Game On: Chatting with Erwin Razon, General Manager at Bent Pixels Asia

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Oh hey welcome back, Player! We’re just on our second installment and already… boss level! As promised, we’re hitting the ground running on gamingXmarketing as we share our comfy gaming couch with Erwin Razon, General Manager at Bent Pixels Asia.

Bent Pixels Asia is a gaming and esports media group that works with content creators to help boost their earnings on YouTube by connecting them with advertisers producing highly-targeted and premium, branded campaigns in the gaming and esports space.

Let’s-a go!


Tiempo: Describe your journey so far, what is your educational background and how did it help you land a role in the gaming industry?

Razon: I graduated from UP Diliman Extension Program in Pampanga (quite a mouthful but we often use UPDEPP to abbreviate it), with a degree in BS Business Management. Back then, I had a peculiar interest in marketing and entrepreneurship – finding the challenge of bringing creative marketing and product solutions to life, the most fulfilling aspect of business. This brought me to my first marketing stint… or so I wished. After several attempts to start with a marketing career, I was faced with the realization that most traditional businesses shy away from hiring introverted personalities for marketing roles. Granted, young Erwin wasn’t necessarily one who thrived in jumpstarting conversations – even to this day, a work-in-progress. Instead, I landed a tech-driven role in a BPO company, and stayed there for two years while planning my grand entrance into marketing.

I realized that the way to move forward is to study digital marketing — the new game in town, a relatively young practice back in 2015. I helped myself by taking offline and online programs, keeping pace with the field, which paved the way to joining Innity, a digital advertising company, where I spent five formative years in digital product management, data and analytics, and advertising sales. Five years, five different roles. I ended my journey with Innity as an Associate Country Manager and moved forward for the next chapter.

In late 2021, on my job search, I came upon the General Manager role for Bent Pixels Asia on LinkedIn, a role designed around digital advertising, media sales, and influencer marketing, focused on the gaming and esports industry. It was the right opportunity, at the right time, at the right moment — a natural intersection of what I know professionally, and what I love as a hobby — an Ikigai moment. Took my chances, and here we are, empowering YouTube creators and advertisers in the gaming category.

An excellent single-player story! So, tell us what your every day is like?

Most of the time I talk to gaming and esports creator agencies, and we help them educate their content creators about the importance of diversifying their content strategy through YouTube. As part of that effort, we also help creators monetize on the platform using Reserved Media and Branded Content. I also meet advertisers and agencies to pitch bespoke solutions that will help their brands set a foothold in the gaming and esports market through YouTube Gaming.

Without getting into too many specifics (for confidentiality, of course!), can you tell us about some recent projects that you have worked on?

Yes! Regionally, we mostly work with telco, gadget and tech, energy drinks industries that are busy boosting their ads on the segment. We’ve also been working with cryptocurrency companies. Cryptocurrency brands tend to target gaming and esports audiences because they are the ones who are easily familiar with the concept. One of the proudest works we’ve done recently was in partnership with YouTube for a Telco campaign, where they wanted to capture audiences from a specific mobile esports tournament. They wanted to get behind the hype because tournaments generally tend to generate a lot of video views. We worked with three YouTube content creators to produce what we call “shoulder” content around the tournament. The brand sponsored those videos, and then they roadblocked all of their YouTube ads in such a way that all viewers saw on those channels were their videos — they literally owned 100% of the ad space of those three creators.

Talk about captive audiences, right there! So as you may know, we have quite a diverse audience out there for this column. But particularly we’re talking to the marketing industry and providing them somewhat of a Tutorials Level session, and kind of easing them into the rich and rewarding world of gaming. Given your exposure to brand work, what is your message — that all-important nugget of wisdom that you want to impart to marketers who are currently maybe contemplating getting into gamingXmarketing?

Well first, I want to debunk the idea that gaming and esports is a niche market. It’s no longer a niche market. It’s generating massive views from millennials and Gen Z’s, so it’s a NOW market. You know, a lot of the advertisers should start looking at gaming and esports as a core pillar of their marketing strategy. And there are several ways to get into gaming and esports in terms of advertising. You have tournaments, you have events. You have esports sponsorships. You have branded content. There are tons of influencers on YouTube and other platforms that you can get into and talk to, and of course, there’s also the media side, which Bent Pixels Asia offers. We’re here to help you create a bespoke solution if your brands want to get in on the action.

Very well said. Gaming really is NOW. How about for the more advanced marketers out there, with brands who are already deep into gamingXmarketing like the big telcos and the gaming-endemic brands. Where do you think we should be headed next? Any untapped opportunities out there? Some fearless forecasts?

I think the biggest thing to look out for in the next three to five years is the development of the metaverse. Gaming audiences tend to be the first movers in this category, so you know it would be interesting to see both the audiences transition from the current setup into the metaverse, as well as the brands that are trying to capture the first wave of audiences geared towards those metaverse content. I think that’s the next big step for these more advanced brands.

Right! So, there are lots of gaming numbers out there in Asia, but as I said in my past article, not so much in the Philippines. As someone who operates mainly at the regional level, how do you think the Philippines compares to the rest of our neighbors when it comes to gaming?

No different from our Southeast Asian neighbors, we are a massive mobile gaming market. Mobile game titles like Mobile Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile, and Call of Duty: Mobile paved the way to grow gaming from a niche to a mainstream category. It is my hope that, as data infrastructures improve and gaming equipment becomes more accessible, we see better audience penetration and hype around PC and console gaming!

From a gaming content standpoint, I’d say the Philippines is second to Indonesia. Indonesian gaming creators have a well-rounded approach to live streaming complemented by solid video-on-demand strategies. In the Philippines, the predominant gaming content creation practice is live streaming, save for a few creators who started with VOD as their core strategy. We, at Bent Pixels Asia, strongly believe there is a massive opportunity in creating stronger livestream, long-form, and short-from VOD strategies on YouTube for these creators, and it is our mission to help them start this journey.

Lightning-round! Time to go all-nerdy! Favorite game played recently?

Valorant and Final Fantasy 14.

All-time favorite?

I know it’s Final Fantasy 12 for me.

Aha, a big FF guy! First game ever played? (Let’s see if we can date your game console gen!)

Super Marioland, 1989, Gameboy.

Last game played before this interview?

Dota 2.

Favorite esports player?

Well, I would say N0tail from OG.

Favorite esports game?

Right now I think the Valorant format is starting to pop off with the VALORANT Champions Tour.

Favorite streamer?

I watch a lot of Ludwig, Asmongold, or Disguised Toast.

Cloud gaming — yay or nay?

Not my cup of tea, but a yay nonetheless. I believe it will pull in more audiences, but it’s relatively new and there’s a lot of development that still needs to happen, like data infrastructure, and game selection. It’s not yet as accessible, and it does not offer a wide selection of games compared to the other formats.

Last gaming screenshot you took?

I think it was Mobile Legends. Uh, I recently got back into it and I was shocked that the diamonds cost one peso for one diamond. And then I shared it with a friend.

Favorite gaming brand peripheral?


And lastly, going a bit controversial here, but… Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo? And why is it Playstation? That was a joke! But seriously…

Well, I would still prefer Playstation, because they have the best exclusive games.

“Game On” is a column about gamingXmarketing, an apt term beyond the loosely tossed advergaming. More about Bent Pixels Asia on its website. Special thanks to Ms. Janelle Barretto, the biz dev maven of esports and gaming, for making this chat possible!


Rey Tiempo is Head of Experience and Innovation at Digitas Philippines. He also heads a team of DLCs — “Downloadable Creatives” for gaming and campaigns at Co-Op Play, an on-demand group of specialists. He has served as President of the Creative Guild of the Philippines, and has spent the last twenty-plus years leading teams to award-winning creative and effective work in Publicis Groupe, VMLY&R, Dentsu, BBDO, and Leo Burnett. Gamer, musician, comic book enthusiast, and relentless collector, Rey keeps himself immersed in platforms by creating content. Currently playing: Returnal. Returnal. Returnal. Returnal. Returnal. Returnal.

Column masthead by Creative Director and DLC, Dennis Nierra. Currently playing: Thrill of the Fight and Pistol Whip on Oculus, and Crusader Kings 3 on Steam.

Partner with adobo Magazine

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button