All Elite Wrestling may have been founded with one of the central premises being athleticism and sport over entertainment, but pro wrestling is still an entertainment business. AEW has managed to win over a large group of pro wrestling fans who, before, only really had the WWE to turn to for the action.
Still, most see it as the up-and-comer rather than the immediate rival to the WWE, despite many rating comparisons, with the company formerly known as the WWF continually linked to AEW talent and expected to take its stars away. There are several ways that the AEW can improve to battle the WWE head-on, but a big way comes beyond the ring, arena, and cameras.
This space is that of gaming of all types and platforms. The success of EA and 2K show exactly how integral good games are to a brand and in keeping fans engaged, so, AEW should double down on gaming everywhere.
Home console contender on the way
The WWE has suffered a fair bit in the not-too-distant past in video gaming. On home consoles and PC, the WWE 2K series hit a landmine with WWE 2K20, which was obliterated by fans and critics. After a year away, 2K22 proved much improved, but still not wholly up to modern sports game standards. Carrying the brand, however, is a history of great games on much older platforms, though, so the following remains quite strong.
AEW will soon get its own licensed home console game. Created by the Yuke’s video game company and set for publication by THQ Nordic on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch, its focus on arcade-like action, customization, and an array of modes looks to make AEW: Fight Forever an accessible and fun-loving first entry for the newer wrestling company. If the grappling is good, the thrill of the over-the-top antics is embraced, and the opposing AI is strong, it could be a hit.
Entry into the realms of iGaming
While it’s not as commonly cited as a key battleground for brands, the diverse selection of official and branded online slot games shows that there’s good reason to get into iGaming. Not only do millions of people around the world play, but the games are more accessible to audiences that aren’t inclined to buy the latest Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo hardware. Instead, platforms like Buzz Bingo cultivate an atmosphere of community fun at a low cost. This opens up the brand to a much wider audience to perhaps even capture the attention of people who don’t even follow the WWE but may be curious about pro wrestling. On the bingo, slots, and community entertainment site, there’s the popular Lucha Rumble and Wild Luchadors as their wrestling slots. So, not only is there a degree of wrestling interest, but there’s also space for the brand.
Mobile app games have to be addressed
Mobile gamers don’t expect much from free apps and are happy to play along, provided that the game loops are moderately rewarding and the multiplayer isn’t overly pay-to-win. AEW did come out with a mobile app game, but it was demolished by fans and doesn’t exist anymore. This was the AEW Casino free mobile game Double or Nothing, which doesn’t exist anymore. There’s still the active Elite General Manager, but its 3.3 score says it all.
Meanwhile, the WWE has three active mobile games that adhere to generic freemium game models like superstar collections, card games, and symbol matching, boasting over 10 million downloads on each. Mobile gaming is a clear path to a better gaming presence and appeal among wrestling fans.
Gaming can be an important and useful line of entertainment to help promote the AEW name, but time needs to be put in to attack the right areas and with sufficient quality.