Why Do Brands Ignore Gaming?

It’s an obvious marketing opportunity, right? Well, sort of.

Clark Boyd
9 min readAug 3, 2022

We’re here to ask a question, then try — perhaps in vain — to answer it.

That question: Why do brands ignore gaming?

We’ll start with basic syllogistic reasoning:

  • Brands want to be where their audience spends time
  • Their audience spends time gaming


  • Brands should spend money on gaming platforms


Well, sort of.

A new WARC report finds that 38% of brands believe gaming is one of the most significant consumer behaviors for the marketing industry.

That puts it in the top three overall, behind mobile and video. (And a lot of gaming happens on mobile, watched in a similar fashion to video streaming.)

If we’re following this logical flow, we’d assume that brands are falling over themselves to spend money on gaming platforms. After all, they’ve had no issue splurging on metaverse platforms that no-one actually uses. (Check out this thread on the insane money a16z has wasted on Axie Infinity already.)

But no: the WARC report finds brands are spending, on average, 3% of ad budget on gaming platforms.

That means some brands are experimenting with gaming, yet most are steering clear.

And this is just one report, of course, but its findings do chime with what I typically see in the industry. Everyone has gone beyond the clichés about gaming as a nerdy pursuit for dateless wonders, without their ad budgets following the new logic.

So we must ask: at which point does the chain break?

Our first assumption (Brands want to be where their audience spends time) holds up to some scrutiny. It’s not true all the time, or for every company, but it has broadly been the case since Moses was in shorts.

If people are glued to screens, paying attention to something, brands will pay to interrupt and get their message across for as long as they can sustain said attention.



Clark Boyd

Tech/business writer, lecturer (Columbia), and data analyst. >500k views on Medium. I used to be with it, but then they changed what ‘it’ was.