Bumble is turning right into the export industry, partnering with one of the world's largest teams.
The first women's social networking platform announced on Tuesday that it has partnered with Gen.G, a global export organization originally based in South Korea.
He will sponsor Team Bumble, Gen.G's first ever female team, which will consist of Fortnite professional players. In addition, the platform will become an official partner for Kristen Valnicek – commonly known as KittyPlays – a content creator and Twitter streamer who appointed Gen.G in October to head up new gaming initiatives.
The partnership's core mission is essentially to connect and empower women gamers with Chelsea McLean, Bumbell's vice president of marketing, underlining the company's desire to "support women who build incredible gaming communities."
Women make up 46% of the over 166 million adults in the US who play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association. This represents a slight increase from 2018, when the association found that 45% of the American playgroup was made up of women.
But given that the gaming industry has traditionally been male-dominated, McLean said connecting female gamers has become paramount not only to promoting healthy communities, but also to boosting games and exports in general.
"I think we can help grow exports by making it easier for gamers to find and build meaningful relationships with other players in their neighborhood," she said in an interview.
The desire to build these links is present. MacLean said Bumble's research shows that gamers use Bumble BFF, the Bumble app's friendship mode, to try to find their gamers. The app already has a "gaming" tag that can help users sift through and find gamers more easily.
"We also know that playing games with others helps people form more meaningful relationships," she said. "Healthy and equitable relationships are at the heart of Bumbell's DNA. It is important for us to partner with communities that help us fulfill this mission."
Bumble has components in its dating, friendship and professional networking app and has more than 65 million users worldwide.
But finding other female gamers can be difficult. While almost half of US gaming is made up of women, various studies over the years show that women are still less likely to identify themselves as gamers than men, given the widespread gaming concept and lack of support for women which still penetrates much of the space.
"I've never had any women I've contacted specifically about the love of video games, and it would just be nice to make one," says one user who writes to CNBC. The person wished not to be identified for fear of being harassed online, but said she wanted to contact fellow female gamers after choosing games as a hobby after hiatus in the late 1920s. (Bumbell said there is a zero tolerance policy for harassment, hate speech and misogyny. Users can block or report to any other user in the Bumble moderator team.)
She had set up a Bumble game filter to help her, but the person she found with the filter did not live in her area.
"The app notifies me that there is no one else in my area with the games filter," she added. "So just finding other women or femme folx with this shared interest is challenging even for an application that seems to have decent functionality to facilitate that."
Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G and former CEO of Major League Baseball, also wants to do so with the Bumble partnership.
"A central part of our mission and thesis as a company is that today, this generation of gamers is not only larger than most people realize, but will grow to a larger size than people realize," he said. "A critical element of this is to voice the large segments of the community that are emerging and have a really important place in streaming platforms, tournaments and casual fans."
He added that export audiences tend to engage with the media more actively than their traditional counterparts and older generations.
"They have been empowered by the explosion of media technology and have great sensitivity as content creators themselves," Park said. "So they are not the passive audiences we have seen in past generations, they are active supporters who are able to take the objects of their fund to the next level."
This has already led Bumble to come up with new ways to use the tools at its disposal for a heavier and more interactive digital audience.
"Video calls are now available on Bumble on all three platforms: Date, BFF and Bizz," said McLean. "We certainly think of ways to integrate video calling in our partnership with Gen.G. One idea is to have [KittyPlays] connect with other gamers through Bumble BFF video chat as part of our Want a Friend program. "
Bumble's partnership with Gen.G gives the platform access to an industry that research firm Newzoo estimates will generate more than $ 1 billion in revenue for the first time this year, up 27% year over year. The total global audience of epochs is expected to grow by 15% by the end of the year to about 454 million, the researcher said.