Love the Player, Love the Game: Bridging the gap between player and developer
For many people, it feels like the gaming world is currently going through something of a renaissance. We’ve got more developers than ever before constantly breaking new ground with revolutionary games and gaming technologies for gaming audiences larger than some continents.
It’s a special time and it points towards even more special things to come. It also means that it’s never been a more important time to think about the impact and the importance of the relationship between games developers and the gamers themselves.
Whether as a developer or as a gamer, maintaining that relationship, feeding it, and using it as a means to grow together is what turns great games into unforgettable ones; but bridging that gap between the two can sometimes be a difficult task – communication is a two-way street and miscommunication can be worse than no communication at all. At the heart of bridging that gap is community management. Good community management systems are all about allowing the passion that went into the designing and creating of a game to combine with the same passion that goes into playing it. It’s about creating a common ground and watching as the relationship flourishes. It is, of course, about representing both sides accurately and fairly, but it’s done best when all sides understand one thing – everyone involved wants the game to be the best it can be.
From the point of view of the developer, good community management not only ensures their message is being communicated clearly to players, but that players are engaging with it. It closes the gap between user and provider and allows for a community to establish itself and grow into a valuable asset for feedback and improvement suggestions. It also gives the developer a huge insight into the feelings of its community in real-time – knowing what a game’s community wants and how it feels is the first step in making the game even better.
For gamers, quality community management can enhance the entire gaming experience. When a player has a valuable interaction with a community manager or another community member, their passion for the game grows, along with their sense of belonging in its world. With an active and positive community constantly contributing to its lore, and with regular interactions from developers and their representatives, great things can be achieved on all sides.
The ultimate goal of community management is to, as it were, bridge the gap between gamers and game developers – to bring them closer together and establish useful and valuable lines of communication. Sometimes this can best be achieved by a third-party provider, a neutral body that can represent both the gamer and the developer in their individual interests while bringing them closer together. In such cases, of course, a powerful passion for gaming – and the games in question – is paramount, as is the drive to want the game to be the best it can be.
From our own experience as community managers, we’ve seen first-hand the importance of forming those bonds between developers and gamers, and the amazing things that can come out of them.