Fandom has published its annual state of gaming report, which looks at trends and issues facing games. There’s no tabletop insight, Fandom having sold D&D Beyond to Wizards of the Coast and Cortex to Dire Wolf.
- Instead, there’s;
- An NFT summary,
- A metaverse summary,
- A subscriptions and bundles summary, and
- A competitive gaming summary.
Fandom starts with NFTs, noting that gamers dislike them, but in a move that suggests the wiki empire wants to do NFTs, the report says that gamers may not understand NFTs. The evidence for this? When presented with the benefits of NFTs, Fandom notes that gamers like the benefits.
Is that fair, though? Did gamers get the chance to weigh the negative with the positive, or did they just get asked to say, “I’d like that” when presented with a likeable thing? Notably, in the NFT debate, are these benefits exclusively achieved by NFTs?
State of Gaming: NFTs
Consumers are responding to narrow use cases for NFTs that have dominated headlines. When presented with benefits without the NFT label surrounding them, opinions were far more positive – suggesting that with education (and perhaps some rebranding), NFTs can deliver value to gamers.
– Stephanie Fried, CMO of Fandom
Here’s Fandom’s bullet point summary.
- Overall, NFTs have an overwhelmingly unpopular perception among gamers, with the vast majority finding them not necessary whatsoever. In fact, only 7% of consumers think NFTs are an important part of the gaming landscape.
- Additionally, only 13% are interested in their evolution in gaming or find them to be an interesting incentive for community involvement.
- The majority (72%) have a very negative perception around NFTs because they are:
- Unwise investments monetarily (46%)
- Unknown risks (i.e. long-term value, buying/selling potential, unverified assets etc.) (40%)
- Still too new of a concept (35%)
- There’s also a significant knowledge gap – only 67% of consumers have either a basic or no understanding of NFTs and only 9% of gamers own NFTs.
- Only 13% of gamers claim that NFTs and other blockchain technology will springboard innovation in the gaming space, and 88% claim that being able to pay-to-win in any capacity is bad for the player.
- But – once users were presented with the potential benefits of NFTs in the gaming space without the NFT label associated with them, perception shifted. Fans told us they are most interested in the following opportunities that NFTs in gaming could provide:
- Players being able to create their own items accessible to all players in-game (47%)
- Being able to earn unique items that you can use in-game (37%)
- Having items transferable in between games (32%)
State of Gaming: Metaverse
Fandom notes that, as with NFTs, gamers don’t actually understand the metaverse. I think there’s some tension between two leading subjects in a state of gaming survey, both being topics that gamers are evidently showing some ambivalence to (or would understand better) and these revelations. I like the revelations, though, it certainly might steer brands in new directions.
I also wonder whether Fandom defined the metaverse for people in the survey and, if not, what their definition of it was.
The metaverse allows fans to socialize, compete and explore a world that is different from their own. While players have adopted the concept, it doesn’t mean that all brands should start greenlighting metaverse solutions. Rather than focusing broadly on a “metaverse strategy,” brands need to meet fans where they are – on specific games and platforms like Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox – and create smart branded environments that add to the fan’s experience in a meaningful way.
– Anthony Iaffaldano, VP of Sales Marketing & Insights, Fandom
Fandom’s metaverse findings are;
Fans claim that the metaverse positively impacts real-life skills such as:
- Creativity (67%)
- Self Expressions (50%)
- Social Skills (48%)
- Players are spending more time gaming in the metaverse than ever before – but the metaverse is not as far reaching as it seems.
- Players spend most of their time exploring a game’s metaverse for which they are already familiar; they tend not to venture into a metaverse without a previous relationship or connection.
- While the concept of the metaverse isn’t new, it has increased in attention because of adjacent advancements in technology like Web3, as well as pandemic-triggered digital adoption and coverage in the mainstream media.
- For those who do play in the metaverse, the top reasons why include:
- Explore worlds with which they’re mostly familiar (72%)
- Compete with other gamers (45%)
- Connect socially with other gamers (41%)
- Control and ownership (39%)
- Still, brand integration trails behind other consumer interests in the metaverse:
- 54% of players are excited to see the metaverse evolve
- Only 33% expect to see real-life brands have a presence in the metaverse
- Only 28% claim that brands having items in the metaverse would change their perception in real life
- Players are much more excited about the potential for creator-led content in metaverse spaces vs. advertiser funded content
- 30% are excited about content funded by advertisers vs. 64% excited about content created by other players (User generated content)
- So while there is a lot of excitement and positive sentiment around gaming in metaverse environments – brand involvement must be player-led to be successful
- Where then can brands make their mark? The majority of consumers (72%) are open to using the metaverse for non-gaming experiences and activities, including:
- Socializing with others (37%)
- Watching TV and Movies (35%)
- Listening to and watching concerts (26%)
- Shopping (17%)
- Celebrity meet-and-greets (13%)
- Sporting events (9%)
- Ultimately, 76% of fans say they have played games in the metaverse, with 48% having spent more time gaming in the metaverse than they have in the past.
State of Gaming: Subscriptions and Bundles
Do gamers at least know what subscriptions are? Well, it turns out that here too Fandom found confusion. Once again, according to the ad platform, gamers are frustratingly not seeing the value being offered to them. I wonder if there’s a reason for that, though! Gamers, I’d counter, are pretty darn savvy.
With the influx of new services available to gamers, the majority of players don’t see the value in subscriptions as it’s not conducive to how they game. The best way to entice gamers to subscription services? Bundle them with entertainment, food, fashion and other services outside of gaming or offer them free games or incentives for in-game purchases.
– Ali Saraniti, Director of Sales Research & Insights, Fandom
Fandom’s helpful bullet point summary follows;
- Despite the spike in bundles and new subscription offers, less than half of consumers (41%) see the value in these types of offerings. This is different to streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and others where content library and original programming are the key indicators for subscription.
- Similar to streaming services, players are getting fatigued with all the options in the marketplace, with 53% confused by all of the various subscriptions and bundles that are available for gaming.
- As a result, the majority of consumers (57%) believe that gaming subscriptions are not conducive to the way they play games:
- 30% of players only like a handful of games
- 25% don’t play enough games to warrant a subscription
- 14% say there currently isn’t a single service that has offers all the games they want to play
- Only 30% of consumers subscribe to a gaming subscription service with the current leaders:
- Xbox Game Pass (53% of those who subscribe to a service)
- Nintendo Switch Online (44% of those who subscribe to a service)
- Playstation (21% of those who subscribe to a service)
- 42% of consumers would consider subscribing to a service if they were given incentives such as:
- Accumulate points for free games (58%)
- Receive discounts on digital purchases (48%)
- Earn points for in-game purchases (46%)
- To help justify the cost, 73% of gamers are open to bundling their gaming subscription with another service (i.e. entertainment, fashion, meal etc.) – yet players are 33% more likely to want to bundle with an entertainment subscription service as opposed to another gaming service.
State of Gaming: Competitive Gaming
Do gamers understand this? Yes, at least, Fandom found no evidence otherwise! Also, Competitive Gaming includes eSports but I think it’s a much better name for game playing at a professional level as so many computer games are a poor match for the name ‘sport’.
The rise in multiplayer games has opened up the door for brands to focus efforts around a competitive gaming audience. Many turn to tournaments and livestreams as the most valued format for reaching this audience. However, there is opportunity to align within the world of competitive gaming beyond live streams – creating demand for an entirely new category of content and connection within the gaming community.
– Stephanie Fried, CMO of Fandom
The key findings;
- 40% of the people surveyed watch competitive gaming content in some capacity.
- Of those that watch, the leading ways fans interact are:
- Live streams (69%)
- Tournaments (57%)
- Yet, 61% of consumers are interested in competitive gaming content beyond just tournaments and livestreams:
- Post Match Breakdowns (57%)
- Tournament/team/player breakdown (54%)
- Pro-player interviews (41%)
- Influencer Co-streams (40%)
- But what is the leading motivation for people turning to competitive gaming/esports in the first place? Leading reason are
- Perfecting their own skill (65%)
- Community (53%)
- As a result, 78% of fans are more likely to follow genres that they actually play, prioritizing interests for specific games (66%) over streamers (34%) and teams (17%).
- Surprisingly, first-person shooter & fighting genres lead the fan-favorite gaming category, with battle royale coming in third. According to fans, top competitive gaming genres are:
- First-Person Shooter (i.e. Rainbow Six, Counter Strike, COD etc. (48%)
- Fighting (i.e. Street Fighter, Tekken, Super Smash Bros.) (36%)
- Battle Royale (i.e. Fortnite, PUBG, Apex Legend) (36%)
- 90% of gamers claim that game content is a crucial part of game play.
- Knowing that players are leaning into esports and competitive gaming as a way to become a better gamer, what other content is important to their game play? Players rank:
- Guides (90%) and Character Lore & Tips & Tricks (87%) videos are most important to improving their own gameplay
- Players rank streamers (77%) and live streams (66%) the least important game content
What are your thoughts? Strike up a discussion and leave a comment below.