Google announced the winners of Google Play’s Best of 2021, a celebration of apps and games that made positive contributions to culture this year. This is the first time Google expands the awards to apps and games on tablets, smartwatches, and TVs.
While it may look like just a fun award to keep on track of the top apps chosen in each category, Google Play’s Best of 2021 has brought more insights about your brand strategy than you realize.
A little bit of context
In the last couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic forced people around the world to stay home and adopt social distancing practices. For many, this scenario produced anxiety, uncertainties, loneliness, and a potential major health risk due to isolation. Playing games proved to be a good measure of relief, as we can see in the Washington Post article about the games that got us through the pandemic.
Multiplayer games, especially, allowed us to connect with friends (and even make new ones), enjoy some fun moments together, and be part of a community, even if we were physically apart.
But what about making multiplayer games cross-platform? Well, it happens that it’s easier to gather friends to play the same game together if the title works on different devices. Even if you don’t have a Nintendo Switch or an iPhone, it’s still possible to play Pokémon UNITE with your friends if they have an Android smartphone.
And applying the cross-platform strategy (even better if combined with interactive content and gamification tools) can lead to powerful results for your brand.
Cross-Platform Trend and Marketing Insights from Google Play’s Best of 2021
A partnership between Unity and The Harris Poll produced the Cross-Platform Gaming 2021 Report. The report explains that:
Over half (56%) of all Americans played multiplayer games in the past year and a significant majority (87%) of those gamers have played cross-platform games; 43% of cross-platform gamers express that they want more cross-platform game options.
So, for the game industry, it looks like crossplay gaming is a major trend for multiplayer titles from now on. But what can marketers take from this?
Leverage interactivity and gamification in your content strategy
Games are some of the most interactive and immersive experiences around.
Delivering interactive content in a gamified way can be a good approach for your brand to engage the audience. This is especially true if it’s an audience composed of young adults (18-34) and if they’re used to a game logic involving tasks, rewards, completing missions and leveling up.
This video by Gamify shows examples of gamification techniques to consider:
Cross-platform is key
Whatever the interactive content strategy you use, it’s important to bear in mind that, for users, the less friction we have between platforms, the better it is for engagement.
This is even more important when users can interact with each other during the experience. That means you should avoid a quiz or an advergame that works well on iOS but has serious bugs on Android, desktops, and so on.
Don’t forget humans are social beings
During the pandemic, a significant number of people engaged in playing video games. When the pandemic is finally declared over, it is possible that people will spend more of their time outdoors and with friends and family.
According to this article we can deduce that people became more open to using games as social spaces as gaming is an “inherently social affair.” This may indicate that they can be more open to similar interactive experiences, too.
It may be harder to catch the attention of the audience these days, but listening to their pains and developing creative ideas for interactivity and engagement can be a game-changer in your strategy.