Wehype helping the video game industry embrace the creator economy
The influencer market is skyrocketing as more brands and companies are asking popular content creators to pitch their products in authentic ways. In the video game industry, Wehype is making it easier for publishers and developers like EA, Sega, and Microsoft to connect with gaming communities around the world.
Robin Åström founded the Uppsala-based company in 2016 alongside his friends Emil and Gustaf Smith. Robin and Gustaf met when they were teenagers playing Counter-Strike and watching gaming creators on JustinTV, now Twitch.
“We were very fascinated by that space, and we started to see this kind of opportunity of content creators growing massively,” Wehype CEO Robin Åström said. “We saw that there’s untapped potential here in gaming, something we’re passionate about and something which brands have little-to-no clue how to approach.”
The video game influencer market was worth $2.5 billion in 2021, and will likely reach $4.4 billion this year, according to Business Insider. This was because of an increase in the number of gamers and their spending power, alongside the rise of streaming platforms.
The number of viewers watching others play video games sharply rose too, especially after 2020. At the beginning of 2020 before the pandemic, there were 1.4 million average Twitch viewers. That more than doubled to 3.1 million average viewers by May 2021.
Åstrom says video game companies and brands have to adapt to this new media environment, because the power of media is no longer with the bigger television networks or larger news outlets.
“Companies need to take this seriously, and I think they’ve yet to find out how they can scale it and work with it in an easy and data-driven way,” Åström said. “Companies do things within influencer marketing with creators, but they’re still learning and figuring out how they can scale this.”
Building the gaming industry standard for leveraging influencer marketing
Wehype is tackling this issue, focusing mostly on helping game publishers and developers launch their games through influencer marketing campaigns on Twitch and YouTube. The company says it has forged more than 15,000 partnerships between brands and creators.
“We’ve built this platform to help them do that in an effortless and easy way,” Åström said. Wehype’s campaign platform allows game companies to strategize, match with relevant creators, execute their campaigns, and then measure the results. This allows video game companies to build out their communities, find new gamers, and ultimately reach more people around the world.
The startup has seen explosive growth, doubling in size each year and bringing in $10 million in revenue in 2021. Wehype now employs about 50 people and just opened its second office near the Empire State Building in New York City.
Åström says their goal is to build and support a sustainable ecosystem within the growing gaming industry. He believes Wehype will soon be a fundamental part of every gaming marketing campaign and launch.
“We want to connect the dots in between the audience, the game makers, and the creators,” Åström said. “We are here to drive the future of how games reach gamers, and we think that everyone in the future can be a gamer.”
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