The 70’s introduced the Atari console and Pong to homes everywhere! Since then the gaming industry has continued its explosive growth, and with the recent rise of mobile and streaming services, this industry has reached a mind-boggling scale. 2020 saw more than 2.7 billion gamers, with revenues hitting $165 billion for gaming companies. These trends show that the industry is ripe with opportunities with no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
With this much growth community managers are more important than ever. Their role has evolved significantly with the growth of the gaming industry, becoming more complex and demanding. More players equals more comments and reviews, which in turn means more work for community managers.
A gamer community is a group of players brought together through online forums and/or social sites around a single game. These communities provide a place for gamers to interact and share experiences around the games they play. Strong communities can be vast even though they typically start as small and easily manageable groups. The larger the community grows, the more difficult it becomes to manage. They generate more feedback and ideas that need to be addressed, and will eventually require a team of community managers who can act as a bridge between community members and game developers.
Community managers are tasked with nurturing and managing gamer communities. They help give a voice to brands, imparting a warm and friendly presence to listen and respond to gamers’ thoughts and concerns.
The role of community manager can be diverse, with responsibilities like:
- customer support
- social media management
- bug and quality of life tracking
- product development
Community managers who want to succeed should strive to meet the following criteria:
Understand the game: they should have a solid knowledge of the game itself in order to speak to players about the issues and successes they experience.
Good communication: this role includes managing social media, composing updates and a constant back and forth with players.
Understanding and using analytics: analytics becomes more crucial to the operation as the community grows larger. With more comments coming in from different sources it becomes nearly impossible to keep up with everything.
Providing leadership: providing guidance, assistance, handling community discussion, answering questions and helping new members are all opportunities for community managers to lead within their communities.
Mediator role: to gamers, community managers are the face of the company. Gamers instinctively look to community managers whenever they have concerns.
Extraordinary patience: dealing with a large community means encountering tons of situations, and not all of them pleasant. It is not uncommon to receive personal attacks and/or vulgar comments.
Just like any other role, community managers have their own challenges.
- Gamers who love the games they play are passionate about those games and can very demanding.
- Gaming companies typically serve a worldwide market. This can put a strain on support when services are needed around the clock.
- When new games are launched, the amount of people playing that game typically causes a great influx of comments. During this time the number of comments that mention new bugs and quality of life ideas will be nearly impossible to keep track of.
- Above all, these challenges put an unusual amount of pressure on community managers to track data, respond to gamers and share the right data with the rest of their team.
However, there is a new way to stay ahead of the curve and it revolves around how A.I. is changing the way data is viewed.
Application of AI in Gaming
Prevention is one word that is great to describe the job of a community manager. The best community managers are those that can respond to gamers and share information with their team quickly. However, as communities grow in size it is much harder to respond to players quickly, analyze trends and share valuable information with the rest of the team.
AI utilized in a sentiment tracking solution can flip these challenges on their head. Having a sentiment-based solution in place to track mentions of specific keywords reduces one of the most grueling aspects of the community management role.
AI-Enabled Data Management
Community managers can use AI powered sentiment analysis tools to quickly reveal massive amounts of data from player comments. Imagine if one of the major aspects of the community manager role could go from hours of work every day to just a few minutes of work. Simply put, this kind of solution is quickly becoming a necessity for any gaming studio experiencing growth.
Scaling Benefit of AI
AI can be useful in helping your organization scale even while retaining leanness. This means you can grow your community without any additional penalty to your operational costs.
AI does this by performing the tedious or dull work that usually falls in the community manager’s hands or team.
For example, A.I. can be used to target mentions of keywords, analyze then categorize those keywords, and ultimately provide community managers with the exact data they need. This allows for faster and more accurate decision making, which in turn can grow a community, save money and time, and increase work production.
Being a community manager can be tough. As gaming continues to grow in popularity that role becomes increasingly more difficult.
Community managers are essential for gaming studios that want to see growth, and with the right tools to enhance community management capabilities, even the best gaming studios will fall behind in the race to keep up with the market.
Community managers must bridge the gap between developers and gamers to make the game experience as seamless as possible. It means reaching out to gamers promptly when issues appear, building and nurturing a healthy community, and providing a team with the right budgeting direction. Using AI-based solutions is a game changer that can help companies keep gamers happy and less frustrated – turning them into loyal fans and advocates.