Blockbuster Moves in Gaming

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FaZe Clan announce major shake up, drop over half of it’s creator roster. Fallout goes nuclear with Amazon show. Wow Bao brings loyalty program to Roblox, and OTK hosts a film festival?

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Here’s what we have for you today:

  • FaZe Clan reboot: creator roster purge, the discourse, & the future 👾 

  • Gaming 🤝 Television: Fallout sets new records online and in-game ☢️

  • Driving loyalty with Roblox: Wow Bao stirs up customer engagement by tying in-game to “offline” rewards program🥟 

  • Gaming org OTK hosts creator-led community film festival 🎥

👾 FaZe Clan reboot: creator roster purge, the discourse, & the future

source: FaZe Clan

On March 4th, the acquisition of FaZe Clan by GameSquare was officially completed and the infamous leader of the gaming & entertainment organization, FaZe Banks took to X to let fans know he “got the passwords back”.

FaZe Clan then went quiet for more than 50 days, when they returned in the most FaZe way possible: by dropping over half of it’s creator roster. FaZe Banks, the now CEO of FaZe, took to X to defend their decisions and address the discourse amongst the community after several of the now kicked creators announced their departures.

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From Jeff Pabst, executive at GameSquare & FaZe Clan:
“I spent three years as an executive at Faze Clan and was quite the run. I've been back in the mix for the past few months helping the founders and GameSquare CEO Justin Kenna with the brand relaunch.

FaZe has always made a ton of noise for the internet generation as one of the most high profile brands in the space and this past weekend returned to socials after a fifty day blackout. The relaunch was designed to be polarizing (in typical FaZe fashion) and it was announced that numerous long time FaZe members had been released while revealing the updated creator roster. The aesthetic was a throw back to early DOS operating systems and pre-internet.

Check it out at 

The very next day FaZe revealed FaZe Max as the latest addition to the roster with multiple members still waiting to be revealed as there are three open slots that are "loading" on the website. The relaunch took over Twitter like wildfire becoming the #1 trending topic in the US for multiple hours and the videos have since done more than 30M views. We will be recapping the data later this week.

The FaZe founders Apex/Banks/Temperrr returning to the brand is already having an impact. They are focused on not recreating the past but focusing on building a modern day collective of innovative creators with a deep rooted connection to one another.”

🔥 The New FaZe

source: Silky Live

After announcing the creators that were released, FaZe has since announced two of the teased four new creators that they will be adding to it’s roster: Max and Silky.

Quick Thoughts 

With still two of their four new creators left to announce, I will hold off on judging FaZe Clan’s reboot until we see the rest of their new additions and have a chance to see some of the content and activations they are planning.

However, I do have to mention that though I see where Banks and Jeff Pabst are coming from in terms of getting back to what made FaZe, FaZe — this re-launch was meant to be provocative and it has definitely succeeded in that; I am curious how brands will view this new FaZe.

Finding a way to generate organic views and get the community interested in FaZe again is paramount, brands definitely don’t want to partner with a dead brand, but what will potential partners think of this new FaZe and Banks’ polarizing style?

- Zach Eller (Private Lobby)

☢️ Gaming 🤝 Television: Fallout sets new records online and in-game

In early April “Fallout”, a TV series based on the game series Fallout by Bethesda, was released on Prime Video and instantly became a hit on the platform. Within 16 days the series has racked up 65 million viewers. Making it the second most popular title of all time on Prime Video, just behind “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”.

Not only did the TV series set records on Prime Video, but the video game series saw a resurgence in active players. Following the success of the TV series, Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76 all saw new peaks for active players.

Season 2 of the Fallout TV series has already been confirmed to be in the works.

📈 Off The Charts 

source: Steam Charts

source: Steam Charts

source: Steam Charts

👀 Our POV

Video Game adaptations have been some of the most popular movies & TV series to come out over the past few years. The Last of Us, The Witcher, Five Nights at Freddy's, Tomb Raider, and Sonic the Hedgehog, to name a few.

I feel like these game series are the best to take to the big screen, they have all the necessary ingredients:

  1. They already have an avid fanbase from their games

  2. They have compelling characters and developed game universes

  3. These game titles are all essentially movies that you control & interact with — the story is already there for the writers, and the door is open for a few tweaks.

On top of the success and performance of the shows, you have to look at the impact they can have on the video games themselves.

The hype around the Fallout series brought the game up enough on ALL of my social media platforms that it got me to install & try Fallout for the first time… So it’s working… 🥴

With the show breaking records on Prime Video & the actual game topping the charts on Steam — it seems as if the investment in the show was well worth it for Bethesda. We’ve already been seeing video game adaptations on the rise but with the success of the Fallout series, are we about to see a whole new lineup of video game adaptations?

- Justin Palacios (Private Lobby)

🥟 Driving loyalty with Roblox: Wow Bao stirs up customer engagement by tying in-game to “offline” rewards program

source: Wow Bao, The Marketing Dive

A rapidly-growing fast casual Asian concept based in Chicago, with 700 locations across the country and meals available in grocery stores for additional distribution, has broken down another wall after making innovation a consistent North Star for their company since its founding in 2003.

Wow Bao has partnered with leading in-game experience studio Sawhorse Productions to introduce the Dim Sum Palace to Roblox users, and emergent tech loyalty services provider Flaunt to tie in their “Hot Buns Club.” Wow Bao’s Dim Sum Palace is a virtual hangout that serves as an extension of the chains’ loyalty program that began as a simple “point for dollar” exchange but has evolved to experiment with NFTs, other digital collectibles, and now this Roblox integration.

Players are greeted by a DJ and can explore lounge areas, Momo’s Restaurant and a hidden speakeasy. The interactive 3D environment also carries Wow Bao paraphernalia and clues guests can follow to discover a head accessory for their Roblox avatar. However, to claim this gear and have a chance at other prizes, players must visit a campaign website and sign up for the Hot Buns Club reward program – making them the first fast-casual restaurant to gate in-game items behind a reward initiative like this.

👀 Our POV

There have been two camps of thought around in-game experiences. Neither is necessarily wrong, but you have the marketers who understand the prestige and relevancy that an in-game build can bring to your brand when there is a warm enough reception. It’s a top or middle-funnel play that shares in the player base already captivated by the title in question and allows you to integrate your brand aesthetic and ethos into a unique and trendy medium that folks are still clamoring over. 

Then, you have those who historically have not been able to bite the bullet on the investment needed for an immersive enough build, therefore ignoring or writing off the channel entirely because the return is more ambiguous than they can be comfortable with. In digital media, why drop $100K-$500K on an experience where the reporting capabilities and level of detail is still evolving when you can use that same budget on inventory that will tell you exactly who your brand was able to communicate with and what actions were taken immediately afterward that might have directly led to revenue?

Campaigns like this one by Wow Bao are showing how, with the right strategic planning and partnership infrastructure, it’s only a matter of time before those camps cozy up to one another and everyone wins. Walmart is about to be the first to burst through into this new frontier.

- Brandon Painter (Private Lobby)

🎥 OTK hosts creator-led community film festival

source: OTK

OTK, once again, has shown the world why they are a leader in the digital space with their OTK Film Festival.

OTK put up $10,000 and challenged their community to make the best greenscreen creations they could. The team even provided a pre-made library of greenscreen footage featuring various OTK members that entrants could use. A move that echoes their mission to be a content powerhouse that transcends gaming, despite it being a part of their origin.

This wasn’t a sponsored activation or a partnership with a brand! OTK simply worked with Will Neff to 1) Engage their community, 2) Generate organic content from motivated fans, and 3) Reward fellow creators for doing cool stuff.

🏆 The Results are In

👀 Our POV

I love this activation from OTK so damn much. It’s a perfect example of leveraging your talent to create memorable moments and engage fans. Seeing a marketing play like this that isn’t hampered by branded deliverables or sponsor reads is really refreshing. OTK and Will did something simply because they were passionate about it. I’d strongly encourage more marketers in the space to consider how they can create similar cultural moments for their fan bases without reducing it to a simple clip competition. They nailed their balance of owned and earned media through a strategic campaign that felt right at home for OTK.

OTK has clearly recognized that creators and their content are the future of digital marketing. It’s the engine that drives much of gaming and online culture in general. The more that you’re able to position your brand as a facilitator of great content and memorable moments, the more you’ll succeed. OTK’s approach of elevating their talent and enabling their cool projects is an excellent approach that’s yielding success. While we don’t have money going on trees, I think building marketing initiatives in-house and pushing your own “products” is absolutely the right approach. It takes a certain amount of capital but committing to an idea and pushing it out so you can iterate on it later is a surefire strategy to finding success over time.

- Brendan Valentine (Private Lobby)

💼 Job Board

👩‍🎓 Gaming Scholastic Mentorship Program

Private Lobby contributor Brandon Painter has rolled out the Gaming Scholastic Mentorship Program.

In short, the initiative is designed to provide a two-way communication channel and introduction to the industry for students who are either dedicated to esports management study, or considering applying whatever degree they are working toward to the gaming space.

The inaugural class features three students from universities across the country and over a dozen professionals ranging from game devs to talent managers to org owners who will serve as informational interview resources and connectors to help mentees begin building a network in a notoriously tough vertical to crack.

Learn more and/or catch updates over on his LinkedIn profile.

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Disclaimer: our views are ours and in no way represent those of our employers.