The stereotypical gamer is portrayed as a young male who snacks on chips and drinks soda and/or beer while playing. Brands like Mountain Dew and Doritos have long catered to the gaming crowd, but the fact is that the playerbase is much more diverse than it was a decade ago. The Entertainment Software Association notes that 45% of the gaming demographic in the US is female, up from 41% in 2020. Interpret has seen similar trends in esports, where women have driven a bulk of viewership growth and have risen to 38% of US esports viewers. The broadening playerbase is opening doors for major fashion and beauty brands.
For example, in January, Xbox teamed with OPI, a popular nail polish brand, to name some of the brand’s colors after gaming references – one was labeled “Achievement Unlocked” after the Xbox Achievements system. Consumers who purchase any of the new gaming-related nail polish colors can also unlock in-game content in top Xbox games, Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite. Microsoft has worked with other beauty/cosmetics firms in the past, too. Last October, Xbox partnered with Mac Cosmetics to launch several Halloween designs for characters from Halo, Psychonauts, and Sea of Thieves.
As Marcos Waltenberg, global partnerships director at Xbox, explained to The Washington Post, “We’re in this moment of really overcoming that idea of the gamer being just that one demographic… We’re now tasked with talking to a lot more people than we used to as a company, a few years ago.”
With more women playing games than ever before, it’s incumbent upon the platform holders to create a welcoming environment, but it’s also an opportunity for beauty brands to take initiative on their own. In March 2021, L’Oreal-owned makeup company NYX launched a limited-edition Tetris makeup collection, while Too Faced, a make-up brand owned by Estée Lauder, released an eyeshadow palette in the shape of a gamepad in December 2020 with shade names like “Easter Egg” and “Cheat Code.”
OPI states that there are over 1.4 billion female gamers worldwide. And that’s a figure that appears to be on the rise, making it a great time for beauty brands to diversify their product offerings. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, despite a small ebb in peak-pandemic weekly gaming among the general population, beauty shoppers’ weekly gaming (across all platforms including mobile) has risen by two percentage points.