Horror and Gaming: How Marketing Fear Makes Money

Horror gaming

The video game industry is larger than the sports and movie industry combined, a statistic that sounds unbelievable but is true. Demand for video games and online play has surged in recent years, climbing 20% in 2020 to reach $179.7 billion.

Therefore, having a popular game offers the potential to bring in serious profits, with a world full of avid gamers waiting to gobble up new titles. 

Some genres are more popular than others, but horror consistently ranks as one of the best. Players can’t seem to get enough of being scared out of their skins – and the scarier the game, the higher the demand.

Universal Appeal

The fascination with horror is nothing new. Horror has been around since the very start of the movie industry; the very first one was The Haunted Castle (Le Manoir du Diable) in 1896. 

Although the content of horror movies has changed over the years to become more shocking and explicit, the concept remains the same: to shock and scare audiences. 

The horror genre isn’t just confined to movies. Even entertainment such as casinos includes horror content, with titles such as Halloween and Day of Doom 2 slots popular with players. With virtual reality making the experience more immersive, the horror genre within gaming could soon become very real!

But there are already real-life experiences that deliver the horror-induced shot of adrenaline. At one end of the spectrum, there are ghost rides and haunted houses in fairgrounds, while at the opposite end, there are horror “experiences” with guests having to sign waivers in advance because they’re so terrifying! 

They say that sex sells – but there’s nothing quite like horror. 

Why is Horror so Popular?

The popularity of horror can be hard to understand. In real life, if you were to experience something that scared you and left you feeling uneasy, with a fluttering stomach and jangling nerves, you probably wouldn’t want to go back again. But for some reason, horror entertainment is highly sought after – despite leaving participants feeling the same way. 

Psychologists can’t agree on the exact reasons why horror is so popular, but there are varying schools of thought. 

Some believe that horror offers a way for people to work through anxiety, fears and worry from their daily life in a more abstract way. Put simply, you’re projecting how you feel onto a separate and distinct subject, enabling you to get those feelings out even though you haven’t addressed whatever is really going on. 

Others believe that it’s because the physical sensations of horror are almost identical to excitement. Extreme fear and excitement elucidate the same physical response in the body; adrenaline floods your system, leaving you in a high state of arousal. 

Studies also suggest that if you watch horror with someone else, it can help you feel more connected. That’s why horror movies are often a good choice for a date!

Whatever the reason, people can’t get enough of the fear response; they love to feel genuinely scared. Horror is a marketer’s dream, and you can expect to see plenty more of it advertised in the future! 


The Baron

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