“The future of online games is in the metaverse”

Gaming in India is the newest collaborative ecosystem between brands, advertisers and A&M agencies, and it is with this in mind that e4m organized the GameOn Summit on Friday. The conference explored the synergies and exciting opportunities in the gaming space, bringing together thought leaders from various industries.

One of the highlights of the event was a panel discussion on the future of online gaming. On the panel were Anirudh Pandita, Founder, Loco; Michael Heina, International Sector Director, Esports and Gaming, YouGov, Germany; Jacob Shrader, General Manager of Esports at ZenSports, USA; and Marcus Howard, author, INNOVATE: games and electronic sports and member, Blockchain Game Alliance. The session was chaired by Niraj Ruparel, Head of Mobile and Emerging Technologies, GroupM.

Highlighting the increasingly important role the metaverse plays in games and our digital lives in general, Ruparel kicked off the discussion by asking if the session should be conducted in AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) or MR ( mixed reality).

“What really kept me busy was creating various experiences on the Metaverse and integrating our brands. Like, India’s first virtual wedding was completely conceptualized by us, and we involved Coca- Cola, ITC and a bunch of other brands,” Ruparel noted.

Moving the discussion forward, Howard said he was excited about the role AR, VR and MR will play in advancing eSports, especially when combined in xR (eXtended Reality). “There is always a stigma against video games, and then by extension eSports. People don’t believe that you can be a sports athlete if you’re sitting in your chair playing on a console, computer or mobile. And so what XR creates is the ability to have that full body movement, that full interaction that you associate with traditional sports. This way you have more activity and therefore it is considered more acceptable. But then you also increase the number of engagement opportunities. Extended reality not only means you can have esports from home, but you can have them in a restaurant or a stadium.

The session then explored emerging and emerging technologies such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens), DeFi (decentralized finance), Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, 5G, Metaverse, and the role that games, and in particular esports, will play. , to make them current. .

Indeed, blockchain and DeFi will have huge applications for gaming, Shrader said, explaining, “It basically gives gamers the ability to tangibly own their gaming assets. And because the blockchain is scalable and never sleeps, these assets are far more liquid than video game assets have ever been before.

However, since these blockchain games are quite new, only a few of them have taken off. “I would say a year and a half ago it was really a big deal and very difficult for people to get into the blockchain game. What we’ve seen over the last year is card rentals, asset rentals, and the ability for users who have the assets to invest in them to rent them out to other users. It is enormous. And that’s what’s going to help push blockchain gaming to the masses,” Shrader noted.

Addressing how 5G is going to propel the gaming revolution even further, Pandita said, “The computing power is just going to get faster and better and so it’s going to get a lot more immersive, and people are going to engage more. You’ve seen this before with desktop computers, whereas the price of Oculus isn’t too different from that of a mobile phone. So you’re going to see people getting into more immersive entertainment and, of course, gaming is the easiest and most fun way to engage in that.

Sharing his thoughts on the advertising implications, Heina observed, “Our data revealed that if brands find a way to non-intrusively integrate into a game, that’s the best way to sell something, because this is not perceived as an advertisement, but as a part of the game. In Germany, a frozen food brand, which has nothing to do with GTA, displayed its brand and products in the stores of the game during the Christmas period, and not only did its brand awareness jump, but its consideration rate, as people would buy their product, increased five times more than before.

This not only showed how the game enables brands to reach large audiences, but also how, if done effectively, in-game advertising can generate significant returns, Heina noted.

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