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  • Writer's pictureKevin Kane

How gamers make travel plans in 3D worlds

I’ve been playing video games for pretty much my entire life, and although I have now become more of a casual gamer, the fact remains that I am part of a large demographic of Canadians who grab their phone, controller, or keyboard and mouse to kick back for a few hours and play their favourite video game.

Recently, a friend and I were playing a few rounds of the latest installment of MLB the show 2023 on XBOX when we couldn’t help but comment on how beautiful the stadium design was. Not only that, we couldn’t help but comment on how great the surrounding area outside the stadium looked. The stadium in question was Oracle Park in San Francisco. We got to chatting about going one day and during pauses and loading breaks, we even had our phones out and were looking at flights and hotel prices. A conversation about travel started out of nowhere.

MLB The Show Screengrab showing Oracle Park

You see, thanks to region blocks on television, we don’t get many San Francisco games on TV in the Toronto market so admiring this particular stadium and surrounding area is hard to do unless the Jays are there. But with video games, gamers can be transported anywhere. For example, games are exploring ancient Greece in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or racing sports cars in Baja California, Mexico inside the world of Forza Horizon 5. The opportunity to travel and explore new places virtually through gaming can be endless. In our case, it was the idea of sitting at the ballpark in San Francisco watching a game.

It got me thinking - with continuous experiential marketing, the tourism and hospitality industry can design experiences tailored to gamers like no other ad format can. It can also target specific audiences by location, and other parameters to make sure that you are engaging the right person. In our case, the only thing that was missing was a perfectly timed ad-break that said ‘Visit San Francisco’.

As a marketer working on the network/publishing side of advertising I already know that these opportunities are out there. Especially since free to play, ad-supported, gaming is popular and continues to rise in adoption. Brands today can leverage the diverse gaming audience that enjoys spending time on these free to play games by inserting ads during ad-breaks that engage the user, and are even at times 100% opt-in.

My experience left me feeling like there was a missed opportunity to reach me and my friend with an ad for my next cheap flight, hotel, car rental, or even tickets to a local Jays game based on my location.

Granted the game I was playing was not ad-supported but with so many folks like myself playing ad-supported games on mobile, desktop, and console; my question then lies here: how many of your tourism/hospitality ads are targeting gamers like myself?

Don’t leave conversations like this with consumers on the table - Discover how AGN has been helping brands to reach and engage travelers in-game.


Carlos Guevara is the Marketing Director at APEX Mobile Media and previous host of the podcast "In Search of Good Data." He has also helped various organizations in the private and non-profit sector to become more customer-centric with the use of enriched data and modern marketing and advertising technology and strategies.

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