In this exclusive interview, ExchangeWire speaks to Jamie McConville, director – global solutions, dentsu Tokyo, following the launch of the dedicated dentsu gaming unit, to discuss the future of interactive entertainment in the APAC region.
How will dentsu gaming approach developing gaming technologies, such as VR/AR and the metaverse? What key aspects should brands consider when approaching these nascent opportunities?
When it comes to developing and integrating new technologies, we strive to not only deliver more robust and immersive gaming experiences, but also raise the bar when it comes to achieving commercial success. We often get questions around the benefits of creating branded spaces within the metaverse or owned virtual spaces from scratch, and it usually comes down to evaluating what is appropriate for the brand and what is truly delivering meaningful value to the audience.
As for bringing brands into virtual worlds, we are at a tipping point in VR, which is a key access point to the metaverse. This is being driven by devices, such as the Oculus Quest 2, and the ever-increasing repertoire of amazing, immersive experiences. VR is becoming an increasingly social experience so we need to ensure that the spaces we are creating within these virtual worlds are safe and inclusive for all and that brands are adding to the experience versus distracting from it.
How is the esports sector developing within APAC? How can brands engage effectively with esports audiences within the region, and on a global basis?
Within APAC, esports is not only becoming mainstream, it’s also fast becoming its own industry segment. In recent years, we have seen esports gaining recognition as a legitimate sport, in terms of popularity and audience growth, and also through increasingly bigger leagues, tournaments, prize pools and appearances on mainstream broadcasting. This has led to the development an entire segment of industry dedicated to the production, organising, merchandising, and promotion of the sport.
We have also increasingly seen, from industry partners and regional teams, that the esports audience in APAC is distinct in nature when compared to other regions. Esports fans carry with them a strong sense of national pride and support for local teams. These audiences not only play more, watch more, but also demand more, calling for better content, more diverse representation and richer experiences. With more than half of the world’s gaming population in Asia, the opportunity for brands is too big to ignore. Non-endemic (or non-gaming) brands see sponsorship as a way to get in on the action but should aim to work together with game publishers and league organisers to ensure opportunities are more integrated and collaborative, to ensure they are truly adding value for the…
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