EA’s vice president of brand, Elle McCarthy, believes the term “gamer” is outdated.
“I often get asked about how brands can partner with gaming or talk to gamers – but there’s really no such thing as gamers at all and understanding that will be crucial,” she says.
Only 14 per cent of players identify as gamers; that drops to six per cent for women.
“Trying to target gamers is like saying you’re targeting people who like music or people who breathe in air,” she says.
For McCarthy, gaming has converged with wider culture.
“Gaming is no longer a medium or an industry, it is simply ‘interactive’. You can now interact with almost everything through play, from an interest area like interior design to a movement like Black Lives Matter or exploring your sexual identity,” she says.
“The recent rise in more lo-fi live service games allows faster integration of culture than ever before. This is a huge opportunity for marketing and forces a more audience-first and fluid approach for brands looking to engage authentically.”
For many, the term gamer relates more to a false stereotype of straight white cis male teens playing video games in their bedrooms.
It also relates to the Gamergate movement that began in 2014, a movement that involved harassing women and focused on sexism and anti-progressivism in the games industry.
However, with gaming so embedded in popular culture, the term “gamer” certainly feels – to use McCarthy’s words – “outdated”.
In the interview, McCarthy details her career journey, including her passion for “driving greater inclusion and equity in entertainment and media” that included rebranding Radio 1 and 1Xtra.
Her current remit is “the reinvention and re-invigoration of a 40-year-old brand: Electronic Arts.”
EA is the publisher behind games like Apex Legends, The Sims, Battlefield and FIFA among others.