Everyone is speculating about the metaverse, but there are 2.7 billion people interacting with video games and the content around it worldwide.
VCCP believes brands are missing that opportunity in light of a shiny object. So on Thursday, the agency launched a global gaming offering called VCCP+ to help its clients take a more strategic approach to the opportunity. The offering is global and headquartered in New York.
VCCP+ purposely avoids the hype around the metaverse to show brands how they can engage with an opportunity that’s right in front of them.
“Brands should be thinking about the games space as an equally significant opportunity as social,” said Jonny Shaw, CEO of VCCP+. “It’s the most significant media and entertainment vertical of them all.”
Most brands that test the waters in gaming do so with a one-off activation or a PR stunt. VCCP+ aims to make gaming and the content that surrounds it a core and always-on part of its clients’ marketing strategies backed by data and insight, similar to how brands think about social media today.
“This is absolutely not about an experimental thing on the side where we try to get 10% of a client’s budget because some teenagers like video games,” Shaw said. “This should be a core marketing discipline.”
VCCP+, which today consists of a group of 15-20 people globally, will sit with client teams to craft a go-to-market strategy for brands around what Shaw calls the gaming “multiverse” – the ecosystem of social media platforms and online communities that exist around games.
Using syndicated data about gaming audiences, VCCP+ will offer clients a multiverse mapping exercise that helps them understand where they should be engaging to reach people around gaming, underpinning strategies with insight so they can develop into more than just one-offs.
“In the gaming ecosystem, brands are faced with a paralysis of choice,” said Sashi Nair, head of strategy at VCCP+. “When they get down to execution, they don’t have the strategic reassurance that they’re doing the right thing for their investment, audience and brand. We’re providing that strategic reassurance.”
In addition to strategy, VCCP has teams of creators and UX designers in London and Prague, as well as makers from its global content studio Girl&Bear, that can actually build out gaming experiences for brands. VCCP+ also plans to give clients dashboards with proprietary analytics to optimize investments and prove they are working over time.
Unlike most agencies of late, VCCP+ is staying away from talking about the metaverse within its gaming proposition. That’s partly because the metaverse doesn’t actually exist yet, whereas gaming is a huge untapped opportunity for marketers to grab today, Shaw said.
“‘Metaverse’ is an absolute trigger word in the gaming community because it’s bullshit and it doesn’t exist,” he said. “The metaverse today feels like Second Life part two, and that didn’t work.”
Nair added: “The gaming multiverse already is what the metaverse is trying to be. It’s here and now vs. lightyears down the road.”