Social Media Coordinator


The gaming community - it's well connected

Gaming is not only about accumulating XP and loot boxes. As a result of their hobby, gamers often find themselves connected to vast communities of fellow enthusiasts, their esports heroes, and lifelong friends, among others.

As gaming is a digital format, critics seem to assume that gaming benefits reside solely in the online realm. To quash this nonsensical belief, we’ve put together a selection of ways that gaming leads to tangible, authentic connections to others, both online and offline.

communities of enthusiasts

Gamers use their shared passion to form bonds over particular gaming titles, meaning they can bump into a fellow fan and immediately spark a connection, as previous generations may have done with their favourite sports teams.

Some have argued that for brands to fully utilise these gaming communities, we should consider them as “borderless cities” due to the sheer strength of the bond between gamers in these communities.

Gamers connect by lending each other helping hands within these communities, whether that be dedicated fans who meet up in arcades to have Street Fighter tournaments, World of Worldcraft players who collaborate to ‘theorycraft’ on online forums or networks of volunteer scouts who contribute player stats to Football Manager.

esports fandom

Esports is also a space in which connected communities are at the fore.

67% of esports fans say that they’ve made new friends or acquaintances through the games they watch, and half of esports followers prefer to watch esports with other friends or family.

This should not come as a surprise for anyone engaged in the esports space, as they will be well aware that the medium emulates the same hearty passion and fan bonding as traditional sport does.

The only difference from traditional sport is that esports fans are able to form deeper bonds with their favourite players – a connection which brands should cherish as this makes esports fans more receptive to esports advertising.

The beauty of platforms like Twitch is that fans can directly interact with their esports heroes on live streams. This is essentially akin to a football fan being offered a direct stream to ask for insight about an outrageous overhead kick, and it is lapped up by esports fans.

“If you want to work with gamers, you really have to convince them that you’re adding something that makes the gaming space better.”

Source: FIFA

authentic brand ties

Gamers cherish authenticity, meaning that if brands are able to align with the world of a specific game, strong relationships between brand and consumer can be formed.

“The thing about gamers is, they’re incredibly quick to smell a rat,” said Mark Bassett, head of digital partnerships at the Branded Entertainment Network (BEN). “If you want to work with them, you really have to convince them that you’re adding something that makes the gaming space better.”

This opens the door for brands to forge authentic connections with gamers when they strike the correct balance between advertising and unaffected gameplay.

A great example includes the CALM collaboration with EA Sports, offering FIFA players the opportunity to wear CALM football shirts, a sentiment gamers supported as it spread mental health awareness, while reinforcing the message that gaming provided social interaction for many who were starved of a social life during lockdown.

If a brand message is on the money, gamers will come out in full force to support an ad campaign.

online relationships

Virtual worlds are a fertile ground for new friendships and even romance.

Gaming connections can evolve into relationships which would otherwise never exist, proven by avid gamer Sandra Grauschopf’s marriage. A male gamer was tempted to assassinate her on World of Worldcraft, but luckily opted to spark a conversation, and the rest is history – they are now happily married with one child! Sandra writes: “My love of games was powerful enough to forge connections across many miles and to bridge oceans.”

Friendships are also likely to flourish online. The shared bond of gaming means that multiplayer games can often embody a welcoming space for gamers to socialise, shown by the fact that 54% of teens play online with people they only know virtually.

strengthening real-world interactions

Gaming is used by many to establish blossoming relationships they know from those they meet in real life. To emphasise this, a quarter of teens use their gaming handle as a form of contact. Looks like the phone number is old news.

But in what manner do gamers then connect online? Two researchers dug into whether gamers focused on socio-emotive messages – some of these included “yeah, I agree with you,” and “wow, that was funny” – or task orientated messages that focused on the game – such as “how do you open this door?” or “just practice some more.”

It was discovered that their messages were overwhelmingly positive and that there were 3 times more socio-emotive messages in multiplayer online games than task-orientated ones, showing that gamers use their hobby to give fellow players a pat on the back rather than scream at them through the mic for missing an easy COD kill or FIFA goalscoring opportunity.

On top of this, gaming is a useful way to practice socialising when physical relationships are a hurdle, hence why gaming is often a useful means of communication for those with depression, anxiety or autism