Xbox rolls over Nintendo to lead a sleepy August for gaming industry TV spend

The summer slump for gaming brands continued in August, with the industry’s estimated total spend coming in around $3.6 million, down from July’s $6.2 million. Xbox surpassed longtime frontrunner Nintendo to claim 30.7% of the industry outlay, followed by Rockstar Games with 28.8%.

GamesBeat has partnered with, 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 August, ranked by estimated national TV ad spend.

Although Xbox didn’t start spending in earnest until after the middle of August, it comes out on top with an estimated spend of $1.1 million on two ads, both for Gears 5, that aired 156 times and generated over 45 million TV ad impressions. “Gears 5: Kait Unleashed” accounted for nearly the entire budget. Adult Swim, Comedy Central, and TBS were three of the networks with the biggest spend, while top programs included American Dad, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers.

At No. 2: Rockstar Games, which spent an estimated $1 million on airing a single spot, “Grand Theft Auto Online: The Diamond Casino & Resort Open for Business,” 99 times, resulting in 33.3 million TV ad impressions. The company prioritized spend on networks including AMC, Discovery Channel, and CBS, and during programming such as Preacher, I Was Prey: Shark Week, and Fear the Walking Dead.

Nintendo takes third place with an estimated spend of $842,540 for nine ads that ran 611 times, resulting in 161.9 million impressions. The commercial with the biggest outlay (est. $191,669) was “My Way: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe & Super Mario Maker 2.” Topping the list of networks with high spend: Nick, Disney Channel, and Teen Nick; programs that Nintendo prioritized included The Loud House, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Victorious.

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Fourth place goes to EA Sports, which spent an estimated $266,778 on three spots with 118 airings, generating 37.9 million impressions. The Madden NFL 20 commercial “Bring it: X-Factor,” featuring Patrick Mahomes and Alvin Kamara, had the biggest outlay (est. $165,616). EA Sports focused on reaching a sports-loving audience, with spend skewed toward networks such as ESPN, NBC, and NFL Network, and during programming including NFL Football, SportsCenter, and SportsCenter With Scott Van Pelt.

Finally, there’s THQ Games with an estimated budget of $210,141 for two ads that aired 73 times, resulting in 5.4 million impressions. The majority of its spend (est. $159,487) went to “AMA Pro Motocross Championship Tracks.” THQ Games focused its budget on just three networks: NBC, NBC Sports, and Mav TV; programming with the highest spend included Motocross Racing, Pro Motocross Championship, and FIVB Tokyo Women’s Volleyball Qualification 2019.

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