There’s a phenomenon rolling across the internet of celebrities putting their voices behind video games. From Brie Larson to Zac Efron, celebrities have been showing their appreciation for video games both in paid deals and in chats about the games they love. While it’s always great to open up conversations around video games, the question remains: what do these endorsements do for the celebrities, gaming companies, and gamers who are just looking to find some great games? It’s time to unpack exactly what it means for celebrities to endorse video games.
For the Celebs
Across the board, it looks like endorsing video games benefits celebrities. Whether they’re being paid by a gaming company or just talking about games they enjoy, gaming is one of those topics that bring a lot of joy to celebrity interviews. It’s generally a lighthearted option for celebs who don’t want to share personal life details but still want to have a chat.
The potential downside of celebrity endorsement comes in the form of paid endorsements with celebrities who don’t actually care about games. If the gaming community can tell that the celebrity endorsing a game is just in it for the money, the endorsement will fall flat of reaching its goal and the celebrity’s reputation can be damaged as well.
Video game endorsements work best for celebrities when the endorsements feel natural and easygoing. Take Brie Larson, whose partnership with Nintendo to promote the Switch and Animal Crossing: New Horizons felt completely natural. Not only does Brie give off some serious gamer vibes, her promotions for AC:NH on the Switch came at a time when we were all digging into the game, so her promotion was seamless. And for celebrity endorsements to really work, that’s exactly how they have to happen.
What it Means for Gaming Companies
For gaming companies, anyone talking about games is good for business, and celebrities talking about games is even better. The more word gets around, the better it is for sales.
The gaming companies that really need to be on top of the wave of celebrity endorsements in gaming are indie companies. While there is an ever-present market for indie games, they’re still called indie games for a reason: they don’t quite have the backing of larger companies. For indie companies to mesh well with the world of celebrity endorsements, they need to be aware of what those endorsements can do, and they need to be proactive about working with celebrities. If celebrities aren’t endorsing indie games just as much as big label games, indie games will continue to stay in the lane of less-than-thriving games.
Where Does that Leave Gamers?
Having celebrities invested in game endorsements can be really excellent for gamers in that it gives us another scope through which to view games we might not have noticed before. You may find that a celebrity you’re already a fan of enjoys and endorses a game you haven’t heard of, and it can be a great way to discover a new game that you wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.
On the other hand, celebrity endorsements can make it even more difficult to discern whether a game is truly a good option to play or if it’s just another game being hyped up. When you’re paying attention to celebrity endorsements, it’s especially important for you to do your due diligence before you purchase a game; don’t just buy it outright because your favorite celebrity says it’s a banger.
As a gamer, you always have to think critically about whether or not a game is really worth the cost and energy you’ll put into it, and celebrity endorsements add another layer of marketing that you have to sift through. That’s not to say that these endorsements should automatically be written off as false advertising because they really shouldn’t. But next time you see your favorite celebrity promoting a game, think good and hard about the game and whether it’s really something you want to play before you hit purchase.
So…Do You Endorse Endorsements?
If, after all that, you’re not sure where you stand about celebrity endorsements in gaming, that’s alright. I’m not fully on one side of the conversation myself. It really boils down to the fact that these endorsements are, more often than not, just another form of marketing that we all need to be aware of. There’s nothing wrong with marketing as a practice, but if you’re not careful, you could wind up being influenced to buy something that you really don’t need or want.