Coral Cripps
Jul 30, 2023

Dept launches gaming division after finding '88% of Gen Z are gamers'

Isabel Perry, vice-president of emerging technology at Dept, tells clients: 'Your future customer is a gamer.'

Dept/Games: new agency division will focus on
Dept/Games: new agency division will focus on "gaming-focused strategy, design and development"

Amid research that claims a vast number of young people across the globe identify as gamers, Dept has launched its own gaming-focused division, Dept/Games.

Dept said nine in 10 (88%) people in Gen Z and 94% of Gen A identify as gamers, according to research by PwC and Newzoo. This means a vast majority of "future clients" will have grown up with gaming and be familiarised with its culture and social mechanics, making the creation of a dedicated division and team imperative.

Dept/Games will focus on creating activations across AR, VR, AI, metaverse and popular gaming platforms. It will be fronted by Isabel Perry, vice-president of emerging technology at Dept. 

Perry told Campaign the agency's team of 300 people (which it launched late last year) works across metaverse and Web3 projects.

Of this total staff count, 100 members will now work on “gaming-focused strategy, design and development” within Dept/Games specifically – including 43 game designers, 31 game producers, 37 3D designers and 12 paid media planners and buyers.

Perry also explained that the division has outlined four key focus areas for brands looking to launch gaming activations: audience penetration, deep engagement, loyal communities and new revenue streams.

She said: “Right now, it’s impossible to track time spent in a game and convert it to a sale on a website – we’re just not there yet. So as a brand, you have to have a level of confidence and trust in brand engagement and awareness and driving overall business impact."

Dept/Games' mission statement also stresses that “games aren’t just games” any more, claiming that their ability to connect brands with players through immersive activations (such as metaverse concerts, educational experiences and AR filters) have made them “the new social media, catwalks, stadiums, storefronts and classrooms”.

“The needle is pointing in the direction of both gaming platforms and platforms that have gaming culture embedded in them,” Perry added. 

“When we talk about gaming, we’re building game experiences. But this is also about meeting people in the culture of gaming and speaking in a way that resonates with those people across the fastest-growing platforms."

Since launching in 2009, Dept claims it has shipped “more than 250 AAA games” and worked with a roster of major brands (including Apple, Meta, Snap, eBay, TikTok, H&M and Disney) to produce  gaming activations across various platforms. 

These include a campaign created for eBay in 2022 (pictured below), which enabled visitors to London’s Comic Con to create interactive trading cards (and generated over six million impressions without the use of paid media).

It also created AR lenses for Snapchat (which have had more than 12 million views) and a customised Fortnite island created for popular European festival Tomorrowland, which attracted more than a million virtual attendees during the pandemic in 2020.

Perry said Dept/Games plans to focus on helping more brands connect with audiences through the social spaces that today's biggest gaming platforms (such as Fortnite and Roblox, which have an estimated 30 million and 66 million global daily active users respectively) are able to foster.

“Advertisers and brands must adapt to consumer behaviour, which is  increasingly in 3D social spaces,” she said.

“The thing that is really magical about games is this evolution of social media. The social affirmation of people interacting in a space, which can be hosted by a brand, is so powerful – it’s not just an individual or an isolated experience. You’re giving people the tools to express themselves to their friends, rather than just showing them an ad.”

Campaign UK

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