Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fostering an Online Community for Gamers

Asking a question as basic as, “why do we play video games,” will garner a plethora of responses. For some, playing video games provides a challenge that tests them both physically and mentally; for others it’s a way to enjoy a particular theme or genre, while taking part in the action.

But for many, video games offer a chance to interact with other like-minded individuals to create a team bent on one thing: becoming the best team of gamers at the game they play.

Consider that 51% of US household owns at least one dedicated game console, and those that do own an average of two. Much like the rise in smartphone usage, the availability of devices that allow users to partake in gaming has sharply inclined over the past decade. While highly competitive, volatile, and largely fraternal, 62% of gamers play games with others, either online or in-person. Even more shocking, 77% of gamers play with others at least one hour per week.

Two Major Online Gaming Community Challenges

As the numbers would suggest, the average gamer is generally very consistent with the amount of gaming that they do. They are very informed, and often harbor strong opinions as to how a gaming experience can be improved.

When creating and fostering an online community amongst gamers, we often face two major challenges:
1.     negativity and
2.     knee-jerk reactions
When gamers want to share their opinion of something, it tends to be pointing out perceived flaws of the game and can often come across with a negative tone. Also, when gamers do share their opinion, it is often a spur-of-the-moment feeling, meaning that they can change what they thought later on.

Online community management, therefore, is a tricky task to say the least. But, with an established, well-run loyalty program in place—as well as a consistent carrot to spur the participants to keep participating—fostering an online community where fantastic information can be harvest is not only realistic, it’s something that is attainable.

A Labor of Love

Gamers often cannot pinpoint why exactly they enjoy doing what they do. It might seem to the uninformed that the hours spent straining one’s eyes at a screen, looking for the slightest bit of movement might be a bit uncomfortable, as would the negative reactions to losing. But for many gamers, the sense of community that is created, in conjunction with the fulfillment they feel once they do well, is enough to keep coming back again and again, and is what encourages them to spread the word about your game and offerings

Managing an online community, in the case of gamers, is really no different than managing any other community. Knowing what motivates them will often allow for a flow of information that isn’t often seen by market researchers, and that is because there really is no online community quite like video gamers. Want to learn more about how to run a successful online community? Sometimes it's more about engaging through live, real-time conversations to get actionable feedback. Sign up below to see how we help you accomplish that easily and efficiently

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