EA’s brand boss says the term ‘gamer’ is outdated
“Gaming is no longer a medium or an industry, it is simply ‘interactive’”
Interactive entertainment is so widespread and takes so many forms that the term “gamer” is an outdated one.
That’s the view of Electronic Arts‘ VP of brand, Elle McCarthy, who told Adweek that “the convergence of gaming and everything in culture” means almost everyone is now a ‘player’.
“Gaming is no longer a medium or an industry, it is simply ‘interactive’. You can now interact with almost everything through play—from an interest area like interior design to a movement like Black Lives Matter or exploring your sexual identity,” she said.
According to McCarthy, “there’s really no such thing as gamers at all and understanding that will be crucial” for marketers hoping to engage in the interactive entertainment space.
“The recent rise in more lo-fi live service games allows faster integration of culture than ever before,” she said. “This is a huge opportunity for marketing and forces a more audience-first and fluid approach for brands looking to engage authentically.”
McCarthy claims just 14% of players describe themselves as gamers and the figure drops to 6% for women.
“There are no best practice rules for how to engage with these niche, multifaceted and passionate communities,” she said. “Trying to target gamers is like saying you’re targeting people who like music or people who breathe in air.”
McCarthy joined EA in February 2020 with a remit to breathe new life into the near 40-year-old brand.
Founded in 1982, Redwood City, California-based EA is best known for its EA Sports series including FIFA and Madden, as well as its Battlefield, Apex Legends, and The Sims franchises.
EA has over 450 million registered players globally, according to its website, and in its most recent fiscal year it posted net revenues of $5.6 billion.
“Electronic Arts’ premise is that gaming wakes up your brain and it’s the most connective entertainment medium on earth,” McCarthy said. “Our company has grown through incredible innovation, bringing this purpose back to the center of the company. This is brand innovation in action.
“I’m currently working on the brand purpose strategy to spread positivity through our products and give back through social impact.”
EA announced a Dead Space remake, racing game Grid Legends, and Battlefield 2042’s Portal mode at its EA Play Live showcase last week.