Esports Rising 2021: Maha Abouelenein – The Esports Observer

Gaming has “changed the definition of entertainment,” according to Now Gaming co-Founder & CEO Maha Abouelenein. Speaking during the Esports Rising virtual event, Abouelenein highlighted Gen Z as the age bracket that is pushing that change as they take part in gaming “on a daily or weekly basis,” and the “way that they’re engaging has been completely shifted.”

Gaming’s entertainment value is becoming “about culture,” where it is “not just about the actual console or the mobile, or playing an actual game.” Abouelenein, who also is Founder of Organizational Consultants, said brands interested in entering the space have a number of avenues, including “sponsoring or collaborating with a streamer” or “in-game promotions.” She believes successful brands “think of themselves like publishers.”

They “produce authentic content that’s engaging,” she said, and “integrate into the gaming community where they don’t look like they’re selling.” Abouelenein said Gen Z gamers don’t want people “penetrating the gaming community to leverage it for non-authentic purposes.” She said brands need to “listen to what the audience is talking about” and find out where they can “add value in that conversation.”

The brands that “don’t get it right are the ones that are trying to use traditional marketing.” Abouelenein said the esports aspect of gaming should be part of a “holistic strategy” for brands, as people “want to see competitive play.” She noted streamers are a “really good investment” for brands, as they have a “tremendous amount of clout” among Gen Z. Partnering with a streamer would help brands get “close to the consumer” and “focus really on what they care about the most.”

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