The Commerce Opportunity in Gaming

8 months ago, Travis Scott, an American rapper, had a concert in the video game Fortnite. YouTube views of recordings of the event had numbers in the hundreds of millions. Roblox, a gaming platform, has 164 million monthly active users1. Among Us, a multiplayer game in the mystery vein, had half a billion active users in November of 20202. The 2020 Super Bowl had 102 million viewers3.

All of these games have access to credit card information already provided for platform access/in-game purchases.  I predicted on Something Digital’s Office Hours that Fortnite and its peers will start to lay the groundwork to conduct more serious commerce in 2021. The opportunity here isn’t limited to certain age groups either. The average American gamer is now 34 years old and the majority of families that play video games play them together at least once a week4. These are users, often with disposable income, across nearly every demographic category that someday soon will be able to make purchases of physical goods without leaving the game.

Imagine selling the Travis Scott Air Jordans (starting at over $1,400 on Stadium Goods) during the concert via QR code or video-game branded beers for games such as Grand Theft Auto at in-game bars that are delivered in real life by Drizly. Animal Crossing could sell posters or stuffed animals of in-game people and things. There are not of shortage of products that could be sold in this manner.

The opportunity is not limited to the actual games either. Many of the top gaming streamers have their own sponsorships. Don’t be surprised if these influencers are posting limited time links, mentioning referrals or even having on-screen buy buttons on streaming platforms such as Twitch (owned by Amazon) and Mixer (owned by Microsoft).

Gaming is a largely untapped commerce channel with audiences spending billions of hours on these platforms. The early brands to take advantage of this opportunity will likely mint fortunes and do so at a lower cost point than ad spends on Google, Amazon or Facebook. The ROI will be much clearer than with marketing spend at sporting events or television advertising.


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  1. Roblox IPO Filing
  2. App Annie Monthly Report
  3. Fox Press Release
  4. Entertainment Software Association

Why Would a Consumer Buy from you this Holiday Season?


This is a question that every brand and retailer annually asks itself starting in Q2. But it’s a question that takes on added significance this year as we’re seeing certain companies significantly consolidate their advantages during the pandemic at the cost of lesser-known brands. Holiday growth estimates, which I find to be overly optimistic, are not rosy. Holiday travel looks likely to be way down. And does anybody really want to picture what Black Friday looks like for physical retail in 2020?

Consumers know what they’re getting when they order online from Amazon, Walmart, Target and the like. But if you’re not looking to put up with Amazon’s nonsense, you want to own the customer relationship or you just don’t see a path to success working with the big players, what can be done to get the consumer come to you?


Help Them Out

National Parks and outdoor recreation destinations such as Moab, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyoming are seeing record attendance numbers. Quite a few of these newfound outdoor recreation enthusiasts had no previous experience purchasing products or picking destinations. This is a huge opportunity to guide behavior and become sticky.

Mervin Manufacturing’s Board Finder on their Lib Tech site is a great example of easing the burden for a first time shopper. REI, ever on top of things, has tips on training for backpacking and how to read topography maps for newbies to the lifestyle. These are the kinds of digital experiences that help first-time customers immediately feel comfortable with your brand for the long run.

 The outdoor space is hardly the only industry seeing rising opportunity. Gaming and entertainment, alcohol, hobbyist goods, etc., have all seen explosions in the amount of interest and direct-to-consumer dollars available. But when people can’t touch and feel, they need a replacement.


Give Them Ideas

 I have made a massive list of movies and tv shows that I plan to consume over the next few months as the weather becomes inhospitable to outdoor activities, patio dining, etc. Am I going to get burned out after yet another run of binging on Netflix and Hulu? Almost certainly. And I have no idea what I’m going to do when that happens!

Yet I haven’t seen companies that are supposed to be “good at this” going after my time or money. Oddly absent are the overtures from Kindle, Dick’s Sporting Goods (where I bought pandemic exercise equipment), or cancelled services from past years such as People are desperate for activity for themselves and for their families. Be their North Star and you’ll reach eyeballs and wallets.


Be accessible

In the first few months of the pandemic, my friends and I routinely did Zoom calls that would last a few hours. I don’t think we’ve done a single one since July. This lack of continued communication isn’t surprising. It also very much resembles the sheer horror my friends and former colleagues who spent all day on the phone for work would show when asked to pick up a phone to do something as simple as order a pizza. As a result, it is an awful idea to make people sit on hold, go through automated systems or make them fill out a bunch of forms.

Simple, easy-to-use channels of communication are going to be essential for the foreseeable future. If a customer calls, have somebody available to answer the phone. Does your site have a contact us email? Respond quickly. Live chat and any tool you can think of to communicate with potential customers should be staffed to the best of your ability. Obviously, funds are tight in most businesses right now, but this should be an absolute priority.


In Short

The companies that will survive and thrive over the next several months are going to be the ones that make an effort to stand out through customer guidance and experience. Every ounce of effort possible should go towards being the companies that people want to interact with and praise to their friends.