Video games, being on a console or online, experienced an activity peak during the 2010s, notably with the creation of Twitch – a video game live streaming platform, strongly focused on video games or esports broadcasts. The latter exploded during the Covid-19 crisis since people had to stay home, which inevitably encouraged them to spend more time online.
“64% of gamers say they value video games because they make them feel less lonely, and that it helps them connect with other people” – StudyFinds, 2022
Platforms such as Twitch, Discord, or even YouTube, represent without doubt a natural springboard for gamefluencers to build and expand their community. Live streaming has considerably upscaled during the pandemic-related lockdowns. A 2021 YouGove & Stream Hatchet report reveals that the rise in demand for gaming content was followed by a “significant increase in the number of game streamers who broadcast content, with more and more mid-sized and micro influencers entering the scene”.
Data from Stream Hatchet indicate for instance that, on Twitch, there were 4.3 million channels broadcasting live content in Q3 2019, while the rate flourished up to 11.4 million in Q2 2021.
One of the main advantages of such platforms is the ability to – rather easily – create niche communities. This way streamers are sure to reach organically the target audience you want to address. Also, Twitch – more than the two others – enable them to both game and interact with their viewer audience – that can comment on the stream chat in real time.
On a side note, it is important to note that social media such as Instagram or TikTok inspired from this streaming format to offer influencers – or even random users – the possibility to go live and engage directly with their audience. And there is still this similar comment system where viewers can comment in real time, anytime.
Luxury brands labels decided to step up their game and surf on this gaming trend. Back in 2020, Balenciaga created for instance a video game-VR world entitled “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow” so their fans could virtually discover their Fall 2021 collection. On its side, Gucci has also pushed boundaries to “craft the unexpected” across gaming platforms, being through Gucci Arcade or Animal Crossing.
Gamefluence encompasses three strong factors that can enhance engagement and loyalness. Here they are:
- Deep connection: gamefluencers open a part of their personal life, real and unfiltered, and are hence more natural and spontaneous, as they share more than their passion. It automatically creates this chemistry and special bond with their respective audience
- Humor: being able to make viewers laugh and overtime, generating inside jokes – incorporating specific references that only a community will get. Which means that “Signaling closeness and camaraderie, shared humor rewards viewers for being part of the in-group”.
- Representation: as the last two points imply, gaming offers its influencers to be their true and most authentic self. Then viewers can always find a streamer that they can relate to, who “[showcase] diversity, bringing like-minded people together and providing a safe space for their followers to express themselves”.
These factors are associated with core values such as joy, intimacy, and inclusion. Just as many elements that brands could use to widen their marketing and communication strategy to reach their target audience. As mentioned in the recent We Are Social gamefluencer report, “when done right, gamefluencer partnerships have the potential to ignite brand love and engage audiences at a larger scale than almost any other social channel out there”.