The Glow within the Gaming World
At LIGHTBLUE we no longer view beauty integration in gaming as a trend, but rather a staple in the industry. And major brands are taking notice. Men and women are bringing a fresh look to gaming with their beauty regimens in tow. The gamer lifestyle consists of multiple hours in front of a screen which has prompted conversation around self-care and health-conscious shifts to combat screen wear-out and solutions to fuel continuous energy. Lengthy screen time has invited the idea of product integration and sponsorships as a seamless addition that beauty brands are taking advantage of.
This shift is increasing virtual sales for beauty brands solely from integrating products into the gaming experience. One major trend we anticipate beauty brands jumping in on is collaborating with digital artists to provide unique gaming/beauty integrations packaged as NFT’s. Digital art is becoming a sought-after purchase for collectors and will continue to reach high-end dollar amounts throughout the year 2021 and beyond. The growth within this space will be exponential due to the new avenues highlighted in this article below. You can also check out our deep dive into why NFT’s are the future on our latest thought piece by Design Director Simon Walsh right here
1.Guaranteed Revenue within the Virtual Space
Capitalizing on the immersive nature of gaming, brands are providing virtual beauty solutions to generate sales within gaming experiences. As more virtual-only products hit the marketplace, make-up seems to be the low hanging fruit that is consistently being integrated throughout digital platforms. Additionally, developers are considering the usage of Zoom in their designs for virtual beauty, in realms outside of gaming. L’Oréal led the charge by developing a virtual only cosmetic program that can activate on Snapchat, Zoom, Instagram and Google Duo. With screen wear-out hitting an all-time high due to mandated “work from home” orders, we anticipate further engagement trends increasing for online meeting platforms to break the monotony of the workday.
Custom skins are a go-to purchase for gamers which allow players to change the theme or appearance of their environment or character. These purchases are purely for aesthetic purposes and are in high demand. One beauty company, Evenprime – a unisex skincare brand – has stepped in to provide a character skin for players within the game Spellbreak. With the purchase of a serum, gamers also get access to the virtual design.
2. Untapped Territory
One major and exciting trend we anticipate beauty brands jumping on within the gaming space is developing products and collectables presented in the form of “Non-fungible Tokens” (NTFs). These NFTs are emerging and fueling the development of unique digital art or objects. Collectors are clamouring to purchase and own these items due to the one-of-a-kind positioning, and to also use them for trading within gaming platforms. This cryptocurrency is built on a smart contract platform like the Ethereum blockchain which is following closely in value behind the likes of Bitcoin. The assets can be used for purchase within gaming platforms, the largest one to date being a virtual plot of land on the blockchain game Axie Infinity which sold for $1.5 million in early February of 2021.
According to an article by Decrypt
, virtual worlds are the most popular segment with 25% of the market, but art is catching up with sales growing by 2,800% in 2020. NFT transcriptions tripled in 2020 highlighted in a new report by NonFungible and L’Atlier, bringing the total value of the NFT market to $250 million. Whether beauty brands come in to develop unique art, collab with gamers/artists to integrate their product, or create their own social tokens for brand loyalists to purchase and use, the beauty industry can capitalize on this crypto world through multiple avenues. With a crossover for leaders in the beauty industry to take advantage of, such as building virtual worlds with their products at the forefront, allows beauty gurus to become collectors of their favorite brands, further increasing revenue for those willing to dive into this new white space. The first brand to define how to do this for their benefit, will see immense return and extreme brand loyalists.
3. Brands on Board
With the growing popularity of the gaming industry, beauty brands have taken notice of the increasing female user base and the overall white space available which lies within self-care. At LIGHTBLUE, we have strategically identified immense value in supporting the self-care message with the beauty brands we work with and continue to see this topic at the forefront of conversation. Some beauty brands have even begun building entire campaigns around the gaming community to reach its widespread and diverse consumer base. User insights point to a correlation in regards to escapism when it comes to gaming and self-care. Animal Crossing for example has collaborated with the likes of Givenchy, Tachta, Glossier and Gillette Venus supporting the crossover between the beauty and gaming verticals. Additional collaborations and trends are highlighted below.
All Female Gaming Festival
The Aussie based girl-gamer festival shatters the male dominated glass ceiling by providing a platform for female talent. LVMH-owned Benefit Cosmetics has signed a sponsorship deal with the eSports festival in 2019 which allows them to promote their products via demos throughout the event.
Chiefs Esports Club
L’Oréal Paris Men Expert partnered with an Aussie organization for 2020, the Chiefs Esports Club. They provided expert grooming products and additional giveaways via special events and tournaments. According to Esports Insider, this deal isn’t L’Oréal Men Expert’s first involvement in esports, having previously sponsored China’s premier competition for League of Legends, the LPL.
TwitchCon & MAC
The annual gaming conference, TwitchCon, promotes “everything you love about Twitch” which is a major platform gamer use to share their live stream gaming sessions. MAC was the first beauty brand to come in in 2019 and secure a 20×30 foot booth leading with make-up giveaways and application services. Further, they integrated top female players Imane Anys (Pokimane) and Kristen Michaela (KittyPlays) for exclusive meet and greets during the event for MAC users and fans. We anticipate these physical activations to increase with beauty brand presence as we get through the age of Covid.
Skin on Skin
Covered by Trend Hunter
, Swedish pharmacy Apotek Hjärtat joined digital video game distribution service, Steam in 2019 and launched Skin for Skin which is a unique campaign that gives players the chance to exchange in-game skins for real skincare products. It discusses the issue that long-term exposure to blue light which permeates from mobile devices and screens, cause skin damage, inflammation and weakness to the skin’s surface.
With Skin for Skin, video game players can befriend Apotek Hjärtat on Steam and gift them a skin in order to be sent free skincare products in the mail from the pharmacy. The products include selections from the Spot Stop line like face wash, toner, spot treatment creams and more.
4. Exclusive Product Development
Unique opportunities for brands have opened up within product development. Brands have the opportunity within the beauty space to develop collaborative cosmetic or skin care products to directly service the gaming community. More and more brands are utilizing main characters within games or popular gamers to help reach the fans of specific groups.
MAC Cosmetics and China’s most popular mobile game, Honor of Kings, collaborated to develop 5 lipstick colors to match their main characters. The launch prompted over 14,000 pre-orders and a complete sell out within 24 hours of the release.
Developed for gamers with dry hands, the hand crème Gamer Grip was created to help improve the grip for gamers with dry hands.
With a focus on “nerd” cosmetics, Espionage developed a Gameboy cartridge compact kit that was actually an eye shadow kit or blush kit. They also created “nerd nail kits” that mimic favored gaming designs for easy at home application.
Beauty within gaming is no longer a trend, but the norm. Aesthetic driven purchases create opportunities for beauty companies to create skins and other virtual assets for gamers to purchase on a recurring basis as opposed to a one time buy. The beauty brands that identify how to monetize their offerings within NFT’s or social tokens that can be used for exchange in gaming, will reap the reward of dedicated collectors and see an increase in brand loyalty. This will extend brand reach in front of the eyes of new consumers, adding to increased brand awareness and elevated prestige within the digital art collector space. Unique beauty offerings will win the hearts of gamers as brands continue to develop products with these users at top of mind. The beauty brands that have already tapped into the gaming community continue to support them via sponsorships and other ways that bring value to their everyday gamer lifestyle. We are excited to see the continued crossover within these two verticals of gaming and beauty, and find value within the growth that has already occurred within the gaming and beauty industry.