Wednesday, November 11, 2020

How the Indian Gaming Industry can leverage holistic PR to change perception and drive growth By Anindita Gupta, Co-Founder Scenic Communication

The pandemic and the past few months of lockdown that forced people to stay indoors, has resulted in people trying new activities at home, beginning from cooking new dishes to exploring hidden talents. Likewise, some turned to gaming platforms to enhance their competitiveness. From taboo to mainstream recognition, Indian gaming has gained significant traction within the Indian entertainment industry. With a projected user base of more than 623 million gamers, this provides a significant boost to the entire gaming ecosystem within the Indian economy. This ecosystem comprises gamers across age groups, the game developers community, the designers, and lastly the investors and marketers, each of whom have an integral role of creating a state of the art, cutting edge games, concepts and offers for players. This potential market, and the waste talent pool, makes India one of the leading gaming markets amongst emerging global economies. In spite of the growth potential, however, the industry faces sever challenges, especially misconceptions and taboo associated with adult gaming. Most parents and the average society, have a negative opinion regarding video games and the gaming industry, when associated with teen and adult gamers. Addressing these challenges and working towards creating an encouraging environment for growth and faster adoption of gaming for adults, holistic PR can help create a massive positive impact. Through effective use of PR and communication tools, Video game brands can leverage this current affinity towards the sector and use this to build upon a sustained growth plan for the sector.    

Here are some misconception that PR can help change with holistic communication strategy:

1.       Building a Positive Narrative: Although gaming was invented purely for the purpose of entertainment, it has been found to be a superior cognitive learning tool that can help enhance mental skills like decision making, hand eye coordination, mental aptitude, thinking limit, and overall mental reflexes. A few corporations, especially in the western countries, are actively adopting adult gaming for Brainstorming Activity and have noticed that it helps employees relax, while enhancing their ability to think out of the box, innovate and be agile. Effective PR can help build this narrative through relevant messaging and help clear the ‘couch potato entertainment only’ tag from gaming

2.       Create a positioning: Every video game is published with a purpose and is usually created for a particular category of end-users. There is always an age and content rating that is clearly displayed to the buyer. Regardless of that, there needs to be a mature decision maker involved in the purchase of every video game. This is where the role of PR comes into play. Masses need to get educated about the industry to know which game they should allow their children to play and at which age. Similarly, creating a distinct market positioning for adult gaming is also vital so as to ensure there is transparency and credibility for brands and games. PR can help create this distinctive positioning within the gaming segments, thereby encouraging informed choices and clearer purchase decisions.

3.       Driving a credible change and acceptance as a serious industry:  Last but not the least, average Indians lack awareness about the phenomenal growth of the global gaming industry and the growing viewership related to the same. There is currently a mixed perception regarding gaming as a career option.  Additionally, video games are wrongly said to hamper education and way of life. This is where PR can help to build a credible image for gaming as a serious industry with monetary rewards when explored as a career option. This will help to not only build mainstream career prospects, but also transform the gaming consumer mindset and drive faster adoption.

Regardless of the biased thoughts of many about the video games industry, soon the entire world will be looking at the education, knowledge transfer and way of life in the language of video games. A holistic PR and communication strategy can help these brands create a unique category in the market. PR also helps in changing perception by educating the mass about the gaming culture and how it can help in overall growth not only individually but also the whole economy.

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