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How gamers are levelling up the podcast market

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Photo: Florian Gagnepain

Photo of Annie Langston
by Annie Langston

Games-inspired content is proving to create film and television hits. With TV shows like The Last of Us, and feature films like Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, gaming fans are a key entertainment audience that podcasts can also attract. There is an opportunity for both podcast networks and games companies to explore games-inspired podcasts to drive fandom and revenue, creating new levels of competition in the podcast market. 

Gamers are a key audio audience

Games aficionados — who spend the most time and money on games — also appear to be big podcast fans. Almost half (47%) of games aficionados listen to podcasts every month, and 29% listen daily, compared to the average consumer at 32% and 15%, respectively (MIDiA Research Q4 2022). This reflects a core component of the podcast format’s growth: habitual listenership. This audience integrates podcasts in their daily routines, regardless of time they spend gaming. This is a result of gamers multitasking, as a third of gamers listen to podcasts while playing video games. Less audio-intensive games could potentially even integrate podcasts into their game experience, which could help direct listeners to buy in-game products (e.g., trading cards, loadouts, skins, etc.) via advertisements and during the podcast itself.

Capturing built-in fandoms 

In the second half of 2022, games / esports was the fastest-growing podcast genre, unlocking built-in audiences for games companies and podcast networks to explore. An example is BBC Radio 4’s audio drama based on the Splinter Cell games franchise. Moreover, both networks and games companies can utilise the huge game-streamer creator economy to reach new audiences and expand their platform reach. Spotify recently signed gaming YouTuber Markiplier to an exclusive video podcast deal for his shows Go! My Favorite Sports Team and Distractible. While these shows are not focused on the gaming world, the deal illustrates the influence Markiplier has on building audiences and transitioning them between entertainment formats. Creating podcast fandoms are essential as this format continues to grow beyond the screen and into real life experiences, such as conventions and live shows. 

Twitch and YouTube amplify podcast competition 

As podcast consumption continues to fragment across platforms, games-centric platforms, such as Twitch and YouTube, are becoming key audio competitors. For games aficionados, YouTube and Spotify are the most regularly used podcast platforms. However, there is a case for Twitch, which has strong roots in the gamer community, to enter the space as well. Twitch creates a space for communities to engage with each other, growing categories like “Just Chatting” and “Talk Shows & Podcasts”, with 23.3m and 3.4m followers, respectively. Moreover, Twitch’s new tool “Guest Star” allows streamers to include audience members in their conversation, which could amplify the podcast and live audio formats. As Twitch is less saturated with podcast content and is already regularly used in the gaming communities, streaming platforms must ensure they not only have the right content to appeal to this audience, but also that it is easily discoverable. 

For more on this subject, check out MIDiA’s audio / games report, Podcasts and gamers | How audio can propel the gaming universe’, available here.

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