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Gaming’s direct-to-consumer pipeline is shifting to webstores


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Direct-to-consumer marketing is becoming a more important part of gaming’s economy, as a panel of experts discussed at this week’s GamesBeat Summit 2023. Ron Scott, regional director of the Americas at Xsolla, led the discussion with Tim Montgomery, SVP at Mastercard and Jenna Seiden, VP of Business Development at Niantic Labs. All three spoke about the importance of direct-to-consumer utility, as well as finding new ways of advertising to young gamers.

Seiden said one of the more important parts of advertising to a younger gaming audience is meeting them where they are and reducing the barrier for entry. “What are the two things you have on you at all times? I have my phone and I have my credit cards. Same thing: What is the most approachable and what is the closest thing to you?”

Montgomery agreed that one of the main features of direct-to-consumer marketing is making it easiest for users: “How do make sure that, when you transact with your credential, that it is as frictionless, as seamless and as secure as, say, dipping a chip in a terminal?”

Advantages of webstores

Seiden pointed out that the webstores are part of a lineage of in-game monetization that stems from traditional advertising through in-game ads. They also help gamers stay within the experience. “You want to keep the audience in the game — you don’t want to send them out. You want to keep them where they are and decrease that friction … [Gen Z] cares about efficiency. They care about staying in the experience. Those switching costs are high, so where do we want reach them? In a webstore where you can provide additional incremental value, possibly.”


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Montgomery added, “Wouldn’t it be awesome, if you can launch a branded card that would tap into unique rewards that you could access in Pokémon GO or a similar type of property? The unique value propositions you can develop and deliver and tailor to this audience is exciting to me.”

Scott agreed with the sentiment that it’s worthwhile to approach gamers where they are. “I think you’ve said this before, as you were positioning it, it’s really knowing what your business is, having that clear understanding of your target and how to get all the different resources aligned.”

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