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Videogames Capture Consumer Attention image

Videogames Capture Consumer Attention

By Mark Seavy

As more consumers shift away from traditional content, the mobile games and videogames capturing their attention are also drawing interest from the licensing industry.

This change in dynamics is most visible among Gen Z and Alpha consumers, a significant trend given their potential buying power.

A recent survey by Fandom Inside Entertainment found 67% of fans spend the same amount of time, or more time, watching content or playing video games as they have in the past. However, 33% of respondents said they are now spending less time watching cable TV or in movie theaters—and the top activity they’re switching to is gaming (59%), according to the report.

The shift in content viewing habits has resulted in a greater recognition by game developers and publishers of the licensing potential for their titles. While licensing was once an afterthought for developers who were more focused on creating a game than building a brand, there is now an increased awareness of the opportunities that exist beyond the game itself.

Electronic Arts’ The Sims game, for example, signed a representation agreement with Brandgenuity to bring the franchise into licensing for the first time in categories like beauty, home goods, and fashion.  And outside of the console-oriented business, platforms like Roblox are providing fodder for licensing through the likes of Big Games’ Pet Simulator and Poppy Playtime.

And even though a number of young consumers are moving away from more traditional content, much of the licensing industry’s focus on gaming properties in recent months has been centered around the adaptation of beloved videogames for film and television.

There were 19 TV shows based on videogames airing last year, including Microsoft’s Halo on Paramount+, which ended its second season on March 21. And seven films based on videogames were released broadly in 2023—including The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Gran Turismo—up from two the prior year.

These videogame-based films posted $712.2 million in box office revenue in the U.S. in 2023, more than double what they generated the year before. Superhero films, meanwhile, took in $1 billion in the U.S., down 42% from the prior year.

“Videogames are immediately accessible so that, if you are playing on a console or mobile device, you can get access to the game quickly,” said Teri Niadna, Managing Director of Brandgenuity Europe. “That is a compelling way to capture a younger audience because that is how they work and live. It also is a means for making brands more culturally relevant and attainable to young people and that helps bring the next generation of customers on board early.”

And this appeal is truly global. The African games industry, for example, is forecast to generate $1 billion in revenue in 2024. The majority (92%) of the 2,500 game players surveyed by New Zoo for its report were active across Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa.

“The games are increasingly reaching a global audience and that will provide an opportunity for licensing outside the U.S. borders,” a licensing executive said. “And with the data available, we are going to be able to increasingly target global regions where a particular title is popular with licensed products.”

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  • Translation provided by Google Translate, please pardon any shortcomings