Advertising Campaigns in Gaming

The popularity of gaming has been increasing in the past few years, and has practically skyrocketed during the pandemic. The importance of advertising campaigns for games has also increased along with this increase in gaming’s popularity.

With more and more people turning to virtual forms of entertainment and escape, advertising campaigns in the gaming industry are going to  receive an even bigger role and presence than they have in the past. Gaming advertising along with gaming display advertising is all about getting the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

Before the pandemic hit the world, the gaming industry was already seeing an upward trend in popularity, with a 9% yearly increase in popularity, and the pandemic only sped up that growth. In fact by 2023 the industry’s revenue is expected to exceed $200 billion.

Even if they don’t realize it, plenty of people are already considered to be gamers. Additionally, gaming isn’t what it used to be, as people no longer see gamers as   those hiding in  dark rooms for days, trying to reach the next level in their favorite game. These days, gaming is  largely a part of the mainstream, mostly due to the popularity of mobile tech and games such as Animal Crossing. These groups of people that play games are very engaged and are a growing and diverse audience.

Sega vs Nintendo

The first boost to gaming that helped bring it into the mainstream happened a few decades ago, in the late 80s. This boost was defined by the rivalry between two industry giants– Nintendo and Sega. The original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which had Super Mario as its main game, was competing and winning against  the Master System by Sega.

That’s when Sega realized that the company needed a big character to compete with Mario, and created Sonic the Hedgehog.  That’s also when the 16-bit graphic blue blur that was constantly on the run managed to leave the 8-bit jumping plumber in the dust, creating the classic “Sega does what Nintendon’t” line for the brand’s ad campaign.


However at the start of the new millennium, Microsoft and its Xbox finally arrived on the gaming scene, and started to compete in this field. It brought controversy in the form of a viral video, too. Before the controversial video for “Life is Short Play More” was released, it was first shared internally within the company via email. 

That email was shared over a million times, which were big numbers for that time. That’s also what inspired the tech giant to place it on TV, which got a lot of attention. Although the attention was generally negative, the company largely regarded it with an attitude of  “no such thing as bad publicity”, which is  precisely what cemented the brand as a gaming giant.

The Future

These days, there are plenty of different ways for companies to approach gaming advertising, as seen with the no-limits approach to creativity in advertising, and Sony’s latest campaign for the PlayStation 5, “Play Has No Limits”.

The best ad campaigns in gaming have creativity at their heart. They are created with the goal of pushing boundaries while still creating an emotional connection with the viewers, and all of that is done through storytelling.

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