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3 Unexpected Brands Launching Their Own Video Games

Brands aren’t just marketing inside video games, now they’re starting to create their own. Here are three non-gaming brands that are getting into gaming…


YPulse’s Gaming behavioral report found that 94% of 13-39-year-olds are gaming to some capacity, and the importance of gaming for these generations has only intensified in the last year. According to Nielsen’s SuperData’s 2020 report, 55% of people picked up video games during the first phase of lockdowns as a way to escape boredom and reality and to socialize with others—and they predicted that “the long-term habits formed during lockdowns are here to stay.” The NPD reported that gaming led to an increase in spending, with sales for gaming hardware, software, and accessories up 27% at the end of 2020. Our research also found that nearly half (46%) of 13-39-year-olds started playing a new mobile or video game because of quarantine. Meanwhile, 59% of 13-39-year-olds are playing games on their phones daily, while 48% have spent on video / mobile games, so there’s no doubt that gaming has taken over a lot of young people’s (screen)time. 

We told you about how Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and Burberry were among the high fashion brands infiltrating video games, and how  brands have been marketing inside some of today’s most popular video games to reach young consumers. But now some unexpected brands are taking the commitment to gaming a step further, venturing into making their own video games to bring in more users, create content, and increase engagement. Here are three to know about:

YPulse’s gaming research discovered that 61% of  13-39-year-olds believe video games are more entertaining than TV and movies, and according to a Deloitte survey, Gen Z says they prefer video games to watching TV or movies. In fact, video games were the top entertainment pastime among 14-24-year-olds, and viewing TV or movies was in fifth place, with listening to music, browsing the internet, and social media preceding it.. Now, Netflix is finding a way to grab them by making gaming a part of their platform. Not satisfied with dominating young consumers’ media consumption (and starting trends in the process), the streaming service is reportedly stepping into video game content by hiring Mike Verdu as the new vice president of game development. Verdu has worked on games like the Sims, Plants vs. Zombies, and Star Wars franchises as a former executive at Electronic Arts. Netflix’s goal is to offer video games on its platform within the next year, and the content will appear as a new genre amongst its current TV show and film offerings. Netflix’s move into gaming is a major opportunity for the brand to expand its foray into interactive programming that it has been experimenting with through shows like Black Mirror and by licensing the rights to video games based on Stranger Things. Just last week, they officially launched games on their platform as part of a “tentative trial” in Poland. Polish subscribers who use Android devices can play Strangers Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3, which is based off the hit show, directly on the Netflix app. Going forward, the Netflix Geeked Twitter account says there will be no ads or in-app purchases, and that games will be included as part of a regular Netflix membership.

At-home fitness surged in popularity during lockdowns as companies reported a high demand in at-work gym set-ups and equipment last year. Now, building on that success, Peloton is getting into gaming. The at-home cycle maker recently unleashed a beta version of Lanebreak, an in-app video game where riders move along a “Tron-like virtual highway” featuring twists, turns, and obstacles, and will be tested with new speed and resistance levels to meet goals and earn rewards. It is being described as a “music-based experience” where users can select their riding tunes of choice and control their own avatars. The resistance knobs allow players to pick between lanes, with the easiest on the left and the hardest on the right. In the game, “streams” are visible “veins” that appear in various lanes that give players points based on how well they match a cadence range, and “breakers” are the objects that require users “to reach a certain output in a limited time period”—like two measures in a song to build up to a certain level of power. The game also has a social element that allows users to redeem points and challenge other members. The game is set to make its official debut in early 2022, and to play the game, Peloton subscribers must have a Bike or Bike+ membership. Peloton’s move into gaming will expand its livestreamed class offerings for those looking to switch up their at-home workout routine (and gaming just makes working out more fun). YPulse’s most recent fitness data shows that 42% of young people say they will prefer working out at home post-pandemic, and high-tech equipment like Peloton is helping them reach their #fitness goals.

Pre-pandemic, hardly anyone was familiar with Zoom, but it became one of the top video platforms for remote working and staying connected with families. Brands like Behr Paint and West Elm designed virtual backgrounds to liven up meetings for users (and hide messy backgrounds). But there hasn’t been much to really make a video call more interesting and engaginguntil now. Zoom is the latest to gamify its offering, partnering with video game company Flowplay for the launch of Zoom Apps. Users will be able to play games with their friends or colleagues via the app marketplace featured in the Zoom meetings. Live Game Night Poker allows 10 users to play together in a face-to-face matchup, Heads Up is a charades-style game popularized by TV host Ellen DeGeneres, and Kahoot is a game that lets people create multiple-choice quizzes. Over half of Millennials saying they have plans to work from home post-COVID, and it looks like their Zoom experience is about to get a major upgrade. 

YPulse Business users can access the full Gaming behavioral report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Business account? Find out more here.