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New Video Games are Here: Who’s Advertising?

New Video Games are Here: Who’s Advertising?

The past year and a half has been exciting for the world of gaming. As an alternative to social media and Netflix titles, socially distanced people flocked to gaming platforms. 

Whether it was attending Travis Scott’s unforgettable concert in Fortnite or buying a Marc Jacobs outfit in Animal Crossing, people found enjoyment in their virtual worlds. 

August saw many new releases. Did top advertising brands line up with popular launches? 

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Gaming receives more investment

With all the surging activity during COVID, companies have been investing heavily in video games. 

Roblox went public in March and was quickly worth more than $45 billion. The online gaming platform, or self-described metaverse, allows players (primarily young tweens) to play and develop their own virtual worlds.

CEO David Baszucki told Fast Company that the Roblox team members were the “toolmakers,” and “our developers are the real creative geniuses.” By developers, he’s referring to the 2 million creators who sell their games and in-game upgrades on the platform. 

Along with Roblox, Amazon has been stepping up its gaming efforts. It’s original game New World has been receiving a lot of attention and will be fully released next month. Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy believes that though Amazon Game Studios has struggled, the business has a good future ahead of it. 

“Though we haven’t consistently succeeded yet in AGS, I believe we will hang in there,” he said. 

Netflix has also told investors it’d be investing more in video games—though it will be taking a more incremental approach than its competitors. Though video games are not obvious competitors, video game activity takes screen time away from TV and film watching. And Gen Z has ranked playing video games as their favorite entertainment activity, according to Deloitte. To stay relevant, Netflix will have to invest in a new form of content.

August typically represents the beginning of the video game industry’s busy launch season. Top video games that have been recently released (at least in Beta) include: Amazon’s New World, the Back 4 Blood beta, Dean Hall’s Icarus, Hades, Grime and many more. 

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With many new games coming out, how is ad spend lining up with the popular launches?

Video Games

This year so far, video game advertising spend has totaled $421.2 million. This is up 17% from the same period in 2020 (Jan – Aug), where spend totaled $360 million.

Though new launches from Icarus, Hades, and New World are gathering much attention among gamers, they are not the top spending advertisers. 

Top advertisers include: The Elder Scrolls, Hero Wars, Rockstar Games, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, and Final Fantasy XIV Online.

The Elder Scrolls Ad Creative
Final Fantasy XIV Online Ad Creative
Grand Theft Auto Five Ad Creative

Together, their spend adds up to $78 million.

Video Game Consoles and Streaming Platforms

Video game consoles, streaming and distributors like Steam, Twitch, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch are increasing their ad spend. 

So far, they’ve spent 36% more this year than they did during the same time period in 2020. 

These companies have spent $45mm in 2021 so far compared to $33mm in 2020.

While they’ve been increasing their spend, they’ve also been diversifying where they buy. Though TV spend accounted for the majority of ad spend in 2020 (51%), TV advertising for video game consoles, streaming, and distributors has fallen to 42% in 2021.

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