What’s your idea of a serious video game player? Does it involve a dark basement in someone’s Mom’s house? Or does it involve an auditorium filled with thousands of fans with an announcer calling the action as gamers on stage compete for seven figure prizes?
Welcome to the new world of gaming, ladies and gentlemen. On this week’s CEO Exclusive I’m excited to welcome Andrew Greenberg, Executive Director of the Georgia Game Developers Association, and Mitch Leff, CEO of Leff & Associates, and a cofounder of the Georgia Entertainment PR Alliance. We talk about the growth of the gaming industry in Georgia, and implications for mid-market CEOs.
Get that Gaming is Growing in Georgia
More people in this day and age play video games than don’t. It’s a large and growing industry, and whether or not it’s your industry, it’s worth being aware of. ESports has become a large section of the entertainment industry, and as the rest of the industry has done, it’s established a large foothold in Georgia.
ESports Competitions usually consist of teams of two to five people competing against each other for prizes of up to eight figures. Teams are businesses in themselves, making money not only from cash prizes, but from sponsorship dollars, and advertising on their YouTube channels. Georgia has become a major location for these gaming competitions, which draw thousands of fans, and stream live to thousands more around the world.
Georgia has done an excellent job of incentivizing entertainment companies to do business here, thus building one of the largest entertainment ecosystems in the country.
Be Open to Different Skill Sets
The gaming industry has done a masterful job of promotion and community engagement, and brings with it a delightful array of new skill sets. We all have a lot we can learn from gaming.
Leff and Greenberg and their organizations have begun to host job fairs that coincide with ESports events, and they have, so far, been a great success.
As you consider building your team, here are a few things to consider in applicants who have a strong ESports background.
- have a strong technological affinity
- are used to working in teams
- are passionate about what they do
- are creative thinkers
- often have a great mix of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math – STEAM rather than just STEM
- have a great understanding of user interface
- are excellent at community engagement – gaming community managers must not only interact with their audience, but become a part of the community and predict what the customers need and want
These skill sets are being developed and nurtured within the gaming community, and are beginning to expand across other industries as well.
Look at How Your Business May Be Affected
Gaming is shifting the paradigm for audience participation. We all need to be paying attention.
Here’s some things to think about:
- As we mentioned above, gaming has one of the most robust community interaction systems out there. This allows an extraordinarily high amount of customer input into the product.
- This deep dive community involvement allows development of a highly effective user interface.
- High dollar competitions encourage users to spend hours with the games developing skills, which encourages a high amount of loyalty and in game purchases.
- Competitions are often funded by a certain set of purchasable in game items, such as certain weapons or articles of clothing – thus the amount of the prize is set by how much the users of the game put into the pot through purchases.
- Games are marketed in many ways, including by the gaming teams themselves as they earn funds through promoting game centered YouTube channels.
Keep your eye on the gaming community for innovative ways to market and engage with customer communities, and look at how you can utilize similar strategies in your industry.
Tap into Their Audience
It’s already happening that large companies are looking to associate their brands with top gamers. Successful teams are celebrities within certain demographics, and if you are targeting similar demographics, consider tapping in through marketing and sponsorship dollars. People and companies are taking video gamers seriously. Looking for ways to connect to team brands could engage customers more intimately with your brand as well.
No matter your industry, keeping an eye on new and fast-growing industries will help keep you alive and well in your own world. Being a successful CEO has a lot to do with being aware of the greater ecosystem, and for the foreseeable future, gaming is a world to watch and learn from.