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Alrec dives into the gaming community experiencing what the worlds largest gaming event – Gamescom has to offer in 2019 and beyond.

Alrec dives into the gaming community experiencing what the worlds largest gaming event – Gamescom has to offer in 2019 and beyond.

Game on!

League of Legends, Hearthstone; Heroes of Warcraft, Fortnite, Overwatch & Apex legends all have something in common; they’re huge, with huge online communities and an army of proxy fans consuming game related media through the streaming giant; YouTube. Plus, they are all at the inaugural 2019 Gamsecom held in Cologne, Germany from 20th – 24th August.

We’ve also been at Gamescom, drinking in the atmosphere and assessing the latest tech and experiences being created by the global giants of this industry which is said to be worth upwards of $152.1 billion in 2019, and growing!

Moving up the leader board

Gamescom is coined the world’s largest gaming event, inaugurated in 2009, now in its 10th year the event is looking to increase on its 2018 attendance record of 370,000 visitors.

This year the event covers 218,000 square meters (+8 percent in comparison to 2018). The forecast number of exhibitors is around 1,150 (+10 percent in comparison to 2018) with companies from more than 50 countries expected in Cologne this week, so, a serious gathering of the world’s biggest names and players in this sector.

The event is focused on gamers and their experience of the major brands and latest titles to hit both PC and consoles in millions of homes worldwide. The major publishers and hardware manufacturers all compete for their attention with some of the most ludicrous and inventive display areas we’ve seen.

Sony Playstation, absent from the E3 event earlier this year, had arguably the largest presence at Gamescom with a multitude of gaming and experience zones dotted throughout the show. However to date there was very little news on their forthcoming PS5 launch.

Ready Player one

Microsoft Xbox have nearly 200 gaming booths on the show floor plus a colossal exhibition stand showcasing a multitude of Microsoft software and hardware complete with individual game experience booths. As with Sony, the console giant kept cards close to their chest with limited announcements on the Xbox 2 pinned for 2020 release.

 

Nintendo’s booth reflected the more convivial atmosphere related to the brand and its fans. The booth was split into zones focusing on the leading Nintendo brands including The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Dragon Quest 10 S, Pokémon Sword and Shield and even the highly-anticipated The Witcher 3 port. As with Sony and Xbox there was no pre-announcement of the Switch Lite release, however Nintendo’s spotlight was very much on their indie games portfolio, bringing back fond memories for generation X and early millennials alike.

Hardware manufacturers such as Intel and Dell made multiple announcements; Intel outlining that it was still King of the processor, with Integrated graphics on Ultrabook’s which should be able to handle some more intense gaming workloads than years prior.

Dell Alienware lead its announcements with the release of the Aurora R9 gaming desktop which it had fired up on the booth in the ‘experience zone’. At the entry level Dell announced the G5 desktop gaming PC that should make it easier for people to get into PC gaming without dropping a fortune on Alienware’s pricier output, which are not usually found in high street retailers.

Hosting entry level computers is a particular focus of the mainstream manufacturers such as Alienware and HP’s Omen lines. Giving these product lines a distinct look and feel at retail has been on the agenda for many years, opening the door to AAA level gaming across multiple European retail networks.

On the subject of retailers, Media Markt/Saturn had an interesting way of implementing omnichannel initiatives to showgoers. A news feed was launched on the retailer’s homepage outlining show specials combined with a strong presence in the experience zone showcasing a number of brands found throughout the German CE stores retailer network.

Level Up

Mobile games take up around 50% of the global gaming market, with a net worth of 174 billion USD by 2021 with 25% of that spending based in China, 50% is the ASPAC region in total. 73% of app revenue comes from mobile gaming with Candy Crush still most popular globally. Fortnite, the co-op shooter with a range of media coverage and opinion, is estimated to have 100 million downloads in iOS in just 138 days. It was also no surprise for us to see the likes of the telecoms conglomerate Vodafone investing in its own booth right in the centre of the experience zone.

Continuing with mobile friendly platforms, Google and Facebook both had a strong presence at the event. Google focused on its latest game streaming service, Stadia, outlining the titles that will be available at launch. They are said to be preparing some exclusive products for this platform after its launch later this year however there was no news of this at GC 2019.

Whilst Twitch and YouTube dominate the gaming space it was interesting to see Facebook had expanded its footprint at the event with an immersive booth experience. This brought together their digital and physical attributes – Instagram, and Oculus, whilst outlining their gaming Hub which it believes attracts more than 700 million people (for gaming-related activity on at least a monthly basis).

Improved live streaming platforms, connectivity and monster prize funds through the E-sports events organised worldwide only serve to proliferate the enigmatic growth of the gaming sector. Gamescom will certainly grow with it, as will the visibility of the gaming community in both digital and physical retail environments across the globe.

Rebooting

Finally, it’s worth noting the growing popularity on the indie gaming sector. The POP culture industry is fuelling this retro craze through throwback hits such as Stranger Things, showcased on Netflix. Netflix are taking advantage of this popularity by releasing it’s own range of RPG style of games. The streaming giant is perfectly poised to make larger leaps into the sector. Will they follow the likes of Google’s Stadia? We look forward to finding out.

HARMAN Experience Store – Gold Winner 2019 Shop! awards

We are so proud to see HARMAN’s first Experience Store in Europe win Gold at the 2019 Shop! global awards. As part of the talented team that partnered HARMAN this is a brilliant achievement for everyone involved. The store in Munich offers visitors a glimpse into the world of HARMAN and its multiple award-winning audio brands.

We translated the overarching concept into reality, selecting specific materials and producing all freestanding and wall mounted fixturing for the HARMAN brands JBL, Harman Kardon and AKG. All elements provide the consumer with the opportunity to interact, engage and compare products delivering an exceptional brand and product experience. Get in touch at marketing@alrec.com to see how we can transform your customer experience.

Our immersive experience at GlobalShop 2019

As part of our developing global strategy we’ve just returned from Chicago where we visited GlobalShop 2019, spent time with our clients & partners and checked out the latest retail developments and trends.

Chicago has its fair share of highly invested experiential stores; Comcast’s Studio Xfinity is a great example of a brand experience store with the core objective of customer engagement rather than sales, with dedicated areas provided for training and product demonstrations. The customer experience is supported by smart use of digital screens and immersive content, adaptable lighting and modular furniture; providing a flexible space that can be used for product launches and promotions.

The AT&T flagship on Michigan Avenue raises the stakes with a fully interactive experience store which, when we visited, was dedicated to the history of video gaming. The value proposition for the consumer was its super-fast data packages, was brought to life through gaming competitions, interactive product demonstrations and VR experiences. Both retail experiences were complemented by highly engaged, service-oriented experts who were incredibly knowledgeable around the products and proposition demonstrating the importance of the human factor in delivering great brand and product experiences.

B8ta have a mid-mall kiosk in Nordstrom, which although feeling a little cluttered is a great example of a disruptive player succeeding in the changing shape of the global retail market.

Protecting your return

Naturally flagship / experience / engagement stores always have a near perfect customer experience with precise execution of details and in-house brand ambassadors, however, after also analysing the mass market retail environment, it was clear to us that brands face the same challenges as the rest of the world in this space; ensuring that customers here also have a perfect experience, and for this there is the need for a more focused maintenance and service provision to protect the return on that experience investment.

 

A global presence

GlobalShop 2019 provides the platform for US & Global retail services industry to meet, the show itself was worthwhile to visit and we took the opportunity to further develop our network meeting new contacts to further support our North American growth strategy. Spending time connecting with our local partners is always valuable and inspirational. Our strengthening business in the USA will further define these partnerships allowing us to support our clients with high quality solutions and global brand consistency. During the rest of 2019 on behalf of our brand clients we’ll be delivering projects into Bed Bath and Beyond, Macys and Target.

Our visit was highly rewarding, and it was a great opportunity to spend time with our key clients, which has already inspired some interesting initiatives related to their future retail ambitions.

For support on executing your retail activation strategy in North America feel free to contact the team at  marketing@alrec.com

Milan lights up with state of the art design

Milan comes to life during the week Salone Internazionale del Mobile and the Fuorisalone in April. As the global benchmark for the furnishing and design sector it seamlessly integrates business and culture into one truly inspiring global event, that “shines a light on the state of the art of design”.

Our European design team visited the Fuorisalone to see what’s new in design for brands, their products and opportunities for retail executions. This was where the magic was happening; unrestricted, immersive brand experiences and expressions with events that allowed people to really engage.

The key trend we saw was that of human centric experience, whether demonstrated through technology, communication, or physicality of products. Everything had the human factor at its centre.

Immersive and multi-sensory executions to delight customers and provide a playful experience were everywhere with brands focusing on this human interaction, both consciously and subconsciously, with technology for example, from both Dyson and Sony playing to emotions and individuals. User experiences were much improved and felt more natural with less complex interfaces and more intuitive interactions from a technology perspective. This was highly visible with customer facing interactions and also back office operations with increased and innovative use of VR and AR applications.

 

The human centric factor was very evident in communication as brands led with lifestyle stories rather than focusing purely on outstanding product benefits. Storytelling was executed in a very visual and interactive way with products presented in the context of daily life and instagrammable sets to really drive home those enhanced lifestyles that drive buy in. Beautiful and powerful content generation was also a key feature, with fewer screens and more projections and illumination technology to capture the imagination.

 

The use of vivid colour and imagery which was vibrant yet mellow, was particularly noticeable this year across all platforms whether, print, materials, illumination and digital content as well as the products themselves. Colour was the key means of attracting standout and it worked; we experience colour in our natural and digital realities. With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities of colour usage, attracted attention and hit a responsive chord.

Sustainability with its growing global social agenda played a large part with the design fair showcasing the effort and energy being put into smart design, circular thinking and sustainable materials. Multi-sensory spaces are being designed to create new relationships between humans and nature in a process of discovering new materials, products, services and use of space, all playing to the emotional connection between consumers and communities. As well as the more conventional approaches, unusual and often discarded natural materials such as feathers, shells and ash were used to make incredible sustainable and ethical products as diverse as tiles made by Formafantasma with volcanic ash glaze, to experiments with ostrich feather fabrics by Pascal Theron.

It as a truly exciting week-long event and we learnt much about the future of integrated experiences and how these are being brought to life. We were inspired by the design, use of colour, materials and technology, all brought together to create meaningful and inspiring experiences with a focus on the human emotional needs and responses to such executions. It’s inspired us to really question how we approach design projects and to ensure the experiences we develop really focus on the seamless integration of all emotional touchpoints with the consumer at the heart of everything. Innovative use of new technologies in production processes as well as materials to drive sustainable solutions, combined with bold use of colour and beautiful content will support our thinking and approach.

 

We are already excited at what Milan Design Week 2020 will bring!!

Alrec chats to Michael Brandon, Client Services Director

Join us for a regular catch up where one of our Alrec team members talks on their role within the business and what motivates them.

Michael Brandon is a Client Services Director at Alrec. In this interview, Michael talks us through the importance of going beyond expectations and not always just saying ‘yes’ to clients. We hear how satisfying it can be to see the results of your hard work out there in stores all across the world, and that working hard should always be supported by playing hard. In Michael’s words, every day is a new day at Alrec – find out why below.

Alrec chats to Kathryn Atkin, Account Manager

Join us for a regular catch up where one of our Alrec team members talks on their role within the business and what motivates them.

Kathryn Atkin is an Account Manager at Alrec, based at our UK office. In this two-minute interview, we discover how Kathryn gets brilliant results for her clients by getting to know them, focusing on their objectives and representing their brand at all times. Kathryn loves being part of the wider team at Alrec, having fun while working hard and seeing the final project come to life in the real world. Watch the full interview below to learn more.

Alrec chats to Richard Lockett, 3D Designer

Join us for a regular catch up where one of our Alrec team members talks on their role within the business and what motivates them.

Richard Lockett is a 3D Designer at Alrec, working in the UK studio. In this short interview, we hear how Richard enjoys working as part of a connected international team who are given the freedom and trust to take design to the next level. No two work days are the same for Richard, and this variety and the constant opportunities for innovation – especially in the world of VR – provide real motivation, every day. See life at Alrec through Richard’s eyes below.

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