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Campaign’s Online Briefing, ‘Power Up: 5G and Gaming’ webinar with GfK

Campaign's Online Briefing addresses the trends of 5G and gaming in MENA with an international panel of experts

By Sofia Serrano.

On October 8 Campaign hosted its second webinar, Online Briefing ‘Power Up: 5G and Gaming’, in association with GfK. The session was led by a panel of experts and composed of Campaign ME’s editor Austyn Allison as moderator; Ibrahim Kadiri, Head of Market Insights – EMEA Emerging Markets at Google; Dr Christoph Preuß, Vice President, Global Marketing & Consumer Intelligence at GFK and Joe Zoghbi, Head of Commercial Strategy – Gaming and Esports Agency, Webedia Arabia. The panel discussed the trends and culture of gaming and 5G technology.

In the Gulf countries, 5G subscriptions have already surpassed 500,000 since the technology’s launch in 2019. MENA subscribers are expected to reach 90 million by 2025, even if the economy has slowed due to the pandemic. In the case of gaming, the lockdown has triggered consumers to buy gaming devices, including mobile devices such as phones and the usual consoles and computers. Then, even before Covid, the MENA region already hosted the fastest-growing gaming community, with a 25 per cent annual growth and an expected estimate of $6bn revenues in 2021. The addition of technologies like 5G will only accelerate this growing trend in mobile gaming. The webinar looked at these trends and topics around the gaming culture, the 5G broader spectrum, mobile gaming, gaming as a social platform, opportunities for brands, cloud gaming and marketing advice to connect with this audience.

To have a broader understanding of these topics visit the webinar here. Underneath are some of the insights from the speakers.

Dr Christoph Preuß:

“I think first and foremost, what we have seen in these Covid times is that people, I guess less surprisingly so, spend far more time at home on gaming, and while we have seen massive declines in sales, basically people are holding back because of a certain amount of insecurity overall in the consumer space. So, there is a strong decline in TV purchase and even in smartphones, but we have seen quite an uptake in gaming PCs and peripherals, especially during lockdown, and this is a trend we have seen globally, including in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, pretty much in line with the with the global trends here.”

Joe Zoghbi:

“When it comes to the perception of 5G. I think we need to look at two things. The people who are looking for a competitive and immersive experience, they understand that there’s going to be a technological shift that is going to happen in that kind of space. However, for the casual gaming community, they have yet to understand that and I think marketers who are pushing the 5G discussion need to do a little bit more of education of what can be improved from there.”

Ibrahim Kadiri:

“When it comes to gaming in particular, we’re still seeing that many gamers, particularly when we’re talking about multiplayer online, really connected gaming is still happening at home. And I think the better connectivity will slowly start bringing that out of the home, so people can start gaming (even though it’s online and in a connected manner),  out of home. And I think that’s one of the near-term advantages that we’ll see stronger connectivity bringing to the arena.”

Joe Zoghbi:

“Covid-19 was the pin to showcase all the population that gaming right now is an entertainment mix similar to how you watch Netflix, how you go online and shop or listen to music or stream. And when Covid happened, obviously it kind of escalated that and accelerated that process.”

Dr Christoph Preuß:

“The entire gaming topic is almost like a blend between sports and a huge social media network. But with all the implication this has on marketing, understanding consumer segments path to purchase, the entire marketing setup has to be redefined around this dynamics that we see in particular from eSports.”

Ibrahim Kadiri:

“The role of marketers is constantly evolving. And we’ve seen the fragmentation of media accelerate this and make their jobs so much more difficult. And particularly when it comes to gaming and gamers, basically anyone who’s playing games, whether it’s on mobile, whether it’s on a console or any type of devices and there’s professional and casual. Within that context, as marketers, we have to look more at consumers across the journey of all the different boxes they check, rather than in verticals. So if we think of gamers alone, a standalone thing, that dilutes the value of them as consumers across the spectrum, and I think gaming more broadly. It’s a really important definition. We’re seeing this evolution, I think Covid just accelerated it, but this was around even pre-Covid where we saw new launches of games sometimes overshadowing Hollywood launches and affecting movie box office revenues. So I think the Covid situation just accelerated the digital shift.”

 Dr Christoph Preuß:

“We see huge growth in terms of channels and gaming. So you need to really differentiate and have a very targeted approach to your segments. And this can only start with deep and rich insights on market and consumer insights and touch-points. Also on the marketing touch-points that are relevant to really most effectively reach your audience and then a second step to activate them across channels, whether that’s online or offline. And that’s what we are pulling together or have already put together in our Gamer Report.”

Ibrahim Kadiri:

The opportunity of the gaming industry, from a media perspective, particularly when it comes to the non-endemic third party reference, there’s still a huge opportunity that exists there. And I don’t think has been fully realised. So when we talk about the evolution of any media, whether it’s the first TV ad, which was just basically a still image with some audio, or even when we think of the first online video ad where it was just a TV spot that was thrown online, we’ve seen that evolve over time. So is there still an opportunity in the gaming space? Most definitely, I think that the space itself is evolving.”

Get a full view into the gaming sector in the Middle East with this complimentary GfK whitepaper: Gaming Boom Amid COVID Gloom.  

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