration model, achieved through partnerships with game developers and sales houses such as GameHouse, whereby the brand quite literally becomes an integral part of the ‘fixtures and fittings’ of the game through product placement and incentivised rewards schemes. Interestingly, the research appears to back up this strategy, with more than a third of UK gamers (35%) agreeing or strongly agreeing that the inclusion of brands adds to their overall enjoyment of games and makes them more realistic (Newzoo, 2013).

Clearly, Gaming has now established itself on the scene, with Mobile playing the lead for the first time, knocking Console gaming off the top spot. Therefore, with such a rapidly evolving and dynamic market, there is now a real need for marketers to move with the times to ensure that their brand is firmly (and in some cases quite literally) positioned in the right place and at the right time within the Mobile, Social and Casual gaming landscape.

Published on: 10:04AM on 19th September 2013