Gamescom – expanding gaming culture beyond traditional gamers and brands

By James Howitt, Client Development Director at Smyle

Gamescom is the most important show in the calendar for the gaming world. All the major players in consoles (Xbox, Sega, Nintendo) and game creators (EA, Activation Blizzard) are there, as well as thousands of fans that descend on Cologne to see and play the latest releases while exploring new innovative technology. However, the biggest takeaway from my inaugural Gamescom was that, in fact, this arena of fun isn’t just for gaming brands.

Netflix brought Stranger Things to life with “Surfer Boy Pizza” while JD Sports’ “Beyond the Basement” had DJs, sneakers, games, and a foam pit to get lost in. Gaming culture has shifted. Yes, there are still the hardcore gaming fans, but now brands are tapping into a really diverse audience hungry for experiences, technology, and storytelling with plenty of fun and a bit of nostalgia thrown in.    

Whilst the brand doesn’t need to be limited to gaming, it’s important to remember who the core attendees are. Bring gamification into the experience through interactivity, discovery and hidden surprise and delight moments. Some stands had two to three-hour queues for a ten-minute mini-game or prize. Easter eggs and hidden components also proved really popular. When there is so much competition, these small ‘gaming’ elements can be enough to tempt people to come and explore

As you would expect from a gaming convention, there were screens and consoles everywhere. Samsung had a big presence, with some incredible screens and technology – graphics that gamers’ dreams are made of. With that in mind, stands need to wow visually through high-impact screens and builds with music and moving image components. 

The likes of Sega, Warhammer and Ubisoft transported fans into their favourite games through giant sets, props and even a VW camper van, giving them a real-life experience of the games. The fans loved it, and it created amazing photo opportunities, which were, of course, shared all over social media and picked up by the press, amplifying the brilliant brand messages even further!

To learn more about ‘Beyond the Booth’ thinking, click here.