TikTok commissioned esports and gaming analytic company Newzoo to find out more about how developers and publishers can better launch PC and console video game titles in an increasingly competitive industry.

Rema Vasan, Head of Global Gaming Business Marketing at TikTok, and Ben Porter, Director of Consulting at Newzoo walked the audience through the whitepaper at Tokyo Game Show 2023.

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The entertainment and mobile-based platform TikTok received 3 trillion views on gaming content in 2022. In fact, 50% of daily active users regularly watch gaming content.

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A well-established discovery engine for video game titles, the company wanted to better understand the key success factors, opportunities, and challenges for publishers in this space.

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Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let's Go Eevee
Credit: Game Freak, Nintendo, The Pokemon Company

Even though mobile gaming has significantly grown over the last few years, the PC and console segment is still the main driver of global growth, predicted to generate $95.2 billion in 2023, the study wrote.

Among the top 20 most played games in 2022 (measured by average monthly active users in 37 markets), 14 are esports titles. Among these 14, six are from the Call of Duty franchise, which includes Modern Warfare, Warzone 2.0, and Vanguard.

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Interestingly, none of the esports heavyweights are in the top 10. Overwatch ranked 12 while Valorant and League of Legends were ranked 13 and 14 respectively, followed by CS:GO and Rainbow Six: Siege.

Inside the LoL Park in Seoul, South Korea, where the League of Legends Champions Korea match will be held
Credit: LCK

When we narrow it to just the top 10, esports titles account for just half of the most played video games of 2022 — and not all of them have a global esports presence either.

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When we close in further to the top five most played PC and console games in 2022, only two are esports titles.

The second interesting finding is that the ranking of these top five video game titles did not change going into the first half of 2023.

2Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Warzone 2.0
4Grand Theft Auto V

What do these top video game titles have in common? The whitepaper discovered that the reason why older titles like ROBLOX (2006) and Minecraft (2011) are still thriving is because their marketing strategies build “strong connections and lasting engagement” with their “evolving and diverse player community.”

In other words, players are more likely to commit to long-standing long-service games with strong communities that traverse the traditional gaming space.

Screenshot taken from Riot Games' Warm Up cinematic trailer from January 11, 2022
Credit: Nigel Zalamea/ONE Esports, Riot Games

GenZ and millennial gamers often speak about their hobby with friends and family, visit websites and listen to podcasts to keep up to date with gaming news, and frequently visit online community websites, the study found. This includes using TikTok as a discovery engine for games.

Putting everything together, the study concludes that the best way for video game developers and publishers to launch games is by leveraging the diversity and cross-cultural content on platforms such as TikTok to their advantage.

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Within video game titles themselves, there are also opportunities to use well-established IPs to create new games, “borrow” them in cross-franchise collaborations, or revitalize strong but dormant IPs through remakes.

Beyond that, they can look for transmedia opportunities, like how Last of Us turned into an HBO series, or partner with non-endemic gaming brands to sell digital and physical goods.

True Damage Akali together with Soyeon of (G)I-DLE.
Credit: Riot Games

You can read further details in the TikTok x Newzoo whitepaper to be published in October 2023.

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