Dentsu has appointed gaming giant Electronic Arts' Brent Koning to head up its global gaming operations as the agency group looks to help brands reach the billions of gamers across the globe.
Koning becomes executive vice-president, global gaming lead for Dentsu Gaming, a new role that leads all aspects of the operation, including delivering "interconnected brand experiences that fuels clients' growth", strategic investments, partnerships and innovation.
He joins Dentsu following two decades in the gaming, entertainment and esports industry, most recently as vice-president of esports at EA, a position that oversaw online competitive titles including EA Sports FC (formerly EA Sports Fifa), Apex Legends and Madden NFL Football. He and his team launched the Fifa Ultimate Team Championship Series in 2017, which reached some 20 million players across 60 countries. He left EA earlier this month.
Dentsu Gaming was unveiled in 2021 – following the launch of the group's UK and Ireland gaming division DGame the previous year. It is positioned as a global integrated agency offer for brands targeting the gaming space. It pools resources from across the Dentsu group, including Dentsu Japan and Dentsu International, from media agencies Carat, Dentsu X and iProspect, and Dentsu Creative (formed from the integration of dentsuMB and Isobar).
Before joining EA in 2016, Koning held leadership roles at tech groups including Ncompass International, Microsoft (working on Xbox) and Roundhouse, working in disciplines such as advertising, marketing, account management, events and partnerships.
Masaya Nakamura, Dentsu's chief integrated solutions officer, described Koning, who reports to him, as having a "unique portfolio" in the gaming industry.
He continued: "Not only has he partnered with some of the world's biggest publishers in EA and Xbox, he also has valuable experience working with global brands and delivering marketing solutions. I'm thrilled Brent is joining the Dentsu family to accelerate the existing success of Dentsu gaming which brings decades of gaming expertise from Japan to the rest of the world, and helping our clients engage with their audience beyond traditional media channels."
Dentsu recently launched gaming data and insights via the combination of Dentsu Consumer Connection Systems research panel data and gaming data supplied by GWI across 21 markets. The 42-page report was released to help brands explore six gaming archetypes and how brands can potentially appeal to them.
Koning noted that gaming is "evolving at lightning speed with innovation and technology expediting consumer adoption", adding: "I'm excited to be on a journey with Dentsu to create, enhance and invest in authentic gaming experiences for our clients in publishing, creator worlds and esports."