Gamefam, a prominent American game developer and strategist, has unveiled its inaugural State of Brands in Metaverse Gaming year-end report, examining the success of brands venturing into the digital realm.
Throughout 2023, Gamefam recorded over 7.5 billion gameplay sessions across its network of 30 owned and operated games, surpassing a cumulative 29 billion gameplay sessions. Noteworthy collaborations with cultural phenomena such as Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, the NFL, Warner Music Group, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, Netflix’s Unicorn Academy, and Netflix’s Bakugan saw these brands engaging in gaming through integrations with Gamefam on platforms like Roblox and Fortnite. The report underscores that in 2023, Roblox and Fortnite emerged as the top game brands employed by brands to connect with Generation Z and Generation Alpha.
As indicated by a June 2022 McKinsey report predicting that over 50 percent of live events could take place in the metaverse, Gamefam collaborated with the NFL and Warner Music Group to orchestrate the first-ever Super Bowl concert in the metaverse. Headlined by popular American rapper Saweetie, it became the highest-rated Roblox concert of all time.
A key insight emphasizes that while every brand should have a metaverse strategy, it is not necessary to develop a standalone game. Brands can effectively reach millions of engaged players in existing popular games with a built-in player base, facilitating authentic and engaging brand integrations.
The significance of virtual merchandise for game avatars has grown exponentially. In 2023, Gamefam introduced jewelry, apparel, hair, and more, resulting in the sale of 2.3 million virtual merchandise items. McKinsey's findings reveal that 79 percent of actively participating metaverse consumers have made a purchase.
Joe Ferencz, the CEO and Founder of Gamefam, discussed the metaverse's impact on brands and the continued growth of gaming in the fashion, retail, and beauty sectors in an interview with WWD.
When asked about the surge in brands like Puma, Hugo Boss, Fenty Beauty, and E.l.f. Cosmetics entering the metaverse and gaming universe in 2023, Ferencz highlighted the real and meaningful engagement these platforms provide, surpassing the passive nature of platforms like TikTok or YouTube. Roblox and Fortnite emerged as the preferred platforms for Gen Z and Gen Alpha, with users spending 43 percent more time on these platforms than on YouTube and TikTok combined.
Discussing the evolution of the industry, Ferencz pointed to the substantial growth of branded experiences on Roblox, with a 50 percent year-over-year increase. Looking ahead to 2024, he anticipates moving beyond the proving phase, fueled by investments in developer and advertising tools by Roblox and Fortnite.
Ferencz emphasized the importance of active engagement in playing Roblox and Fortnite, highlighting the challenges faced by activations that did not authentically integrate with the Roblox and Fortnite communities.
Addressing key factors for successful gaming partnerships, Ferencz stressed the importance of authenticity and enhancing the gameplay experience. He provided an example of the NFL and Boss integration, creating user-generated content and mini-games for real-life sweatshirts.
To measure ROI, Gamefam uses resources like Romonitor for experience analytics on Roblox and employs 3D telemetry on Roblox, offering unprecedented knowledge from movement to purchasing behavior.
An illustrative success story highlighted the Boss event within Super NFL Tycoon, resulting in a 145 percent increase in visits and doubling peak concurrent players. In a year dominated by Barbie's popularity, 272 million fashion items were used to customize player avatars, showcasing Gamefam's success in creating custom in-game avatar fashion items.
Discussing the future of the crossover between fashion/retail and gaming in 2024 and beyond, Ferencz emphasized gaming's growing popularity among today’s youngest consumers. McKinsey's projections of global spending on the metaverse exceeding $5 trillion by 2030 present extensive opportunities for retailers to tap into the vast market of digital natives who will shape purchasing power in the coming decades. Fortnite's creative mode and massive expansions offer significant potential for fashion and beauty brands to establish a presence and drive real impact.