Is gaming advertising’s biggest missed opportunity?

With millions of eyeballs glued to games, why isn’t the ad industry taking advantage of them? We find out how social stigma and a lack of understanding is holding brands back

Earlier this year, Netflix announced its biggest competition. And it wasn’t another broadcaster, channel or streaming service – it was Fortnite, the online game that’s played by millions every month. It might seem like an unusual comparison, but as far as Netflix is concerned those are all precious eyeballs being stolen from its hours of original content.

And it’s not just Fornite that attracts huge numbers of people. A recent report by BBH Labs revealed that in 2018 games made more money than both the film and music industry combined. Seventy-five per cent of the Apple store revenue comes from gaming, and 70% of 16-24 year olds – that famously tricky demographic – play video games in the UK. Forget Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, a 2018 Ofcom report showed that gaming is more popular then all three of them. And when people aren’t actually playing games, they’re watching other people play them, with 50 billion hours of gaming content consumed on YouTube in the last year.

So with such huge audiences to command, why aren’t brands and ad agencies stampeding towards the game world?