Maybe you’ve just released a fantastic game that’s the product of years of hard work and no small amount of monetary investment. Or, perhaps, you’re trying to raise the funds to turn your vision into a reality but no one seems to be taking notice of your effort.
If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to start thinking about the power of communities in the world of video games.
These days, without a community, you basically don’t have a video game. You can’t afford to ignore the power of social media and direct interaction with your players or crowdfunding backers. That’s why you must build your community as soon as you’re ready to announce your game to the public.
With that in mind, let’s explore some of the characteristics that will help make your game a community sensation:
#1. Regular Developer Involvement
More than ever, gamers like to experience the privilege of having an inside look into the games they love. Online platforms like social networks and forums give players a voice, and that’s something that every developer must leverage for building and leading a strong community and earning valuable feedback.
Your community hub, such as an on-site forum, must be the first place people turn for the latest updates, as well as answers to their questions and concerns directly from the developers themselves.
A successful developer keeps their community alive by regularly publishing the latest patch updates, content showcases and more.
#2. Fair Community Moderators
Unfortunately, every community has its trolls and spammers, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them tarnish the outward perception of your game. That’s why you need to enlist a team of moderators who can set a good example and help ensure people are following your community rules.
Above all, however, moderators should themselves be sociable and genuinely helpful. In other words, they need to present an example of the sort of people you want to have in the community. Unsurprisingly, this excludes those who may operate as overzealous forum police and abusers of power.
#3. Powerful User Profiles
Giving your community members the ability to create customized profiles complete with their own avatars, comments and discussion threads helps empower people to get involved in the conversation.
Furthermore, giving your members the opportunity to provide additional information about themselves gives you access to useful information about your target audience.
Powerful user profiles also make it easier for others to search through the user’s posts and other content.
#4. Incentivized Rewards System
Many gaming communities have the unfortunate reputation of attracting trolls and other undesirable types. But while banning the worst offenders is a must, the best way to maintain a healthy community environment is to reward the best posters through incentives.
Common methods include implementing a reputation or achievement system to highlight the most valuable members of your community. Badges and ratings can then be displayed by the poster’s name as a reward for their input.
#5. User-Generated Content
These days, gamers don’t just want to be part of a community – they want to be directly involved in the development of their favorite video games. That’s why user-generated content plays an important role in many successful games.
Consider, for example, the immense popularity of games like the Elder Scrolls series or Half-Life, both of which have spawned thousands of player-made mods, effectively giving them a new lease on life far beyond their originally anticipated lifespan.
You can and must use your game’s community to showcase user-generated content, such as the best screenshots, gameplay videos and mods as a reward to your players. It’ll pay off in loyalty.