In-Game Advertising

Fashion in the Gaming Industry

January 30, 2024
7 Minutes

Fashion and clothing are a form of self expression. The clothes we wear show our personality and how we want others to see us. In real life and games, what we wear can be a powerful statement about who we are.

In gaming, fashion plays a similar role. Gamers often spend a significant amount of time customizing their avatars. They do this to reflect their personality and preferences.

In some cases, they may even start the game over to perfect their character’s look. This is because fashion in gaming offers players the opportunity to reinvent themselves and communicate their chosen online identity through their gaming avatars.

Fashion in gaming is more than just style; it's a way for players to personalize their gaming experience while expressing their unique identities. 

Players invest in virtual self expression to enhance their gaming experience which increases their engagement in the virtual world. 

How Fashion is Implemented in Gaming

Fashion in gaming goes beyond entertainment; it's a creative outlet where players can craft their worlds, personalize characters, and socialize.

It’s a popular way for people to connect and explore their identities, leading to more sophisticated fashion choices within the gaming community.

These aspects align naturally with the essence of fashion — self-expression and influencing one's surroundings even if it’s virtual. 

Fashion brands are changing their digital strategies to engage more authentically with audiences in gaming and virtual spaces.

Fashion will continue to have a significant impact on the gaming industry. It plays a vital role in shaping the overall gaming experience. 

Additionally, it serves as a motivation for innovative brands to capitalize on the opportunities it presents.  

Below, we explore some of the key ways fashion elements in gaming:

In-Game Ads:  80% of gaming titles use the "free-to-play" model as it’s accessible and appeals to a wide audience. Revenue is primarily generated through micro-transactions and advertisements. Evolving in-game ad formats are becoming more immersive, distinguishing themselves as a significant avenue for brand engagement. The extensive reach of these ads and ease of implementation make this a preferred ad format amongst brands. 

Character Customization: Opens a realm of possibilities in gaming. It enables players to design avatars with distinct clothing, accessories, and styles. Such personalization is a major drawcard for players, enhancing their engagement and connection with the game.

  • In-Game Fashion Items including apparel, accessories, and skins, are crafted by developers. Players can get these items through purchases, achievements, or special events, adding an interesting dimension to the game world.

Collaborations with Fashion Brands: The collaboration between fashion brands and game developers brings real-world fashion into games. These partnerships create limited-edition clothes for games creating interest and driving demand for these once-off items.

Gaming Merchandise: Popular games extend their reach with digital fashion lines. Fans can express their love for gaming in the real world through game-inspired fashion items such as clothes, accessories, and shoes. These items blur the line between the real and virtual worlds, allowing fans to showcase their passion even outside of gaming. 

Virtual Fashion Shows and Events: Are taking center stage, with in-game shows and events becoming popular platforms to showcase the latest trends. Players can join in by creating their own designs or going to events, adding glamor to the gaming world.

Streaming and User-Generated Content: Gaming influencers and creators seamlessly blend fashion into their content, discussing in-game outfits or featuring gaming-related clothing in their streams.

Learn more about how brands can leverage the creator economy in our blog:

How Brands Can Capitalize on the Gaming Industry’s Creator Economy.’

A Brand's Perspective: What is In-Game Advertising?

In-game advertising stands out as the most accessible method for fashion brands to enter the gaming arena.

Its ease of implementation requires little technical know-how making it an ideal entry point for brands.

Media vendors enable this process by providing brands access to a diverse gaming inventory, allowing them to display ads across various games and environments.

Fashion brands can collaborate with vendors to incorporate their advertising campaigns into video games, to reach a larger audience and facilitate partnerships with game publishers.

In-game advertising is a smart way for brands, who are new to the in-gaming advertising space, to get started without the need to establish direct relationships with game publishers. 

This strategy allows brands to seamlessly integrate into the gaming experience, fostering a natural connection with players.

Gamers and Style: What Fashion Means for Gamers

As younger generations look for new ways to express themselves online, demand for digital fashion is growing.

A Roblox report reveals that for Gen Z, avatar customization is more than a fun exercise. In fact, among the surveyed Gen Z participants, 47% view it as a form of self-expression, while 43% find that customizing their online appearance boosts their self-esteem.

This data highlights that the younger generation prefers dressing their characters in well-known branded items, with nearly half searching for unique digital fashion offerings.

According to the Roblox report which surveyed 1,000 Gen Z users, 94% have customized their avatars, with 53% of Gen Z gamers being deeply invested in creating distinct digital personas.

Interestingly, older Gen Z users, especially females, are more inclined to make their avatars stand out. Among 22-24-year-olds, 60% (65% being female) engage extensively in customization, compared to 45% of 14-17-year-olds."

The trend of creating unique digital characters through fashion in gaming signifies a broader shift in Gen Z's approach to online identity and video game fashion preferences.

fashion for gamers

Source: Roblox

Virtual Wardrobes: Fashion in Gaming

Gamers enjoy dressing their characters in trendy streetwear, luxury, and sporty outfits, mirroring real-world fashion trends. 

Brands can leverage this trend by using product placements such as in-game apparel, and engaging ads to integrate fashion into gaming. 

Leading brands such as Nike, Balenciaga, and Gucci have already embraced this trend, effectively merging gaming with contemporary fashion in video games.

The Sims 4: Gucci Off the Grid

fashion in gaming

Source: Gucci Equilibrium

Gucci's commitment to sustainability is evident in their "Off the Grid" collection, part of the Gucci Circular Lines initiative. 

This eco-conscious collection was also made available in The Sims 4, showcasing Gucci's innovative approach to virtual fashion.

Balenciaga and Fortnite 

fashion in gaming

The Fornite x Balenciaga collaboration. Photo: Courtesy of Balenciaga

The collaboration between Fortnite and Balenciaga showcases the powerful synergy between high fashion and gaming.

Inspired by Balenciaga's iconic designs, the Fortnite x Balenciaga collaboration introduced the Balenciaga Fit Set into Fortnite’s world. The digital fashion line features stylish new outfits for fan-favorite Fortnite characters such as Doggo, Ramirez, Knight, and Banshee.

The virtual fashion line comes complete with Balenciaga-themed accessories, these outfits offer players a unique way to express themselves.

Demna Gvasalia, the creative head of Balenciaga, recognized the natural alignment, stating, 

“It made total sense to me that we collaborate further by creating these authentic Balenciaga looks for Fortnite.”

This partnership not only represents a creative blend of fashion and digital entertainment but also marks a significant milestone in both the fashion and gaming industries.

MISBHV and Grand Theft Auto V

fashion in gaming

Source: Rockstar Games

The Polish streetwear brand MISBHV teamed up with Grand Theft Auto V to introduce virtual streetwear, including hoodies and tees, worn by the in-game German DJ group Keinemusik.

"Our first inspiration was to create clothes that would make sense for them both in the real world and in the world Rockstar has created," explains Thomas Wirski, MISBHV's creative director. 

"The pieces were conceived real-world first: silhouettes, fabrications, and color combinations stemmed from an open dialogue with Keinemusik," Wirski concludes.

Game Advertising Appeal: Size and Scope for Fashion 

The gaming industry, with its diverse global audience of over 3.2 billion, spans from casual mobile gamers to dedicated PC and console enthusiasts. 

Video games are popular with young people and have become a major platform for entertainment and socializing, attracting brands for advertising.

eMarketer reports that in 2022, the U.S. invested $8.6 billion in video game advertising. To put this in context, social media ad spending hit $56.9 billion, video ads $67.2 billion, linear TV $68.4 billion, and connected TV (CTV) $18.9 billion. This comparison highlights the gaming audience's significant influence on advertising trends.

Turning our attention to the interests and purchasing habits of the 3 billion global gamers, here are some valuable insights for fashion brands.

GWI reveals that a staggering 53% of gamers, who represent 81% of the general population, have actively purchased clothing in the last month. Even more compelling is the fact that 86% of those fashion enthusiasts in the database are gamers. 

This trend is particularly noticeable among Gen Z and Millennials offering promising opportunities for brands aiming to engage with audiences in these attractive categories.

This isn't just a correlation; it's a loud proclamation that the gaming arena is where your target audience resides. 

Fashion brands looking to make a significant impact should recognize gaming as more than a pastime—it's a vibrant, interactive platform ripe for innovative advertising and engagement. 

The data doesn't just suggest, but emphatically declares, that investing in the gaming channel is not just an option but a strategic necessity to connect with and captivate the fashion-forward audience.

fashion for gamers

Source: GWI

Benefits of In-Game Advertising for Fashion Brands

In-game ads help fashion brands expand their reach and build brand loyalty with a highly engaged audience and offer brands diverse and measurable marketing metrics. 

Ads in games not only increase visibility for fashion brands but also enhance customer loyalty, which allows brands to effectively measure the success of their advertising campaigns.

Key metrics for in-game advertising include brand exposure, which is enhanced by continuous visibility from in-game placements, leading to improved brand recall.

However, measuring how long players engage with fashion content in the game, shows how well these ads grab people's attention.

Game ad metrics allow brands to track impressions, clicks, and interactions in real-time, giving immediate insights into campaign performance.

Conversion metrics, including click-through rates and consumer engagement actions (website visits, purchases), are crucial for assessing the impact of in-game advertising. 

According to GWI, 53% of U.S. gamers are likely to engage with an in-game ad, whether by clicking, purchasing, visiting the brand's website, sharing the ad, or following the brand on social media. This highlights the ability of in-game advertising to drive consumer engagement.

Additionally, audience demographics and behavior data from in-game advertising campaigns is helpful for refining targeting strategies and understanding the gaming audience's preferences.

Fashion brands can use marketing metrics to improve their visibility and loyalty among gamers. They can also measure the success of in-game ads on important performance indicators.

Future Trends: What to Expect

The immersive, interactive, and experience-driven nature of gaming aligns with the expressive and creative nature of fashion. 

This synergy opens the door for more personalized gaming experiences, offering significant value and engagement for players.

Fashion brands are recognizing the opportunity to create stronger brands through the gaming industry. This has led to an exciting evolution where gaming and fashion are coming together.

A key reason for fashion brands to explore gaming space is the growing importance of the metaverse. 

The metaverse is still important for creative design, community engagement, global reach, and personalized experiences, despite less excitement.

Only a few luxury fashion brands are using gaming and metaverse to their advantage. These brands place ads in games, create virtual fashion items, or set up online stores. 

While it's still a new concept for many, these pioneering brands are leading the way. Their success is inspiring more fashion brands to venture into these burgeoning realms of growth and innovation.

Fortnite and Nike Launch Airphoria 

fashion in gaming

Source: IGN

Fortnite and Nike Introduced an Air Max-themed virtual world, new outfits and back blings in-game and “Airphoria”-inspired apparel. Airphoria is a Nike-themed adventure in Fortnite's Creative Mode, where players can search for sneakers in the game. But it's important to note that these items, even though they're connected to Nike, are not turned into NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

Gucci Ancora Fashion Show at Roblox

fashion in gaming

Source: Roblox

Gucci Town on Roblox, launched in May 2022, is now rebranded as Gucci Ancora. This revamped virtual space offers an immersive experience that mirrors the real-world ambiance of Milan's lively Brera district.

In the future, fashion brands will see more demand as gaming and fashion come together and attract more followers.

Gaming is becoming an essential channel for brands to reach their audience, beyond traditional digital methods.

This transition will happen slowly, depending on new game advancements to further simplify advertising across the gaming ecosystems. As brands use advanced technologies, they can connect better with gaming audiences and create stronger relationships.

A message to fashion houses: Take note of the increasing interest in gaming and the metaverse. This is just the beginning of the real and virtual worlds blurring together further enhancing gaming experiences. 

Get ready for innovative and exciting integrations of fashion in the virtual gaming world.

Bridging Worlds in Game Advertising

For game developers, staying open-minded and finding inspiration in the real world can elevate their games. Real initiatives should come from brands that are looking to enter the space, taking advantage of the opportunities gaming presents sooner rather than later. 

Developing authentic campaign strategies and delivering them precisely through relevant channels is key to genuinely connecting with your potential audience base. 

Start by incorporating gaming channels into your marketing strategies, and leveraging in-game ads is the first stepping stone to reach engaged audiences while strengthening brand value.

Gaming is huge; at iion we make it easy for brands to advertise, helping brands stand out by blending into multiple gaming environments. 

With our unified game advertising platform, immersiion, we empower brands to transcend their limits and reach engaged audiences on a grand scale within the expansive world of gaming. 

immersiion opens doors to thousands of game titles, game streamer channels, and inventory from complementary gaming environments. This comprehensive approach ensures a consistent brand presence, enhancing engagement and exposure. 

Partner with iion today to effectively execute your advertising campaigns in the diverse world of gaming.

Don’t wait to push play on game advertising today!

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