Forbes Talks by G2A.COM | ‘Gaming and Digital Products: New Challenges and Trends’

Gaming has become one of the most promising sectors for the upcoming years, but how will trends evolve, what impact will technologies like AI or the Metaverse have, and will content creators continue to be the new thought leaders?
Soraya Castellanos, directora de Contenidos, Comunidad y Asociaciones de TikTok España y Portugal; Juan Carlos Fuster, responsable de Marketing y Comunicación de Lenovo; Bartosz Skwarczek, fundador y CEO de G2A.COM; Mónica Valle, moderadora Forbes; y Borja Moya, responsable de Marketing Digital de Burger King.

Just twenty years ago, gamers were called gamers, they were simply called video game players, and their world was much less glamorous. They were associated more with a way of life based on procrastination than as productive members of our society. Who would have thought that, over the years, they would end up being the voices most listened to by the new generations. The fact is that, at present, it is estimated that almost 40% of the world’s population plays video games. This means that more than 3 billion people actively participate in this world. Moreover, if we also take into account the consumers of digital products, we are talking about a huge sector in which of course, trends are constantly changing. As a result, marketing, companies and communication departments have been forced to evolve constantly.

To analyze this new reality, on June 8th Forbes and G2A.COM organized an event at the Hotel Único in Madrid with representatives of the main companies related to the gaming sector. A talk moderated by journalist Mónica Valle, attended by Bartosz Skwarczek, CEO and founder of G2A.COM; Juan Carlos Fuster, Head of Marketing and Communications at Lenovo; Soraya Castellanos, Market Lead Spain & Portugal at TikTok; and Borja Moya, Head of Digital Marketing at Burger King.

Bartosz Skwarczek, CEO and founder of G2A.COM, who was in charge of opening the discussion, give some initial insights into the enormous dimensions of the gaming sector and the role his company plays within it. «It is a market that moves 200,000 million dollars, more than the video and music industry combined, and G2A.COM is in a unique position, since most of the time we are the ones who open the door for other brands to arrive», explains the executive, giving as an example his collaborations with companies such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Credit Agricole; as well as with companies from other sectors such as Burger King and Domino’s Pizza.

For his part, Juan Carlos Fuster, Head of Marketing and Communications at Lenovo, also had the opportunity to explain his perspective on the company’s collaboration with gamers: «We have different types of communication with them. For example, regarding influencers, we can have direct relationships with them because we are in daily or weekly contact. We also work with different agencies to bring in new talent and execute campaigns. In addition, we have agreements with different eSports teams, who can also provide us with new talent and new ways of communicating with the audience we are looking for.»

Along the same lines, Soraya Castellanos, Market Lead Spain & Portugal at TikTok, in her first turn to speak highlighted the role of players and creators on the platform: «They are super important to us. We are the container where everything happens, but they are the soul. We have a close relationship with them; we listen to their feedback so we make sure we create the best possible experience for them in terms of content creation. In addition, we are present at major gaming events to continue celebrating and supporting the gaming community and the brands that are part of this ecosystem.»

Closing this first round, Borja Moya, Head of Digital Marketing at Burger King, emphasized the importance of understanding gamers and providing them with a unique experience: «We need to be very well-informed in terms of detecting who is a gamer today, and this delimits the way we activate with and for them. However, for Burger King the common denominator in everything we do is to bring a new experience or enhance the experience for gamers and always doing so through our brand’s value proposition».

Trends in the gaming sector

Regarding the upcoming trends in the gaming sector, Juan Carlos Fuster believes that «the way in which new generations consume content is undergoing significant changes. New media are emerging while others are constantly disappearing, thanks to gamers and platforms. We must keep in mind that this process will continue to evolve constantly, without knowing exactly where it is headed. To adapt, we need to be quick and open-minded to the arrival of new generations, platforms and ways of consuming content».

Soraya Castellanos is of a similar opinion, explaining how «on TikTok, more than a billion people around the world connect through their passions and what they love, and games are a fundamental part of that». The magnitude of this connection is reflected in their impressive numbers, «Last year alone, gaming content amassed over 3 billion views on TikTok, with over 36 billion views on hashtags like ‘gaming.’ The interest is evident and intersectionality plays a key role for games to reach diverse audiences,» explains Castellanos, who also highlights the versatility of TikTok as a discovery platform that «through the personalized feed allows quality content to reach interested people. 

Bartosz Skwarczek, also seems to be clear about the trends in the video game market: «We will see more AAA and indie game releases due to the global economic situation. Customers are becoming more and more cautious about spending money, so developers and producers will opt for sequels and re-releases that require less budget. In addition, customers will increasingly look for discounts,» he predicts.

Finally, from Burger King, Borja Moya believes that «new media consumption habits will be a trigger for this industry to continue growing. The evolution of technology fuels the gaming experience for customers and the general public. This industry is growing faster and faster and no one knows where it is going to go, but it is going to grow for sure,» explains Moya.

The importance of security

What is clear is that, like any digital phenomenon, it is also accompanied by threats, so cybersecurity is going to be a fundamental factor. In this regard, Borja Moya affirms that Burger King is taking important steps to ensure a secure customer experience: «We have our own e-commerce platform that is 100% GDPR compliant. We have a dedicated team that takes care of the security of customers’ financial and personal data. It’s key for us that everyone feels safe on our platform, as trust is key to maintaining their loyalty.»

In the case of TikTok, Soraya Castellanos stresses the importance of cybersecurity and data protection on the platform: «We take it very seriously. We comply with EU legislation and regulations. In addition, we have announced the opening of two new data centers in Europe to ensure the security of our users’ data. We are at the forefront of everything we do, and TikTok is built with security by default to make sure everyone is safe on the platform.»

Cybersecurity is also a constant concern for G2A.COM’s Bartosz Skwarczek, who recognizes that the fight against cyber-attacks is a race «between the dark side and the good side of the Internet”. «G2A.COM, as a reputable platform, faces thousands of attacks on a daily basis, just like other major platforms”. To combat this threat, Skwarczek stresses the importance of using all resources available on the market. In addition, G2A.COM has developed customized internal tools over the years to “address specific frauds that hackers attempt to perpetrate, in an effort to constantly improve the customer experience.»

«We focus exclusively on verified business vendors using rigorous AML and KYC processes,» explains Skwarczek, for whom the weakest point in cybersecurity is always the human factor, which is why they have also invested heavily in education and awareness campaigns. This comprehensive approach has enabled G2A to significantly reduce the fraud rate compared to the industry average. «While the fraud rate in e-commerce is 2.9%, at G2A it stands at just 0.2%, ten times better than the average,» he recounts.

«In the case of Lenovo, the approach to cybersecurity is slightly different due to its position as a manufacturer and developer of its own devices,» according to Juan Carlos Fuster, who stresses that the security process starts in the factories and extends to partners and suppliers, ensuring control of all the elements needed to manufacture the devices. Lenovo has established the ThinkShield brand for the security of its products, utilizing its majority ownership of factories to ensure a more comprehensive control. In addition, the company implements advanced technologies in its devices, such as the ability to disconnect the webcam and microphone, as well as store biometric data on an internal microchip instead of the cloud.

An environment of constant creation

One of the most determining factors for the future of the sector is the creation of content, which has found in platforms such as TikTok a window to the world. This has led the entertainment hub, according to Soraya Castellanos, to the fact that «the entry barrier when it comes to creating content is really low. It makes us all creators,» she says, although she also insists on the importance of continuing to innovate to offer the best user experience.

In the case of Burger King, Borja Moya highlights the challenges faced by a non-endemic company when creating digital products, recalling the success of some campaigns carried out in collaboration with renowned publishers. «We have created actions with NBA 2K, Call of Duty and Fortnite games, using their tools to convey the value proposition of our brand,» explains Moya, highlighting, for example, the creation of the first edible court in the NBA 2K game, in which they offered free products to players who scored from specific points.

From Lenovo, Juan Carlos Fuster also explained the different campaigns and digital communications that they carry out globally and locally. He stressed the importance of knowing the local market and adapting to different audiences. «We can decide and build campaigns from scratch, work with local influencers and target audiences appropriately,» he says.

While from G2A.COM, Bartosz Skwarczek highlighted the importance of meeting clients’ needs and constantly being in development. In addition, he highlights the G2A Plus affiliate program, which gives content creators the opportunity to earn money and share experiences with users. He also highlighted the collaboration with developers and publishers through the G2A Direct program, where they share royalties and work together.

An increasingly female-driven industry

In the final stretch of the discussion, Mónica Valle posed specific questions to each participant. In the case of Bartosz Skwarczek, from G2A.COM, it was about the role of women in video games and whether current campaigns and companies in the sector are responding to their needs. For Bartosz «women are not as visible as they should be, despite statistically being 46% of gamers, because it is often wrongly perceived that video games are mainly for men and boys, which is far from the truth.» On the importance of addressing diversity in the industry, Bartosz believes that in Spain there is a highly developed sensitivity, which includes gender, sexuality, race, language and nationality. «For us this is an absolutely fundamental value and we are great ambassadors of it,» explains the manager of G2A.COM, a multicultural company with workers of more than 50 nationalities and 40% of them women.

Bartosz Skwarczek was also asked to answer the question about the opportunity to use video games as an educational tool in classrooms. Bartosz believes that the important thing is to «adapt to the needs of students and use video games as an effective way to capture their attention and improve their learning». In this regard, the executive highlights the G2A.COM Academy program, where they collaborate with teachers and universities to identify which games can be beneficial for each subject. «What we did was to start working with teachers, with universities, with the aim of using games intelligently and selecting those that can effectively teach concepts such as economics, providing practical and visually attractive examples,» explains the manager, who recalls that it was implemented «for free and with great success» in countries such as Poland, Greece and Spain.

Conquering the digital natives

In the case of Borja Moya, from Burger King, the question was about how to evolve and adapt companies to the new generation of digital native consumers. «One of our most difficult objectives is to reach this new generation. To do this, it is important not only to identify where these consumers are, who are mostly on social networks, but also to understand how to approach them effectively,» acknowledges Moya, who stresses the importance for Burger King of «having personality and being a human brand, since this new generation does not like the artificial. They like that the brand is manifested in conversation in RRSS on a one-to-one basis, even with its own positioning on certain current issues, and with a 100% focus on entertaining and amusing.”

The new opinion leaders

For Soraya Castellanos, the question was about the relationship with content creators and how they bring value to the video game industry. In her opinion, «the important thing is to be clear that the community rewards authenticity. When the content is real, it works well. So that in itself is attractive to creators and to gamers.» He also shared data on TikTok’s impact on the video game industry, noting that 75% of the platform’s users had discovered new games on the platform and 36% had downloaded a game after seeing it on TikTok. Castellanos was also keen to highlight the opportunities for content creation beyond gameplay, such as music, cosplay and the representation of games in real life. He stressed that this creates trends and adds value to games, allowing them to be a global phenomenon.

The importance of hardware

Finally, Mónica Valle asked Juan Carlos Fuster, from Lenovo, a last question about future trends regarding the product side. According to the executive, «years ago we discovered that gamers were a huge trend and something that was going to continue to grow, so in 2017 we launched a brand for them called Legion, because, although we had the devices, we did not have a specific brand for them», which demonstrates the importance for Lenovo of these buyer profiles, which range from the occasional to the most dedicated who are looking for more advanced devices. In addition, Fuster explains that another of the segments they are currently focusing on the most is console add-ons, especially with their offering of high-end monitors.

In a headline…

Bartosz Skwarczek, CEO and founder of G2A.COM: There’s a saying I love: the world has never changed as fast as it is now, but it will never change as slowly as it is now. We are now facing technological advances such as artificial intelligence, the Metaverse, cybersecurity and e-commerce, which are taking us to a place we can’t even imagine.

Juan Carlos Fuster, Head of Marketing and Communications at Lenovo: In these times you have to be open-minded and brave. You have to understand what’s going on and make decisions about it. You may fail, you may not, but at least you are doing something different and looking for something different.

Soraya Castellanos, Market Lead Spain & Portugal at TikTok: We will continue to try to innovate in the way we offer experiences to our users, as well as ensuring they have the tools to freely and safely create and express themselves and enjoy the community.

Borja Moya, Head of Digital Marketing at Burger King: I think digital is very important, but so long as it doesn’t make us lose human contact. We have to take advantage of the digital advances in order to enhance relationships between people, make the brand closer with our public and improve the experience of our customers when they decide to consume our services and products.

*You can read it in Spanish here.

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