Influencing gaming

Gamers become influencers as the video game industry booms in Mexico.

In a rather dry report, The Competitive Intelligence Unit – a market research firm – reported that the Mexican video game industry grew 5.5% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apparently, the country had 72.3 million self-proclaimed ‘gamers’ at the end of 2020 and the mobile gaming segment was largely responsible.

Although the average age of gamers in Mexico is in the region of 38, there has been a boom of under-18 gamers during the pandemic. 21.6 million gamers are less than 16 and 10.1 million are between 16 and 18. The Competitive Intelligence Unit also reported that 93% of Generation Z Mexicans, those below 20, are gamers. 

A game developer in Mexico shed some light on some more interesting changes in the gaming industry, “It’s not surprising that more young people played games when their movement was restricted and they had more available time at home. What surprises me is the level of the community engagement, especially around streamers who broadcast directly to huge audiences while they play. These audiences then stick around after the game and hang out in virtual chat rooms, the community spirit is remarkable.”

“What surprises me is the level of the community engagement, especially around streamers who broadcast directly to huge audiences while they play.”

Game developer, Mexico

A Mexican gamer explained the business impact that these ‘streamers’ can have, “The streamer phenomenon is very important. A recent case that surprised us all in Mexico is ‘Among Us’, it’s a 2 year old video game that didn’t have a massive audience but one of the popular streamers started playing it and suddenly everyone was playing it. Streamers are now like influencers, they have hundreds of thousands of people watch them play games.”

“Streamers are now like influencers, they have hundreds of thousands of people watch them play games.”

Gamer, Mexico

From the Mexican game developers’ point of view, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is oversupply, “There are too many games, people don’t have that much time, it’s a very competitive market. Previously, the two big segments were AAA (big budget games with celebrity voice actors) and free games (mostly on mobiles). Then, Epic came with ‘Fortnite’ and launched the AA segment (good quality but free with the option to buy additional content). It was so successful that most of the large developers are moving away from AAA games, which require a huge upfront investment, to AA games which need less investment but can be more lucrative.”

Meanwhile, political, social and education stakeholders in Mexico continue to debate the impact of video games on children and teens. Since the start of the year, the government has implemented its own video game rating classification issued by the Ministry of the Interior to let consumers know the content each game has and to warn parents if certain games are unsuitable for their children.

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