If you're not paying attention to the influence of gaming on popular culture in 2020, you're missing out on one of the most significant elements for the next generation, with gamers now becoming major celebrities in their own right, and leading the way on the latest trends and shifts.
Indeed, just last week, YouTube listed its top channels of 2020, which showed that five of the top ten channels are largely aligned with gaming-related content. And this week, YouTube's provided some new insights into the growth of YouTube Gaming specifically, which underlines the rise of gaming culture, which has been exacerbated further amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As explained by YouTube:
"We now have over 40 million active gaming channels and, globally, there were over 100 billion hours of gaming content watched on YouTube. And live streaming on YouTube had an incredible year: We saw watch time from video game live streams grow to over 10 billion hours."
That is a huge amount of content consumption. Any way you look at it, gaming is massive, and it's gradually opening up more advertising and outreach opportunities for brands that are looking to connect with gamers in new and innovative ways.
As per The Los Angeles Times, this year has also seen big growth in fashion companies looking to partner with game developers in order to create in-game, digital clothing, which can help to build their brands within virtual environments.
This is a set of Gucci items that are available within The Sims 4, just one example of how fashion brands are looking to connect with the next generation through gaming culture.
Gamers themselves are also becoming independent labels - FaZe Clan, for example, a collective of gamers who create content on YouTube and Twitch, have a range of merchandise options for their fans to buy.
As you can see here, that includes partnerships with brands like G-Shock to create custom items - which is not a new concept, as such. But it further underlines the potential of gaming culture in terms of marketing and branding.
Heck, even Joe Biden had a go at branding within Animal Crossing during his election campaign.
YouTube's latest Gaming figures underline this opportunity, and with more, innovative marketing options emerging, it's worth businesses considering potential game tie-ins and how they can utilize the popularity of games to enhance connection with younger users.
You can read more about YouTube Gaming in 2020 here.