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12/8/2020

Home as a Playground

Jean-Guillaume Paumier
0 min read

As a result of the social distancing measures made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the outside entertainment opportunities we were used to, such as cinemas, concerts and sports games, have been cancelled. Consequently, people are looking for entertainment options inside their homes. Fortunately, the new home playground powered by hardware and software has not relegated us to downgraded experiences – quite the opposite.

Hardware has traditionally been at the heart of the home experience. Over the last few years, home devices took a giant leap in terms of sophistication (new soundbars like Sonos’ Arc are dynamically tuned to the unique acoustics of rooms) and democratisation (more than 100 million 4K TVs are estimated to have been sold in 2019). But today, technology can do much more than recreating the cinema at home, with the most immersive experiences now starting in the living room. Both Sony's and Microsoft’s next generation consoles, equipped with enhanced specs to render increasingly photorealistic and richer worlds, are expected for the 2020 holiday season. Virtual reality (VR) headset shipments are set to more than quintuple in the next four years, and the technology is gaining traction well beyond its roots in gaming. For instance, in 2019, rugby fans could already enjoy spectacular 360-degree video highlights of the World Cup games.

MelodyVR 2019 Highlights., by MelodyVR

Yet, the real revolution is happening on the software side, deeply transforming the way we consume culture. The nearly unlimited access to content offered by video streaming platforms has created new on-demand cultural moments, as illustrated by Netflix’s already iconic Tiger King series. While the recent lockdown seems to have cemented video streaming as a turning point in media consumption, things get even more interesting as streaming's rise in power collides with another steadily growing trend, gaming. The $159 billion a year industry is now looking into cloud computing to fuel its growth, with Google betting big on its Stadia platform. The gaming sector also keeps reimagining how people can make the most of its virtual worlds. For instance, Fortnite's popular Battle Royale game is now hosting live concerts of artists such as Marshmello and Travis Scott. By venturing beyond its original genre, Fortnite has attracted millions of participants looking for new kinds of shared cultural moments. Beyond playing, we also observe that consumer curiosity for personal development in the home environment has become an enduring trend, with professional training available on demand. 

Marshmello Holds First Ever Fortnite Concert Live at Pleasant Park, by Marshmello

Consumers’ in-home access to experiences has increased exponentially over the last years. While media is the heart of these new immersive moments, advertising sits at the fringes. Many of the ecosystems supporting these experiences were not originally designed to embed advertising, and their business models (e.g., subscriptions, micro transactions, games sales) do not rely on advertising to thrive.

This creates a dual challenge for brands. First, to find their place in these environments, they need to develop innovative content-led integrations that add value to platforms without alienating users. Second, as these experiences do not exist in a vacuum, consumers’ expectations do not disappear once they sign out. This increases pressures on brands to elevate their overall marketing effort through a renewed focus on interactivity and experience if they are to build lasting connections.

This article is excerpted from the new Vizeum report Future of Home. Download it now for key insights on the trends shaping the home revolution.

Jean-Guillaume Paumier

Global Digital Partner

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