By Jerry Leisure, Co-Founder & CEO
True gamers know that playing video games is about more than experiencing the content of the game—it’s also about belonging to a community of players who share their passion for the game. Too many video game companies fail to appreciate and harness the value of their player communities, missing opportunities to engage and retain valuable customers in this $165 billion industry.
Today’s most innovative gaming companies, however, are learning to tap into their communities of passionate gamers, turning players into ambassadors, advocates, and beta testers for their games. Their efforts to engage with player communities have resulted in improved customer satisfaction, increased revenue, and deeper understanding of players and their gaming needs.
Officium executives, who have extensive experience in the gaming industry, offer the following examples of highly effective player-engagement initiatives:
1. Beta Testing: Inviting tenured players to test out new games and features before product launches and major upgrades gives development teams valuable feedback, which they can then use to add rich and meaningful features to their games. Turning players into beta testers is also a powerful tool for increasing player loyalty, as players appreciate being given a voice in the development process.
2. Engaging Content Creators: YouTube and Twitch are filled with gamers who stream their live gameplay. Offering these talented players early access to new content is a free and efficient form of advertising. Their streams can also build excitement by teaching other players how to progress faster in the games. This type of exposure can help gaming companies extend their overall reach to existing players and general gamers by a magnitude of millions.
3. Hosting Meetups: Sponsoring in-person and/or virtual meetups where players can try out bespoke maps and challenges encourages the friendly and fun competition players love. Such meetups can be held in small groups or in large venues, such as at gaming conventions and Comic Cons. These events allow players to get to know one another and have fun playing games together, resulting in a strengthened and more loyal player community.
In today’s digital world, everything moves faster, customers want things now and on their terms, and a gaming company’s challenge to engage and retain a player’s attention is more difficult than ever.
Best-in-class gaming companies are meeting that challenge by reinvisioning customer service to be more than just answering questions and decreasing response times. For these companies, customer service is about winning their customers’ affection and loyalty through listening to, enabling, empowering, and engaging players. This approach enriches the entertainment experience and builds an ecosystem of players who are enthusiastic ambassadors for the companies and their games.