Building a gaming community from scratch is tough. Nobody knows you and nobody has ever heard of your game. It’s all well and good being a great communicator and building a solid community outreach team, but to do that you need the right set of tools on your side.
Here are six of the most important tools for building a gaming community that stands the test of time:
- Website and a branded forum
Let’s talk about it.
#1. Website and a branded forum
Every video game should have a dedicated website since that’s what will serve as the hub of all your online activity.
Your website will be the showcase for your game’s introduction, screenshots and videos. Since you have full control over your own website, you can use it to choose which features you want to focus on. It can also serve as a thriving community hub with its own forums featuring regular contributions from your players.
We have discussed in more detail as to why having your branded community on your website is important. They range from:
- Getting player feedback on your game (both private and open)
- Rewarding your top contributors and players
- Having control over your community versus other channels having control over your players.
Steam is by far the largest digital distribution platform for video games on PC. So if you’re planning to release your game for the desktop, you’ll definitely want to use Steam – even if you don’t release it exclusively for that platform.
With its many social elements such as forums, reviews and community workshops, Steam also serves as one of the world’s biggest gaming communities. What’s more, indie studios can use its early access platform to fund development.
Facebook might not have any specific focus and it will hassle you constantly to pay for ads. But guess what… that’s where more than two billion of the world’s population reside.
With that in mind, no development studio should ignore the world’s largest social network as a tool to keep an eye on player sentiment and share news and updates.
Reddit has a far smaller audience than Facebook, but it’s especially popular among gamers. Nonetheless, Reddit is a platform that frowns on self-promotion so you’ll want to avoid using it for outright advertising. Additionally, you generally cannot open your own forum (or subreddit) unless you’re already a popular contributor.
All the same, there’s a good chance that some of your players will be talking about your game on Reddit, so it’s wise to pay attention to the community.
Microblogging platform Twitter tends to be more popular among professionals and customer support teams. To that end, many developers tweet updates about upcoming patch releases and service outages.
Rather than being a community hub by itself, Twitter complements your gaming community by serving as a place for important announcements.
Discord is basically Skype for gaming communities; a freeware VoIP app with full support for video calls and screen-sharing.
Since the launch of the Game Bridge API, developers can now integrate the client with their games. Both developers and publishers can also launch their own official, verified servers to provide support, news updates and the opportunity to engage directly with players.
Video gaming is about more than just games – it’s a community-driven lifestyle. That’s why Vanilla Forums helps developers and publishers create engaged communities empowered by modern user experiences and a competitive spirit. After all, every game is better when it has an active community behind it.