Industry Round-up: Breaking Down October’s Top Headlines

Gaming is becoming more important than ever to the world's biggest brands. Find out why in our monthly news round-up...

The pumpkins have been disposed of and the Christmas decorations are beginning to emerge in shop windows… yes, November is here. You don’t need us to tell you that this month marks the beginning of peak trading season for the games industry, and what a season it’s going to be. With huge games like Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy, Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and Call of Duty: Vanguard just around the corner, the race to grab a next-gen console won’t be slowing down any time soon.

From a wider business and marketing perspective, October was an interesting month, mainly down to non-endemic brands looking to tap into the games industry. 

Facebook reveals Meta rebrand

Undoubtedly the biggest news to emerge this month was the new direction of the company formerly known as Facebook. Of course, the social media platform Facebook isn’t going anywhere, but henceforth its parent company will be known as Meta. The new name reflects the company’s new focus on building the ‘metaverse’ – a grand project based around virtual reality technology.

In the company’s Connect 2021 keynote presentation, CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared in a virtual space, serving as a kind of proof of concept for the metaverse. Zuckerberg presented an ambitious overview of what the company hopes for the metaverse, setting it up as a destination to socialise, work, and play. Of particular interest to gamers will be the gaming opportunities offered by the Oculus, which was teased by the announcement that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is coming to the device.

Coca-Cola reveals gaming-themed ‘Real Magic’ campaign

Everybody’s favourite beverage corporation has rolled out its first new global ad campaign in five years, with the Real Magic campaign. Kicking off the campaign is a video ad, which attempts to tap into Gen Z by leveraging gaming and esports. The ad sees a World of Warcraft-style esports tournament derailed when one of the pros cracks open a Coke, causing the characters in the game to throw down their arms and make peace with one another. While the ad has been met with widespread mockery from gamers, it’s an interesting indication of how non-endemic brands are looking to gaming to tap into younger audiences.

Spotify takes on YouTube with video podcasting options

Keen to expand the app’s appeal outside of music, Spotify is about to expand its video options. Soon, all users will be able to upload their own video podcasts, a privilege that was previously only enjoyed by high-profile creators like Joe Rogan. Spotify currently boasts 365 million users in 178 markets, which pales in comparison to YouTube’s 2.2 billion users. But with YouTube’s focus now on celebrity creators and Hollywood, Spotify could have an opportunity to court grassroots creators with these new options.

Twitch trials ‘Boost this stream’ function

Finally, streaming platform Twitch has begun trialling the option for viewers to pay to boost streams they are watching to the upper echelons of Twitch’s recommended pages. The move has proved controversial among users of the site, mainly due to the fact that streamers won’t see any of the money paid to boost their stream. The feature is now live for US users.