Tik Tok is the latest social media app to take off in a big way. Millions of people, most of them younger, have fallen in love with the app. In fact, it was the fourth most downloaded app in 2018, which made it even more popular than Snapchat and Instagram!
Experts are saying the app is the one to watch right now, but what kind of effect is it likely to have on the gaming industry? Let’s find out.
What is Tik Tok?
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Tik Tok is a short-form video app developed by a Chinese company called ByteDance. It first became popular across Asia, but the rest of the world has woken up and realized how much fun it is.
Like YouTube, Tik Tok is all about videos, but unlike YouTube, it has lots of extra features, such as filters and stickers. Videos are short and often very amateurish, which is part of the app’s appeal. Initially, users used Tik Tok to film themselves lip-syncing to pop songs but it has evolved into a platform where people can show off their silly stunts or special talents and even offer advice such as casino tips. It has spawned numerous memes, and there are many kids who have become Tik Tok celebrities.
The app is hugely popular with teens, but older people like it, too, thanks to its enormous appeal. The biggest Tik Tok stars don’t have the same following as the YouTube elite, but they are catching up fast.
The Gaming Industry is Paying Attention to Tik Tok
The gaming industry has cottoned on to this. Tik Tok uses artificial intelligence to generate a content feed designed to appeal to an individual user. Unlike YouTube and other social platforms where users can actively select what content they want to see, Tik Tok recommends content based on algorithms. Users have no choice what content they see in their feeds, but experts believe this could be the future of gaming platforms.
Imagine a gaming site where artificial intelligence dictated what games you play based on your previous choices?
There are some very popular gamer accounts on Tik Tok, some of whom have in excess of two million followers. There have also been gaming tournaments and challenges organized on Tik Tok, such as the League of Legends World Championships.
Sports Brands Love Tik Tok
The NFL is heavily invested in the channel, and the NFL official channel has 4.4 million fans. It first announced a collaboration back in 2019, in a bid to court younger viewers. They – like many other sports and gaming brands – have realized that younger viewers are more likely to be found on social apps like Tik Tok, so if they want to attract them, they have to create content this demographic wants to watch.
The NFL has managed to create a strong presence on Tik Tok by promoting content via hashtag challenges such as #WeReady and creating NFL themed videos.
Other sports brands have partnered with Tik Tok, including the NBA, and esports is also sitting up and taking notice of Tik Tok’s popularity. ESL, an esports organizer, launched two Tik Tok channels in 2019, and both of them achieved more than two million views in four days, which is hugely impressive. After ten days, the channels had hit more than 2.5 billion views.
For gaming brands wanting to target Gen Z, Tik Tok is the perfect platform. Half of all it’s users are aged between 18 and 24, which is the perfect demographic for gaming companies. Interestingly, it works both ways, as many Tik Tok stars are pivoting to gaming.
How Covid-19 has Pushed Tik Tok Stars into Gaming
Some of the bigger names on Tik Tok started off by creating comedy and dance videos. They earned money by selling merch to fans at in-person events, but the Covid-19 pandemic changed that. Unable to meet fans in-person and make money from selling merchandise, Tik Tok stars began posting videos of themselves gaming.
Ninja, one of the biggest internet gaming stars, has begun posting gaming content on Tik Tok, so it won’t be long before others follow his lead. Ninja now has a following of three million, and his videos have more than 17 million likes.
Gaming is a relatively new type of content on Tik Tok, but it’s proven to be popular. The platform recognizes this. CEO Kevin Mayer has said he wants to expand gaming content to include live streaming. Tik Tok has already created a new gaming division in China, so it won’t be long before this expands to the west.
In January this year, Epic Games formed a partnership with Tik Tok, and users were asked to create a new Fortnite Emote under the #EmoteRoyalContest hashtag.
It’s likely that other gaming companies will soon follow suit.
Brian Dan is just getting his feet wet as a tech reporter but has already had his work featured in many major publications including Tech Spot and Tech Crunch. In regards to academics, Brian earned a degree in business from Fordham University. Brian has a passion for emerging technology and covers upcoming products and breakthroughs in science and tech.