MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Game On captain Rey Tiempo welcomes the new year with a new column and contributor joining the team, strengthening the gaming community’s headquarters in adobo Magazine. In this first piece for “Team Ups,” Rey introduces Carrie Server as a new teammate, and Carrie serves up an exclusive interview featuring an expert in the field of gaming and marketing, Blue Paras.
Rey shared, “Game On is growing! After almost two years here in our corner arcade, sharing tips and tricks, chronicling the growth of Gaming X Marketing, and yes ‘playing while working’ – we are expanding!”
As first stated in Game On, Stage 01, back in 2022: “Gamers instinctively help each other out.”
“No words ring more true this year, as Team Ups will be a new segment where we shall feature content from invited guest contributors who are fellow gaming experts in the industry,” he added.
“Carrie is a Senior Planner at Publicis JimenezBasic. One of the very few pure, gaming-bred strategic planners in the local advertising industry today. She’s mostly active in the League of Legends and Valorant spaces, but mostly… I am just happy and honored to have her onboard! Her first piece is an interview with a gaming marketer veteran. Let’s-a-go, Carrie!” Rey enthused.
Below is Carrie’s debut piece for Game On:
Choo choo! All aboard the gaming train!
Gaming has come a loooong way.
People see that it isn’t the domain of the Loser Recluse stereotype they have in their heads, and want to get in on the action!
When it comes to gaming itself, you can just pick up any game, play it as casually as you want and you’re already in. But when it comes to marketing – picking it up isn’t as simple.
Today, we bring you something to help make more sense of how advertising and gaming can duo queue in the marketing scene.
Cuppy has joined the lobby
Blue “Cuppy” Paras is a seasoned marketer in the gaming space, and he was kind enough share some insights from a long-time marketing gamer.
Blue has worked with the likes of Tier One, NAOS Esports, and Rumble Royale to grow their communities, build meaningful partnerships, and mount events. His love for gaming started long before his professional career, through his lola playing Bomberman with him.
At an early age, he found himself falling in love with the social aspect of gaming. Blue would often find himself in internet cafes trying to improve his skill at League of Legends while making friends: “A core memory I have from my comp shop days was when I had this really good Fizz game and people were crowding around me to watch me play. We lost the game, but after people came up to me and said they liked how I played, we became friends.”
This carried on to his college years where he would focus mostly on playing League of Legends since that was the popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) at most internet cafes.
Gaming is not a trend
Gaming has been around for years and years, but the way we know gaming today is very different from how it was in the ’90s.
“I remember when esports began growing, people would have five-man pubstomp in comp shops to make a name for themselves, but it’s not like that anymore,” Blue shared. “Pubstomping” refers to the practice of organizing a team of friends and joining a public game server with the intent of utterly destroying less-organized random players.
When gaming was “new”, people saw it as a dorky hobby for people who never left their rooms, or lived and breathed the sweaty musk of internet cafes. Nowadays, it has a much more accessible vibe, making it the “new” thing for marketers.
The issue with the mindset a lot of marketers have when coming into the gaming space is that they want to be in the gaming space because it’s “cool” — and therefore has big business potential. But if you treat gaming like the next trend to hop on, your marketing will fail you. Gamers don’t feel like they need brands to enjoy gaming since they never needed us before.
The pro strats
So, the question now is how do we get brands and gamers to really connect? Blue shared three key moments in his career that stayed with him and can hopefully inspire us in advertising in the gaming space.
- Know the culture
Blue shared how working with the international fighting game event Rev Major was such a fun project because it humbled him. While he excels in MOBAs and does his best to keep up with other games, he isn’t as immersed in the fighting game community. To make sure his team’s work was good, he made it a point to sit down and talk to fighting game enjoyers, which unearthed the Melty Blood bathroom meme that is enjoyed within their community. This meme became the big idea for their booth and attracted many of the con goers.
Because a running gag within the fighting community was that Melty Blood wasn’t a popular enough game to dedicate main floor space to within an event, players would have to settle for improvised playing areas like bathrooms. Blue and the Rumble Royale team ran with the joke, and players soon found themselves playing the game in a booth set up to resemble a bathroom, crude wall scrawls and all.
“The fighting game community is made up of really loyal and passionate people. Understanding the game and the gamers is key,” Blue said. “You can’t go into things without knowing about the communities because they can sniff out when you’re being fake and not genuine.”
2. Bring something new
“Have you ever had a time in your career where you felt like you’ve made it? Like your inner child can’t believe you’ve gotten this far? That was Tokyo Game Show for me – traveling for work? So cool.”
The gaming space is always evolving, and what might be small right now might be the big thing tomorrow. It’s important to keep updated on the latest in gaming and to bring the latest in gaming to where you’re at.
Going to the Tokyo Game Show was an opportunity for Blue and the Rumble Royale team to bring something new to the Philippines because Japanese games tend to be gatekept within the local market. Networking was key for the Rumble team during this event so that they could keep in contact with Japanese IPs and find opportunities to localize and grow the gaming ecosystem of the Philippines.
“Keeping yourself open to new experiences and looking for new ways to make gaming exciting is a great place to be especially if you want to become a thought leader,” Blue shared.
3. Talk to gamers
Lastly, it’s important that you just talk to gamers.
You don’t even need to be one yourself. You don’t need to get every inside joke or every meme to be able to connect with them genuinely. You just have to listen to them, because gamers are so vocal when it comes to what they want.
Blue’s community skills go back all the way to his teen years, where he helped foster the MapleStory community in its early days. One of his latest successes was being able to spearhead the NAOS Community Nights where he and his teammates heard their community talk about holding scrims (scrimmages). Blue found that being able to host these on a regular basis and invite community members to cast and help out made their community feel special. It made them feel supported and heard – giving NAOS a lasting relationship with their regulars.
GG go next
And if you’ll only remember one thing from this. Just remember gaming is bigger than all of us.
When it comes to the culture or what works we all have to put aside our egos, listen to the communities, and keep things fun.
And with that we ended the interview and GG go next!
About the Author
Carrie “Curry” Server is a Senior Brand Planner in Publicis JimenezBasic. She also peaked ASC1 in Valorant, is a retired Junkrat enjoyer, and worked with Garena in marketing Call of Duty: Mobile.
About Game On
Game On is the first and only industry column of its kind, with exclusive content on Gaming X Marketing, the increasingly rich interplay between gaming and creative marketing. Created by Rey Tiempo: gaming expert, creative brand specialist, content creator, entrepreneur. Rey has led teams to award-winning creative and effective work in the industry’s biggest networks. He preaches “playing while working” when leading industry discourse on tech, gaming, and the future of creative marketing. Currently playing (while working): Street Fighter 6, Super Mario Bros Wonder (co-op with daughter). Just finished: the brilliant Alan Wake 2.
Column artwork by Dennis Nierra, Creative Director at BBDO Guerrero. Currently playing: Diablo IV.