18 Jul How the Gaming Industry is Staying Culturally Relevant
The video game industry has been one of the fastest growing industries of the 21st century, and with different cultural issues constantly occurring, they are one of the main industries that have managed to stay relevant and up to date on taking their stand on cultural issues.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, and following that, there were shut-downs of major cities, sporting events, and what used to be day to day activities. The gaming industry, however, took a major turn for the better with Covid-19. To encourage people staying home, video games made changes to assist in the issue of keeping people inside. For example, Twitch gained a great amount of attention during the pandemic and began having more streamers and watchers than ever before. During the month of April, Twitch saw a 50% increase from March, totaling 1.49 billion gaming hours watched. Along with there being an increase in gaming hours, the number of in-game events have also increased. With the increase of people being online, Fortnite had over 3.2 billion hours spent by players in-game, and along with that, 12 million views of an in-game Travis Scott concert. John ‘Johnnyboi_i’ MacDonald, one of the biggest streamers for the popular game, Rocket League, has been streaming different tournaments between Rocket League professionals to make up for the lack of the world championships occurring, and to encourage people to stay inside and not go out.
Covid-19 is not the only cultural shift that the gaming industry has kept up with. With recent developments in late May and June, there have been shifts in the gaming industry with companies using their brand voice to speak about the “Black Lives Matter” Movement. Many games, such as FIFA20, NBA 2K20, Rocket League, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare have put out notices that state that the game and companies that created them are in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Let us take the popular game, FIFA20 as an example. In the English Premier League (top soccer league in England), the jerseys that the players wear on game day no longer have the players’ names on the back, but instead now have “Black Lives Matter” in their place. FIFA20, in its latest patch to the game, have incorporated this into the game so that, when a player chooses to play as a Premier League team, the jerseys in game now also have “Black Lives Matter” in place of the players’ names. NBA 2K20 has also taken further steps to promote the movement. For starters, they gave the members of the 2K community free in game T-shirts for their created player that say, “I Can’t Breathe,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Their Names.” There have also been efforts from the community such as in-game protests done by the players in the free roam locations of the game.
The gaming community as a whole has been staying culturally relevant as well. Alongside Twitch, Mixer by Microsoft has been one of the top streaming platforms for professional players to broadcast their gameplay live. There have been recent situations brought to the public’s attention of a prejudicial work environment set forth by the management at Mixer. Former employee, Milan Lee, talks about numerous occasions in his report of when there were racist situations while he was working at Mixer. After the report came out, there was a large response and a lot of backlash directed at Mixer from the gaming community, and one of the most well-known gamers, Ninja, stated that he would no longer be streaming on Mixer as a result. Many of his fellow gamers have stated the same, and in return, Microsoft put out a statement saying they would be shutting down Mixer to partner with Facebook.
The way that my group of friends from college and I remain in contact other than just texting and social media platforms, is by playing video games during the nights of the week. It is great for us as consumers of games, such as Rocket League, FIFA, and Call of Duty, to see that they have been using their brand voice to speak out on social matters such as “Black Lives Matter.” To us, it shows that they are able to keep up with modern issues and are also aware of the impact that they can have by standing up for social justice due to the growth and net the industry casts in today’s society.
As the videogame community and the digital age continues to grow, it is important that they stay culturally relevant during these times so that they can help make an impact. Here at ACCL Marketing, we strive to do the same by not only staying culturally relevant, but by also following the trends in digital marketing and developing precise marketing strategies for your company. Contact us to find more.
Blog By: Zach Ramsey (Intern Summer 2020)