The last seven years have seen monumental changes in terms of the way we share our interests and news with one another. Many of us have pairs of shoes older than Facebook, but instantly sharing content online has become as firmly fixed in our daily lives as that morning cup of coffee. Telling the world about your embarrassing faux-pas on the way to work isn’t banked for later, it’s out there before you’ve even stopped blushing.
This pedal-to-the-metal rush in sharing content has already added to the complexities of social media marketing, where companies try to preen and prune their online community, provide additional online services, and establish a social connection with their audience.
Only now is gaming truly entering this sphere; with ‘next gen’ consoles only being released every six or so years, Sony and Microsoft have had a lot of ground to catch up on this time. PlayStation and Xbox might have been tweeting and posting for years, but in November when the PS4 and Xbox One were released, gamers wanted to see their console’s hardware integrating with their digital social lives too. Sharing that jaw-dropping touchdown, or that game-ending sniper shot with friends and fellow gamers is as important as tagging your holiday snaps – it shares the moments that matter to you.
The PlayStation 4’s ‘Share’ button allows gamers to do just that with four button pushes. Although slightly more complicated, the One also supports content sharing, but with voice commands. Players can instantly upload content to Twitch, uStream, and soon YouTube, and from here these posts can be linked to Facebook and Twitter accounts.
So what does this mean for international video game community management?
Stronger, Better, FASTER. Whilst integrating consoles with gamers’ lives outside the living room is an appreciated move, this acceleration in content sharing has opened Pandora’s (X)box to some degree. Game developers must be extra vigilant with shared content, ensuring that any uploaded game footage is appropriate for the audience, bearing in mind that watching a gamer’s five minute clip takes longer than reading a 20 word post!
Content Creation. The biggest challenge in international community management is constantly coming up with new and engaging content for each of the localized communities. The trend of sharing means that the communities themselves are generating the content, which takes the pressure off of community managers in this respect. Does this mean the death of the community manager? Not at all – it means that community managers will have much more content to monitor….
Teething Issues. Community managers will have to guide new users through the processes of video game sharing. Teething problems are common in console games, and frustrations can run high. A good community manager can help gamers get the best out of the share function so that, like sharing your faux-pas on Facebook, it becomes the natural response to upload your latest zombie killing-spree or alien annihilation to the Twitch page.
Harness the Buzz. Community managers have to be able to use the game’s online buzz as free marketing. Positive content must be encouraged and fed back into the marketing initiative as raw material. Console gamers want to feel just as tuned in as MMO players, so encouraging engagement and creativity is vital. International community management teams will have to find and direct a niche use for this platform, distinguishing the video sharing function from more text-based forums.
Show Me. Equally, addressing confusion and complaints must be handled with care, and not ignored or brushed off. Game glitches will be more visible now, as gamers can merely upload demonstrative footage to Twitch and uStream. This is an opportunity for community managers to clearly see and not just read gamers’ problems. With a strong team, the relationship between CM and gamer can be accelerated, so the pace is level with the game itself.
Already we are beginning to see the massive potential for video game sharing. Twitch’s recent social experiment, Twitch Plays Pokémon, saw 1.16 million global users tune in to play a cooperative version of Pokémon through a shared emulator, where they entered commands into a chat window in order to control the character. The game was completed in 16 days.
So what does this mean? It means bigger communities, and much, much more content. In order to monitor such vast amounts of global content, multilingual community management teams are required. With global communities centralized around services such as Twitch and uStream, we are seeing the need for 24/7 moderation and support, with teams spread globally. On a much more base level, it simply means more channels to monitor. Each local community management team needs to be even more aware of all of the platforms available to their community.
Now more than ever the need for dedicated community managers is critical. At MO Group International, our team is ready to help. As gamers ourselves, we understand the needs of your community and can communicate with them on a level that engages and promotes interest. With over 40 different languages available, contact us today for a free quote. We’re ready to take on the challenge posed by video game sharing!