Gaming During COVID-19

Gaming Industry’s Biggest TV Ads Play to Their Base of Young Males

Despite females now comprising nearly half of all U.S. gamers (46% according to the Entertainment Software Association), surging video game advertiser spend during COVID-19 is being led by ads that appeal overwhelmingly to young males.  

That’s according to a Realeyes analysis of U.S. consumer response to top gaming-industry ads. We used PreView to measure emotion reactions and analyze six video ads surfaced among GamesBeat and’s ranking of March 2020 top gaming brands based on national TV ad spend. Advertisers in the study include Nintendo, Bethesda Softworks, Xbox, and Activision. 

Young Male Gaming at Home

Key Takeaways / TLDR: 

  1. Ads from top-spending gaming advertisers appeal to people who are young and male. 
  2. Gaming platform and services, which must appeal to fans across different gaming genres, tend to produce ads that resonate with a wider diversity of ages and gender. Their ads are more like mainstream TV commercials, featuring actors and compelling narratives, and have higher overall response from viewers.  

  3. Ads for shooter games often feature trailer cut-ups, aggressive hip hop or rock music from popular artists, and they resonate overwhelmingly with people young and male. Even though they may be niche by design, their response scores tend to be lower overall.  

  4. Since consumer response to ad creatives are polarized to specific ages and gender, these advertisers must target their media with extreme precision. The chances of a shooter game appealing to middle-age or older females is very low, so any exposure to this group is likely wasted media.  

  5. Gaming platforms and services prove that people older and female do respond well to the right kind of gaming advertising. 


Top Ads From Big Spenders Overall Appeal to Males, Younger People 

The gaming ads achieved a collective Realeyes Score of 32 among females compared to 54 for males. Meanwhile, the gaming ads had a Realeyes Score of 65 for ages 34 and under, and a Realeyes Score of 26 for ages 35 and over.  

The Realeyes Score is an indicator of brand equity, factoring in a video’s ability to generate and sustain viewer interest, achieve a strong emotional moment, and establish a lasting positive impression. The Realeyes Score is an index range from 0 to 100, and the average is 50 among all 26,000 videos studied. 


Gaming Platforms & Subscription Rental Services Attract More Diversity 

Two of the ads studied were for services and products catering to wider age and gender groups. They resonated highly with women, though still resonated higher with men.’s “The Noon Train” achieved a Realeyes Score of 75 among males compared to 66 for females. Nintendo Switch’s "Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Your Personal Island Paradise” had a Realeyes Score of 57 among males compared to 47 for females.  

GameFly 'NoonTrain'

“The Noon Train” fared well for all age groups, though still better for young people. It achieved a Realeyes Score of 86 for people 34 and under, and 60 for people 35 and over. Featuring kids and friendly cartoon characters, "Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Your Personal Island Paradise” achieved a Realeyes Score of 77 for people 34 and under, and 35 for people 35 and over. 

Nintendo Switch 'Animal Crossing - New_Horizons'

It’s A Boy’s World For Blockbuster Shooter Game Ads 

The highly anticipated first-person shooter game Doom Eternal from Bethesda Softworks had multiple ads on display featuring music from Tommee Profitt. Doom Eternal’s “Official Launch Trailer” achieved a Realeyes Score of 44 among males compared to 23 for females. Doom Eternal’s “What Is Eternal?” had a Realeyes Score of 41 among males compared to 33 for females. The Eternal Doom partnership ad with Xbox, also called “What Is Eternal?,” had a Realeyes Score of 41 among males compared to 25 for females.

Bethesda/Xbox - Doom 'What is Eternal?  

Activision’s free-to-play battle royale video game Call of Duty: Warzone released its “Comeback” ad, featuring music by LL Cool J. Like the Eternal Doom, this shooter game had a Realeyes Score of 38 among males compared to 19 for females.  

Call of Duty - 'Warzone'


Realeyes Emotion AI
Ads from Top Gaming Ad Spenders Ranked by Realeyes Score
U.S. April 16, 2020
Advertiser Spot Age <34 Age >35 Male Female The Noon Train 86 60 75 66
Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Your Personal Island Paradise 77 35 57 47
Bethesda Softworks Official Launch Trailer 50 28 44 23
Bethesda Softworks What is Eternal? 46 36 41 33
Bethseda/Xbox What is Eternal? 55 34 62 25
Activision Call of Duty: Warzone 65 26 38 19
  All Ads Tested in Database 65 26 54 32
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