Apex Legends. Overwatch. Fortnite. I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of (who are we kidding, you’ve played) one of these games. At Tagboard we have an entire Slack channel dedicated to #games (#WorkHardPlayHard, you know?).
The truth is if you haven’t heard much about esports, get ready. You’re about to.
1 BILLION: number of tweets about gaming in 2018
500 MILLION: projected esports fan base worldwide by 2020
10.8 MILLION: Overwatch League grand final viewers
According to Adweek, 76% of fans say watching esports is taking away from time they used to watch traditional sports. Look, we’re not saying football and baseball are going anywhere. But neither is esports. And whether you’re a gamer or not, we can all level up by watching how esports companies are igniting a passionate community.
Speak with your viewers, not to them
Fifteen years ago, Nintendo was just launching the DS and we lived in a worlds of one-way storytelling. Stories were fueled by content created by companies, and told to us. Flash forward a decade. Destiny was brand new IP and social media was emerging, allowing immediate conversation and engagement around content. Today the best storytellers are seamlessly weaving in social media, turning static content into interactive stories.
‘Inside Xbox’ is a great example. Mighty Media Studios starts with a unique hashtag that unites its viewers in one common place (and makes finding the richest content easier for producers). Their viewers, like many esports fans, are passionate, opinionated, and witty, many bordering on hilarious. Their unique community shines through as the show’s social hosts interact with viewer comments on a touchscreen. A ticker keeps the social conversation prominent for nearly the entire show, without impeding on intricate game graphics.
Keep Your Fans Engaged, Even in the Downtime
The best kind of commercials are the ones that don’t feel like commercials. They are integrated into the content to the point it feels authentic. It adds value to the viewer. To see an expert at this, look no further than Blizzard’s Overwatch League. Watchpoint mixes sponsors in with OWL trivia, giving viewers a reason not to walk away during the break.
In addition to live streams, don’t forget about your rabid in-stadium audience. At Blizzcon, fans engaged with a constant stream of social content in-between games.
A look under the hood
Before social media, fans had to sit and wait for games to hit store shelves. They lapped up any morsel of information that companies would drop in advance. With social media in the equation, it’s an entirely new game (pun intended).
Ubisoft’s Developer Q&A series gave gamers a unique sneak peek at Far Cry New Dawn, weeks before the game’s release. It started an organic social conversation and built hype for the game, all while opening a 2-way dialogue between loyal fans and the developers behind their favorite games.
Facebook’s E3 Expo similarly gave gamers unparalleled access to game creators, figuratively squeezing a massive community onto one couch.
Ignite Some Friendly Competition
Esports has built an amazing community, but don’t be fooled. It’s a stiff competition. Leveraging social media allows you to take the competition beyond the players and bring your fans into the game. You could literally hear the crowd roar when Overwatch League revealed the winner of this hashtag battle on the arena jumbotron.
At the end of the day, your fans just want to join an authentic dialogue that serves them value. And esports is proving social media can be a booster in that conversation. And if you can entertain your viewers along the way? Game. Over.