Most gamers will admit it — we’re a pretty sensitive crowd. Sensitive as in highly responsive to changes; not emotional rollercoasters. From new patches, to video game releases, to console overhauls, gaming audiences are lightning rods of sensitivity and pick up on the minutest of changes in software or game play.
Frequently, game developers and publishers use this hyper awareness to their advantage by releasing upgrades and add-ons to their games to elevate user experience, as well as their bottom line. However, this sensitivity can be a double-edged sword if not respected properly, especially when it comes to managing online communities. MMOs in particular rely on thriving and well-managed communities to succeed, but too often the in-house community management and customer support services are overwhelmed by the high demand of the communities, and the game can suffer because of it.
Here’s an in-depth look at why outsourcing your international video game community management project can be the most cost (and time) effective solution.
Even the best games on the market are constantly looking to improve and find that ‘something special’ to meet the ever-present demand from gamers for a better, more immersive gaming experience. It’s logical to think then that an in-house team of community managers would be best equipped to brainstorm and develop new ideas on how to improve their game’s community.
However, sometimes working in such depth within the brand can make a community management and customer support team blind to what is and isn’t working for the game. Outsourcing your community management and customer support invites fresh and neutral perspectives to the table, and allows them to look at your company’s game with the eyes of both a producer and a consumer. This can stimulate new discussions within your own internal team and spark ideas on how to make your game stand out in a constantly evolving industry.
Everyone can agree that the U.S. and the U.K. are established markets for gaming. In the first quarter of this year, the NPD Group (the company responsible for tracking the video game industry) reported that 3.5 billion USD had been spent on video game content, with 1.59 billion USD of that number being digital content including full games, add-ons, subscriptions, and mobile and social games. This number is expected to keep growing as more and more gamers turn to their mobile devices for their gaming needs.
Many online and mobile games are Free-2-Play (F2P), but use micro transactions in-game to make revenue. Game developers sometimes make the assumption that forcing a player to spend by limiting what they can do in-game without transactions, will therefore increase spending. However, a good community management and customer support team would be able to advise you that this is not always a good idea. If a player feels that they are being forced to spend money, they are more likely to either not spend money or quit the game entirely. Online games and console games are like running: where console games are a sprint of income within the first few weeks of release, online games are more of a marathon — as your users build up trust and loyalty, their spending frequency and amount increases over time. With the right level of support and service from a quality community management and customer support team, an online game developer can monetize effectively even in the increasing competitive English speaking markets.
However, English speaking markets aren’t the only ones ripe for monetization. Online games and, especially, the F2P model are currently demonstrating their potential for success on the European market. But how do you monetize an area with such a diverse range of languages and cultures? One of the main keys lies within international customer support and community management. Giving your players the support that they need in their native language is essential to ensuring their continued loyalty to your brand. It maintains and cultivates the communal aspect of playing these games and really makes the players feel part of a community; something that they are willing to invest in.
Finally, and most importantly, is quality. A common practice with many online communities, ranging from celebrity fan pages to gaming forums, is to rely on volunteers from within the community to help moderate their brand’s channels. This is a good practice and a great way to build loyalty with your community, but only if you have the resources to properly monitor, train, and motivate these volunteers.
Utilizing an experienced international community management and customer support team will allow you to ensure that your brand is being represented the way that you want it, and provide your game with professional tracking and ticketing systems that analyze your community’s growth and activity. This ensures that your community receives the best support, consistent with your company’s message and values across the globe.
Specializing in multilingual community management and customer support solutions, MO Group International has a committed team of in-house professionals with a wealth of industry experience. Our community managers are all native speakers of the languages that they operate in, and we will match your project to a team with relevant experience and interests. Contact us today to find out how we can help you to expand your online network and give your customers the support that they need.