Accenture's Innovation Experts explain how fashion can capitalise on the gaming industry
Speaking at the Exthereal conference, Accenture’s Fashion & Luxury Innovation Experts Mauro Toffoli and Morteza Shahini explored the gaming market and how fashion could capitalise on it.
According to a report published by DFC Intelligence that was published in February this year, there were nearly 3.1 billion video game consumers by mid-2020. With a world population of 8 billion people, that means almost 40% play video games. With an almost even gender balance - 45% women and 55% men, and an average age of 31 the gaming industry touches a vast consumer base that fashion can tap into.
As Mauro Toffoli explained, today 70% of a game’s revenue comes from players’ in-game transactions. “Most likely now the games are free to play and you can pay for personalization inside the game,” he said. An example of this would be a gamer paying for a virtual "skin" for its avatar on the video game Fortnite, which is free to pay. “It's quite different from the past when the player was buying the full game, using it for a couple of months and after they needed to buy a new version of the game,” Mauro said.
He also added that video games had shifted to become “social places” where “everybody's connected with microphone and headphones, so, they can talk to each other, they participate in a kind of shared experience,” re-emphasising how video games are closely connected to the idea of the metaverse.
The opportunities for fashion in gaming
“The gaming industry is really big and it’s getting lots of attention - and a lot of brands have experiment with different things,” explained Morteza Shahini, adding that his team at Accenture had identified three ways in which a fashion brand could capitalise on the gaming market.
1) Branded games and the metaverse
As Morteza explained the opportunities for brands to build their own games or tap into the metaverse are endless, even though experimentation can take up a lot of investment and resources. “You can build different digital environment, buildings, you can possess skins for your avatar. And also, you can have different events such as concerts, fashion shows - everything that you imagine you can have inside the metaverse,” he commented. An example of how brands have already explored this opportunity is Nike's Nikeland, a virtual world on the community-driven developer platform Roblox, where users are free to roam the space and play virtual games with friends such as the floor is lava or dodgeball.
2) Gaming collaboration
The first type of collaboration opportunity is for a brand to create branded virtual clothing for in-game avatars, a move he called ‘direct-to-avatar’. As he explained this is an opportunity for brands to allow gamers to copy their style in the real-world virtually. “You dress your avatar because you want to showcase to your friends what you look like, exactly like you do when you go to work when you go to a party in the real world,” he commented. Moncler’s collaboration with Fortnite is one instance where a luxury brand has explored this collaborative model, while other brands have collaborated with Sims or Animal Crossing.
The second is sponsorship. Morteza touched on the fact that e-sports have gained huge popularity. These are tournaments where professional gamers compete with each other. “These kinds of events are getting lots of attention, it's somehow comparable to the football or tennis events the brands would sponsor. It’s another opportunity for the brand to be present in this kind of environment.” Mauro explained that Gucci had, for example, sponsored a worldwide team that competed at a tournament and also created a specific collection for them. This idea of creating a physical collection is again an opportunity for that brand to tap into the gamer community.
3) Gaming Commerce
Lastly, Mortenza explained that brands have the opportunity to leverage the digital technology, such as CGI that is used in gaming and translated that into their own e-commerce and digital experiences. “As a gamer when I'm playing Roblox or Fortnight I'm really immerse in this experience, why not replicate so that we can answer to the expectation of the customers?” he asked. “So instead of a catalogue, one can create a 3D environment or virtual showrooms so you can see and interact with the product.”
He added that 3D technology could be used to create virtual avatars of customers, which they could use to try-on clothing. “So I can I can dress my own avatar with different clothes of the brand and then I can see myself in action - I can walk, I can dance, I can change the environment. Also, the brands can look at this also see this as a possibility for user-generated content,” he said. An example of a brand that has explored fully immersive digital product catalogues is Balenciaga, which created its Afterwolrd: The Age of Tomorrow showcasing its Fall 2021 collection.