Fortnite, League of Legends, Minecraft, Overwatch – these are the biggest names you should know about. In 2018, the video game industry made more than $130 billion. That’s far more than the revenue generated by the NFL ($15 billion) and the NBA ($7.4 billion) combined! And by 2025, the gaming market is expected to reach over $300 billion. It’s the new sporting event of the future, driving the explosion in professional esports and gaming equipment, while soon eclipsing streaming giants like Netflix. Today, we’re using our social listening software to help you understand the booming audience behind the world of gaming.
So, who are the gamers behind all of this?
According to Statista, about a third of all gamers are between the ages of 21 and 35. This age group has a narrow lead over players aged 36 to 50 and gamers between 10 and 20 years of age.
This final group is part of Gen Z, which includes people born between 1995 and 2015. And this is the gaming audience that’s booming. According to a 2018 survey from Pew Research, 90% of teenagers (aged 13 to 17) play video games on a computer, game console, or phone. When it comes to teenage boys specifically, 97% report playing video games in some form.
What are people saying about today’s top games?
We’re exploring the world of gaming by looking at three of today’s biggest games using social listening software: Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, and Overwatch. Fortnite, perhaps the hottest name in gaming today, had over 250 million players as of March 2019. That’s over two-thirds of the US population! (Fun fact: Drake and video game star Tyler “Ninja” Blevins streamed a Fortnite game on Twitch with over 600,000 viewers that broke the record for a single-channel livestream last year.)
Rainbow Six Siege boasts an impressive 45 million players and, in June 2019 alone, generated $36.8 million in revenue. Overwatch, another popular game, has 40 million players and a competitive tournament of its own called Overwatch League. All of these games are first-person-shooter games.
Let’s see how people talk about them online, using our social listening tool.
Between these three games, Fortnite takes up over three-quarters of online conversations! Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege are about equally popular, each taking up about 11%.
What about today’s top gaming gear?
Some players stick to their regular keyboard and mouse for gaming. More and more gamers, however, are taking it to the next level. Many PC and console gamers, both professional and amateur, use headsets while gaming to better communicate with other players and achieve a more immersive experience. For instance, high-quality headsets allow players to hear footsteps and small noises better, which may mean life or death in the game.
In addition to headsets, many gamers also use specially-designed gaming mice, keyboards, laptops, desks, and chairs – all of which give players higher precision, control, speed, and comfort.
Since this industry is such an integral part of the larger gaming world, we used social listening software to analyze the online buzz around 6 major players in the field: Turtle Beach, Micro-Star International (MSI), Razer, Alienware, Asus, and Acer.
Of these six, Razer generated the highest portion of online conversations (34%). Behind it, MSI generated about 22% of conversations, holding a narrow lead over Asus (20%).
Where are people talking about gaming?
Now that we’ve got the basics down about gaming’s hottest topics, let’s see where people talk about Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, and Overwatch.
Based on our social listening software, over 50% of online content and conversations are hosted on YouTube! This makes sense, as streaming is a huge part of gaming culture and is a critical space for gaming influencers.
According to Goldman Sachs, the audience on YouTube and Twitch is larger than HBO, Netflix, and ESPN combined! Gamers and non-gamers alike enjoy tuning into these action-packed games, which are often infused with the humor of gaming personalities. In China, people stream on Douyu and Huya. In the West, games are often live-streamed on Twitch, Youtube, and Mixer. (We’re happy to announce that we will be able to pull in data from Twitch by the end of 2019.)
Behind YouTube, Twitter and forums round out the top 3 places where gamers like to talk online.
Overwatch’s unique audience
While Fortnite and Rainbow Six Siege follow this pattern (YouTube first, followed by Twitter and forums), Overwatch’s audiences prefer to use forums to discuss the game.
Nearly half of all online conversations related to Overwatch is found on forums. Blizzard Entertainment, the developer behind the hit game, should pay close attention to these forums and threads and what people are saying. This example is telling of the need for companies to stay on top of both mainstream and niche online communities.
Today’s biggest forums for gamers
Now, which specific forums do gamers like to use? Our platform identified the top 3 forums where these games were discussed as Reddit, Steam Community Discussions, and GameFAQs. While most people are aware of Reddit (and subreddits), the latter two forums are lesser-known among the general public. Steam is the largest seller of video games worldwide and its forum is a popular destination for gamers who want to express their opinions or ask questions. GameFAQs is another popular forum exclusively devoted to everything gaming-related.
These forums, and the volume behind them, grow day by day. It’s why social listening software is necessary to collect and make sense of this data. Organic and honest consumer opinions being shared on niche sections of the Internet provides the opportunity for you to gain valuable insight on feelings toward your brand and your competitors. Social listening software allows you to hear the concerns of an international audience all in one place.
Where do people talk about video game hardware?
When it comes to hardware, online forums are the place to be, with almost 42% of conversations happening there.
Gaming hardware manufacturers cannot afford to neglect the real-time exchanges that happen on these forums. We were able to easily uncover insights about key conversations using Signals, our new AI-powered trend detection module.
Signals highlights what’s generated the most buzz and moved the needle in a significant and measurable way. Here are a handful of key features about Razer’s products that are well-loved.
We found that Razer has quite a strong Social Reputation Score (SRS), which is an overall health measure of a brand or topic using volume, sentiment, and influence.
However, it’s actually Alienware that takes the lead.
What are social media users saying about Alienware?
Using social listening software, we found many interesting conversations about Alienware’s products, but we chose one example to show you. Recently, a Reddit user asked for advice about one of Alienware’s monitors, whose selling point is its 240Hz refresh rate.
This single thread had 178 comments, with each user contributing a unique perspective or opinion about the monitor. One user praised the product and gave suggestions on installation.
In this virtual community of gamers, this conversation became technical very quickly. Users began sharing about their experiences playing specific games using electronic hardware with different capabilities.
Another user praised the monitor in question for its refresh rate, but expressed disappointment about the monitor’s colors.
Real-time, honest consumer insights like these can tell you where your products needs some work. Here, Alienware might want to consider focusing on improving the colors on their upcoming monitors, while still maintaining high refresh rates.
Companies have to understand the weight that opinions on these forums hold. In these communities, users trust the opinion and advice of other users. A comment like this might deter someone from purchasing this monitor. What people say on these threads have an effect on buying habits. By closely monitoring social media, you can give your consumer base a voice in product development.
A unique market for Asus?
We couldn’t help but include a significant finding that our platform uncovered. Over the past three months, the online conversations related to Fortnite and Asus were strongly correlated. This means that discussions related to these two independent topics evolved in a similar way and may suggest that Fortnite players are interested in Asus gear! Perhaps this has to do with the Asus’ recent promotion, which gave away Fortnite currency and add-ons with the purchase of one of its gaming laptops. The partnership between these two companies is gaining traction and Asus should press on further to target this huge group of players.
Social listening software gives you an inside look at your audience
Social listening software allows companies to understand an international audience’s opinion in a way that wasn’t possible before. Gamers, amateur and professional alike, have opinions that are being voiced every second online. And the current boom in Gen Z gamers and fans means that these Internet forums and discussions won’t be slowing down. The conversations that are happening are meaningful and insightful, and companies should be quick to listen in. Use social listening to uncover your data’s story.