Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. For today’s special episode, we bring you a live panel discussion from OMEN, featuring HP‘s Head of Marketing Daryl Butler, and Nikan Nadim aka FaZe Nikan of popular esports organization FaZe Clan.
With the onset of esports, gaming is no longer considered just a “hobby.” What is now a billion dollar industry and expected to surpass more viewership than the NFL, MLB and NBA, gaming has become a cultural norm.
Groups like FaZe Clan have pushed the agenda of this new sport with a massive social following and their own marketing agency, apparel line, in-house production studio, talent management business, and sales team all under their name. Meanwhile on the other side, tech consumer companies like HP have created a whole product line called OMEN, which focuses on laptops, desktops and accessories for the intent of gaming.
Daryl’s 25 years of marketing, sales & finance experience joined with Nikan’s astute awareness of the gaming industry and large role within FaZe Clan bring on a larger discussion of how gaming is no longer just a “basement activity,” but a phenom that has been streamlined into mainstream media. Recent limitations due to COVID-19 have only increased the popularity for gaming, where people have found comfort in the online community.
“Everybody being locked down meant technology is the only way you’re going to connect with your friends, which is a natural behavior, but it’s been expedited cause of the requirement to be sheltering in place. It’s just shed more light that community is not just physical. The idea that you can stay connected extends beyond physical spaces.”
While some may see gaming as a fad, Daryl and Nikan emphasize that it’s consistently “stood the test of time,” and now heading into a position of having an impenetrable force in culture. Numerous celebrities from Nyjah Huston to Offset have invested into FaZe Clan, their pop-up events and live streams garner an insurmountable number of people and their merchandise line has collaborated with huge brands from BE@RBRICKs to Champion. Tech brands like HP’s OMEN have catered to this movement, creating products powerful enough to support the ever-growing gaming community.
“We want to be that type of brand where competitors can appreciate the product, but everybody else can game at a high level, even if they aren’t competing at a high level.”
Esports has made huge steps, but Nikan says this is only the beginning. Both he and Daryl see a bright future in this world as there is an even playing field being that there is “zero discrimination in gaming.” Regardless of gender, race, size or any physical appearance, gaming is what Daryl and Nikan firmly believe “is for everyone.”
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