Why is it worth for Callaway Golf to enter the VR industry?

By: January 23, 2020

In recent years esports and gaming became mainstream. We are not surprised to read about esport or gaming tournaments and events in mainstream media.

The European Tour (in cooperation with DreamHack, a global entertainment company and game developers Topgolf Entertainment Group) announced in December to feature 6 Esports events in 2020 alongside the European Tour tournaments.

European eTour 2020 esports VR industry
Photo Credit: DreamHack

Almost a year ago I wrote about Topgolf Lounge (Callaway Golf is one of the investors) that offers among the others, a broad selection of virtual games.

An interesting insight from the esport market. Business Insider predicts viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023.

I go further 171 million people are using VR (virtual reality) technology today. Statista.com predicts virtual reality video gaming sales revenue worldwide will reach 22.9 billion USD by the end of 2020. North America and Europe are considered the biggest markets.

The global virtual reality in gaming and entertainment market size is expected to reach USD 70.57 Billion by 2026 (Source: Fortune Business Insights).

I don’t want to throw too many insights on you, but the 2019 Augmented & Virtual Reality Survey Report (by Perkins Coie & XR Association) predicts that immersive technology will be a natural part of our everyday life by 2025 as smartphones today.

Callaway Golf VR industry AAA Games Studio

Callaway Golf & AAA Games Studios & VR industry

Now I think you will understand why the latest Callaway Golf partnership with AAA Games Studios (a Virtual Reality Software Developer) caught my attention.

AAA Games Studios is the developer of “Golf5 WIPPTM”, a proprietary VR technology that simulates the movement and behavior of golf clubs and the golfer’s swing. 

Chip Brewer, Callaway Golf President & CEO, said:

“With exciting ventures such as TopGolf, it is clear that there are multiple ways that we can attract and excite future generations to the great game of golf, and this strategic partnership provides the opportunity to innovate in a new and exciting space for the Callaway brand.” 

Esports is not the game and entertainment of geeky kids playing in their attics! Brands like Callaway Golf need to understand the scale of this change.

I think esport is giving a new format of how people can get interested in golf. At the same time, we should not think of this kind of golfers and golf fans in terms of traditional sports fans.

They immerse and engage with the game in a totally different way that is hard to compare to those attitudes, behavior, and motivations of offline golfers.

Just think about footgolfers how different they are from traditional golfers!

I can see at least 5 benefits for the game of golf & Callaway Golf or any other marketers:

  1. Helps to diversify audience and bring people with different social-demographic background to golf;
  2. Engage with golf fans and Callaway Golf customers in a new way;
  3. To bridge the gap between experience and action.
  4. To test and innovate.
  5. Due to the nature of VR technology, it can help to place their brand image closer to the eyes of consumers
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