The co-founder of Gamezop shares why platforms as well as advertisers see casual gaming as a more viable option to reach out to a wider audience.
The gaming industry in India has witnessed quite a boom over the past two years, i.e, during COVID. This sharp increase in consumer interest has not escaped the attention of brands.
As per an InMobi report, six out of 10 advertisers started leveraging mobile gaming as a medium to advertise only during the pandemic. "In India, somewhere between 400 to 500 million internet users play games. The reason why advertiser interest has increased is because the number of consumer eyeballs glued to gaming has also increased significantly over the last couple of years. Brands have started to recognise gaming as more legit source of entertainment for the general audience,"says Gaurav Agarwal, co-founder, Gamezop.
The pandemic saw gaming become a legitimate source of entertainment for people. Agarwal says this was due to the fact that, during the pandemic, gaming companies did a good job of finding their way to non-gamers as well as delivering engaging experiences.
“The interest in gaming hasn’t declined post-COVID. With Gamezop and Quizzop, we are adding new users at a rate that is significantly greater than what it was pre-pandemic.”
Gamezop is a plug-and-play gaming platform that any non-gaming app or website can use to add a gaming section for their users. Gamezop also operates Quizzop, a quizzing platform that products can add as a trivia section. If any product wants to increase the time spent by their users, adding games and quizzes is becoming a popular option.
Over 5,000 apps and websites have partnered with Gamezop to add games for their users. These include the likes of Amazon, Paytm, Samsung Internet, Tata Play, Snapchat, and Oyo.
"We have a wide collection of HTML5 games that can work smoothly within any app or website without the need for any installation. Games and quizzes increase user engagement significantly within any product, besides opening a new stream of revenue," Agarwal shares.
"What we do is embed games within the platform of our collaborators. Their users can consume their content, while simultaneously engaging with a small video game," Agarwal mentions.
Thus, the consumer isn't required to download a game, but will get a host of games, while engaging with another platform.
"Through our large network of partners, we reach over 45 million users each month. This opens up a great opportunity for advertising on our inventory. We monetise our games with premium brand campaigns and share a percentage of the revenue we make with our partners."
The concept of Gamezop, and having games within apps that one regularly visits, may be an effective way to engage a casual gamer; someone who isn't inclined to play heavy games that require a lot of practice. Agarwal says that casual games have a universal appeal. People across genders, age groups, and locations can enjoy them.
"Anybody with a smartphone, irrespective of age, can indulge in casual gameplay, but not everybody will play a game like Call of Duty. Mid-core and hardcore games target a niche segment of the gaming market. People who play mid-core and hardcore games usually have very similar demographic profiles: young men between the age group of 16 and 35. But that is not the case for casual games. Casual gamers are the most diverse group on the internet and allow brands the highest degree of granular targeting. Advertisers with all kinds of marketing goals and budgets can turn to casual games as they penetrate to every segment of society," Agarwal said.
So, while these hardcore games and content around them would be seeing more targeting advertisements, the demographic target for advertisers with casual games is much larger.
Owing to the sheer size of the number of people that visit Gamezop, Agarwal says there isn't a single advertiser segment that isn't spending on the gaming platform. However, he shares that OTT platforms, e-commerce players, FMCG products, and food delivery companies, have historically spent the most money to buy advertising inventory on the platform.
However, he shares that OTT platforms, e-commerce, FMCG products, and food delivery platforms, have had the greatest spend on ads on Gamezop.
Gamezop doesn't develop the HTML5 games that are featured on its platform. They outsource the game development to developers around the world depending on their requirements.
"We have seen that different platforms want to add different types of games. A user on a platform like Amazon may want to consume slightly different games compared to a user on MX Player. We have seen that platforms, after working with us for some time, clearly identify gaming categories that are working better for them. Hence, we have games across all the key gaming categories," he said.
By key categories, Agarwal classifies casual gaming into Sports & Racing, Puzzles & Logic, Adventure, among others. "We are very genre agnostic when it comes to acquiring good titles. Of course, the game has to meet certain criteria. It needs to have a trendy art style, it needs to have good depth, it needs to be optimized well so that performance is not an issue on any device."
Opining on what 2023 would bring for the gaming industry in terms of ads, Agarwal says, "I think that games are going to get more engaging and more and more number of non-gamers will continue to become casual gamers. Moving forward, I believe new age brands, which are obviously beginning to significantly influence overall marketing trends in the country, will continue to find value in gaming inventory."
With dentsu reporting that the country will have about 700 million gamers in 2025, the prospect of gaming for advertisers is only about to increase. In this, casual gaming will definitely hold the lion's share.