12 insights player experience managers need for success
Working in a gaming company might seem like a cushy job at first glance. You get paid to talk about your favorite thing in the whole world, you’re the first to know about new releases and upcoming version drops, plus you spend your working day hanging out with cool people who share your enthusiasm.
But it’s got its challenges too. When you’re a player experience manager, you have to have a finger in every single pie, all the time. It’s your responsibility to keep players engaged, defuse resentment, anger, or dissatisfaction around someone’s less-than-perfect gaming experience, and stay on top of multiple streams of conversation, all at the same time.
In today's online world, players are busy swapping tips, sharing codes, and coming up with awesome new tweaks on Twitter, Twitch, Facebook, Vanilla, Discord internal forums, and more. If you’re only using a social media listening tool and keeping half an eye on Discord, you’re inevitably going to miss valuable nuggets of information that could make your games even better.
You need to do the online equivalent of seeing around corners to know what your players are thinking about, talking about, and complaining about all the time and everywhere. Here are 12 things that player experience managers wish they knew about players in their gaming communities.
1. What do players find frustrating about the game?
Not every game launches and immediately becomes a top seller. Conversations across the open web can tell you what’s holding your game back from rising to the top, whether it’s a buggy interface, confusing directions, or a massive plot hole that nobody can swallow.
2. Is the design all that it could be?
Modding kits are great, and we all love it when players bring their own ideas to the game, but sometimes you wish that you’d got there first. By paying attention to buzz about design, you can find out where the colors need changing, when the background could be more exciting, and what’s missing from the audio track to add depth and appeal to the game experience.
3. Have you misjudged player sentiment?
The in-jokes and stylized graphics are part of the joy of gaming, but sometimes even the best developers can make a misstep. Perhaps your characters don’t display enough diversity, or you’ve made your landscape so detailed that there’s nothing to improve. Gamer communities will set you straight pretty quick.
4. What’s stopping players from getting into your game?
Many games have some kind of bar to entry that players need to overcome before they start loving it. Sometimes it’s a different way of acquiring weapons, or learning to look out for different cues. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you do need to know what players tell each other to prepare them for overcoming onboarding hurdles and understanding your game’s unique nature.
5. What is the biggest strength of your latest game?
Find out what players love (and hate) the most about your games. It might not be what you think.
6. What are the latest trends?
Trends for strategy, style, design, audio, characterization, and more can come and go in the blink of an eye. Make sure you’re always up to date with the latest preferences and fads.
Discover what your players are looking forward to from your
7. What’s the next big thing?
If you stand still in the gaming world, you’re going backwards. Discover what your players are looking forward to from your next game, or which game is the natural progression for beginners who are ready to graduate from, say, Minecraft.
8. Where is the tech going?
The incredibly fast development of new tech like AR, VR, AI, NLP, IoT, and more promises great things for the gaming world, but what will those great things be? Learn what tech advances your players hope to see in the next wave of RPGs.
9. How does your game compare to the competition?
Star ratings and online reviews are all very well, but they can’t give you a real understanding of how you measure up to your competition. Find out what drives players to choose a different game over yours so you can make the right improvements and double down on what works.
No game gets 100% positive feedback, but sometimes a
single complaint or criticism can turn into an avalanche of
bad reviews that you can never fully clear away.
10. What is the killer criticism that can destroy your game’s reputation?
No game gets 100% positive feedback, but sometimes a single complaint or criticism can turn into an avalanche of bad reviews that you can never fully clear away. Tracking trends and patterns across social media, internal forums, gaming threads, and more helps you spot and respond to these trigger topics asap, before they gather fatal momentum.
11. Who are the true influencers?
The noisiest player doesn’t always have the most influence. Deep omnichannel analysis means you can find out which players really make a difference to opinion in your gaming communities, and which ones just make a lot of fuss.
12. Which are the most active networks?
Your gaming community stretches beyond Twitter and Facebook, but every sub-community has its own preferred language, platform, and method of communicating. Find out where your most engaged players hang out and what topics they can talk about for hours.
Successful Player Experience Manager means staying on top of multiple streams.
All of this information and more, is out there, nestled comfortably in gaming community chat all over the web. Tracking player sentiment requires player experience managers to gather information from social media like Facebook and Twitter, from gaming networks like sub-Reddits, Discord, and Twitch, from internal forums, helpdesk inquiries, Vanilla forums, emails, and more, and then analyzing it to extract meaningful insights and emerging trends. Only advanced customer insights tools like Affogata can cross every channel to reveal true player sentiment.
Would you like to see how we help game companies and player experience managers better understand their audience? Get in touch now!