News 23.04.2024

Need to Know

Content Warning wants gamers to risk their life for content, explicit deepfakes will soon be a criminal offence in the UK and why US teenagers are spending more on beauty than ever.

Content Warning wants gamers to risk their life for content

Content Warning by Landfall Games, Sweden

Global – Content Warning, a cooperative horror game, is turning gamers into SpöökTubers adventuring into an eerie underground to go viral. Released for free on April Fool’s Day 2024 by Landfall Games, it skyrocketed to 6.6m downloads within a day, according to Yahoo News.

Players have three days to film thrilling videos in the Old World, a spooky universe filled with monsters. Content Warning is not just about survival, it’s about capturing the perfect shot to gain the most views and attention – as an influencer would.

‘[What] was most interesting to us was the core of the game – the filming and video creation,’ Hanna Fogelberg, head of community at Landfall told StealthOptional. ‘We were inspired by YouTubers and influencer culture[…] There’s something interesting in people risking life and limb for content that we wanted to play off of.’

Crafted by a team of just five developers, Content Warning has already smashed milestones and crossed the 1m sales mark. It sold over 700,000 copies in under two weeks and hit 204,000 players on day one.

Its innovative approach appeals to a generation captivated by the allure of going viral and who find the humour and irony in horror – a concept we analysed in our Danse Macabre microtrend report.

Strategic opportunity

Consider making user-generated content shareable to turn it into viral marketing campaigns while encouraging users to spread the word about your brand organically

Ikea launches its first gaming furniture collection

Ikea Brännboll, Sweden Ikea Brännboll, Sweden
Ikea Brännboll, Sweden Ikea Brännboll, Sweden

Milan – Ikea unveiled its inaugural gaming furniture collection, Brännboll, at Milan Design Week 2024, aimed at the increasingly popular casual gaming market. Spearheaded by product design developer Philip Dilé, the collection features 20 pieces designed to seamlessly integrate gaming into home decor.

Dilé emphasises Brännboll’s focus on reflecting contemporary casual gaming while ensuring furniture blends stylishly into homes. The collection’s versatility allows for quick reshaping of living spaces, with pieces like the gaming station cabinet and gaming lounge chair offering swift transitions from domestic to gaming set-ups. Designer David Wahl’s gaming easy chair stands out, accommodating various playing habits with its dynamic design. Wahl’s first-hand gaming experience informed the chair’s adaptability, enhancing the immersive gaming experience.

Brännboll’s vibrant palette and athleisure-inspired design are a departure from traditional gaming aesthetics, with the aim to appeal to a mature gaming audience. By bridging the gap between gaming and home decor, Ikea’s Brännboll collection reflects the evolving interests and lifestyles of gamers, fostering a playful yet functional environment for gaming enthusiasts.

Strategic opportunity

In Women Who Play, we revealed that today’s gamers defy stereotypical norms. As brands seek to engage with the gaming community, it’s crucial to develop products that resonate with these evolving demographics, identities and values

Creating sexually explicit deepfakes to become a criminal offence

UK – In England and Wales, the government is set to pass a new law to criminalise the creation of sexually explicit deepfake images.

The law will be introduced as an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill and follows the Online Safety Act, which was passed in 2023, that made the sharing of deepfakes illegal. Offenders making explicit images of an adult without their consent could face a criminal record, unlimited fines and even jail time if the image has been widely shared.

The new legislation means that if someone creates a sexually explicit deepfake with the intention to cause alarm, humiliation or distress to the victim, they will be committing a criminal offence even if they do not plan to share the image.

In The Future of Responsible AI we explored how the ethical application of AI relies on upper-level executives, government officials and industry leaders exhibiting active efforts to deploy responsible AI best practice. Boundaries, legislation and regulation will ensure AI is implemented in a way that improves, rather than detracts from, humans’ quality of life.

Replika, US

Strategic opportunity

Exercise caution and transparency when using AI imagery as a brand. Respect evolving consumer and legislative guidelines, and ensure transparency and clear communication when you’re using AI imagery, so as not to alienate your consumers

Stat: American teenagers are spending more on beauty than ever

Sephora, UK Sephora, UK

US – Piper Sandler Companies has released the findings of its 47th biannual Taking Stock With Teens survey, conducted in partnership with non-profit student organisation DECA, which sheds light on the evolving spending habits of over 6,000 Generation Z teens in the US in spring 2024.

The comprehensive analysis of teen preferences and spending reveals intriguing insights into Gen Z’s impact on the economy. Abbie Zvejnieks, senior research analyst at Piper Sandler, said: ‘Our survey results indicate a slight increase in teen spending sequentially from autumn 2023, but self-reported spending is down 6% year on year, well below pre-pandemic levels.’

Key shifts in brand preferences are also highlighted, with smaller, innovative brands gaining traction. Nike, while retaining its top spot, faces competition from emerging players like On Running and HOKA in the apparel sector, while Elf Beauty continues its dominance in the beauty segment. The latter is booming, with US teenagers’ core beauty wallet reaching the highest level since spring 2018, at £275 ($339, €318), an increase of 8% year on year, driven by growth in all categories. Teen beauty consumers also admit to preferring in-store shopping (85%) to online.

Moreover, the survey reveals changes in social media preferences, with Instagram overtaking Snapchat to claim the second spot, trailing behind TikTok. Starbucks emerges as the top choice among beverage chains, while Chick-fil-A retains its position as the favourite restaurant among teens.

In Brand Innovation Debrief: Elf Beauty, we analysed the company’s strategies that turned its products into must-haves for Gen Z and teens.

Strategic opportunity

Given the rise of smaller, innovative brands among Gen Z, consider creating limited-edition capsule collections with these emerging players to tap into their growing popularity, online relevance and reach

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