How Gaming Companies Connect with Players to Fuel Innovation and Loyalty
Apr 18, 2023
When I was a young teenager, the internet as we know it today didn't exist, and video games cost a quarter to play. I remember being able to ride my bike with $2 of my allowance to spend at the local 7-11. $1 went to my Slurpee and a candy bar. The other dollar went to playing four video games. At first, I used one quarter in each of the four different games. Then I realized that I could play longer if I spent all four quarters on the same game and got better at it. Back then, the way to improve was to watch others play the game and then ask questions about how they got so good. I gained insights and improved myself, which made me more loyal to the game. But the connection was only with the local players. The gaming company had very limited information and no way to connect with the players.
Today, platforms like Discord allow gaming companies to connect players, gain insights on habits that can lead to innovation, empower gamers to become better and more loyal, and enable members to use word of mouth to market their games.
For years, gamers have been joining forums and chat rooms to discuss games, share tips, and get to know each other. By creating a Discord server, gaming developers can now be the source for these connections to happen. When players feel a sense of belonging, they become more loyal to the game and their fellow players.
The talk at arcades and local convenience stores didn't allow gaming companies to listen to the players. Forums and chat rooms weren't set up by gaming companies to gain insights from the players. Today, with a well-thought-out community strategy and architecture, gaming companies can listen and take action on features and bugs that players suggest. They can have players help each other instead of having to contact support. Discord provides a forum for this to happen and with channels set up, players know where to look and engage for the appropriate information, to ask a question, or to engage with others.
Our experience has shown that community members are more likely to promote a brand than non-community members. By setting up a Discord server with appropriate channels, gaming companies can help members promote the game. Members can provide the gaming company with insights on new marketing campaigns. Going even deeper, members can be involved in campaigns before the general public. This can lead to more than just marketing.
Just like I wanted my dollar to last longer, now there are many ways to create loyalty with players. Providing them with a place to connect, share, and learn from each other not only creates a connection but also builds the loyalty they have to the game. Letting them know you are listening and taking action on their feedback and ideas allows them to feel like they are part of the game, not just a player. And trusting them to help you market your game will create even greater loyalty, as they will have more trust in you!
It's also important to note this camaraderie extends past Discord and community forums. These same players also interact on YouTube, by email, in-person gaming meetups, conventions, etc. Though you may not be directly involved in the management of every facet of the "community conglomerate," keeping in mind the other interaction zones (and being a part of them on a "player level") is key to an accurate evaluation.
When looking at this from a roadmap perspective - when games are first announced, it's often months or even years before the game's release. From the release of the very first teaser trailer, it's the responsibility of the gaming company not only to create a space for interactions between fans, but also to facilitate community growth across platforms and media types. At that point, the Public Relations, Marketing, and Community Management teams all need to be working in close conjunction with each other (even more than usual) to take advantage of community "dead space" and keep the hype up for the game’s physical release.
What was once created by players for players is now something that the gaming company can be a part of. With a comprehensive community strategy and a well-set-up community architecture, you can have a Discord server that helps you create a community for your players that will lead to connection, innovation, marketing, and loyalty.
If you want to learn more or gain actionable insights on your Discord server, please let us know. Do you have any other ways in which gaming companies can use the community to improve their business?
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