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The numbers are in and it’s official: Sony’s PlayStation was the top gaming brand spender on TV advertising for 2020, accounting for over 40% of the industry’s total outlay. All told, 34 brands spent an estimated $270.8 million on TV ads, representing a 24% year-over-year decrease. And even though PlayStation was No. 1 for both 2019 and 2020, its 2020 budget was a 10.73% decrease from what the brand spent in 2019.
GamesBeat has partnered with iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution platform, to bring you a monthly report on how gaming brands are spending. The results below are for the top five gaming-industry brands in 2020, ranked by estimated national TV ad spend.
PlayStation reigned supreme for gaming industry TV spend, shelling out over an estimated $110.1 million in 2020, with much of that concentrated in the fourth quarter. The brand aired 33 spots over 12,000 times, resulting in 4.4 billion TV ad impressions. The top ad by spend (estimated at $14.1 million) was “The Edge: Play Has No Limits.” Nearly 22% of PlayStation’s estimated outlay went to NFL games, followed by college football and the NBA . Top networks by spend included ESPN, ABC, and Adult Swim.
Xbox takes third place, spending an estimated $25.4 million on 18 ads that aired over 2,900 times, generating 1.2 billion TV ad impressions, with a large chunk of the outlay occurring in Q4 2020. The top spot by outlay (est. $7.2 million) was “A New Life,” advertising the gold edition of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Xbox focused spend toward a sports-loving audience, with ESPN, Fox, and ABC as three of the top networks, while top programming included the NFL, college football, and the NBA.
Fourth place goes to Square Enix, which only ran ads from mid-August to early October, spending about $12.2 million. The brand aired two spots over 1,300 times, resulting in 430.7 million TV ad impressions. The majority of Square Enix’s budget (est. $10.8 million) went to “Time to Assemble,” promoting Marvel’s Avengers. The NBA, college football, and Family Guy were among the top programming by spend; top networks included ESPN, ABC, and Adult Swim.
EA Sports rounds out the ranking, spending an estimated $10.5 million on 16 commercials that ran over 1,500 times, generating 479 million TV ad impressions. The Madden NFL 21 spot “A New Era Feat. The Spokesplayer,” featuring King Keraun, had the biggest outlay, an estimated $3 million. Unsurprisingly, EA focused on reaching sports lovers, with top programming including the NFL, college football, and the NBA, while ESPN, NFL Network, and ABC were among the top networks.
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