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  • Writer's pictureYael Sharon

Meet Sami Rahko: Winner of May's Player Insights Champion Award

The Affogata Player Insights Awards highlights individuals who prioritize data-driven approaches to enhance their games through the integration of player feedback, emphasizing the crucial role of the player's voice in game development and optimization.

That is why Affogata proudly announces Sami Rahko, Community Manager at Futureplay Games, as the winner of May Player Insights Champion Awards, in recognition of his exceptional work!

Sami Rahko, Community Manager at Futureplay
Sami Rahko, May Winner. (Samuel Järvinen)

🎉 Congratulations Sami! 🎉 We conducted a brief interview with him to provide you with a deeper understanding of his work and background. Here's what he shared with us.

We first asked him to describe his job, and to tell us about his day to day:

As the only Community Manager for Futureplay Games I take pride in building and maintaining safe and fun environments where players can deepen their engagement in our game, share information and make friends for life. As a bridge between the player communities and the dev team, I’m communicating the voice and vision of the dev team to the players and being the voice of the players to the dev team. I also handle a group of external volunteer Community Moderators, organize community events and giveaways, gather and share player feedback to the dev team which affects their future roadmap and so on. Anything to keep our players satisfied and our game and communities growing.

Then we asked Sami how long has he been working on the player-facing field and what does he like about it?

I’ve worked as a Community Manager for five years and prior to that I worked also as Player Support in the same company. The move towards the community side came from a direct need to have someone in the company designated for this role, when one of our new games at the time got massive organic growth and the community platforms just exploded in numbers. Because of our values and the low hierarchy structure our company is built on, we are able to be very agile with our roles depending on company needs.

I’ve been a gamer all my life and had been actively forming or organizing communities, groups, guilds or clans around different games or gaming platforms in the past. It was very natural for me to use what I had learned and apply them to my new role as a Community Manager. Excellent games can sprout big emotions; they can give you so much happiness, challenges to overcome and also frustrations that give you a splitting headache. I understand these all, and armed with my empathic nature I’m thriving in the field of player facing communication.

We also asked him if there are any other professionals he particularly admires or learns from and to share who they are:

I admire everyone at Futureplay Games. We have a group of world class employees working on so many things with such a level of professionalism that I’ve yet to find an equal. Hats off to you all, my beloved colleagues!

"To paint the full picture you need both the data and the player feedback and sentiment.The numbers might tell us 'what', but not always the 'why' or 'how does it feel'."

We asked Sami what is the importance of Player Feedback for his role:

Vital. In a data driven business there’s often a tendency to look at the numbers, but the data only tells a part of the story. To paint the full picture you need both the data and the player feedback and sentiment. The numbers might tell us “what”, but not always the “why” or “how does it feel”. It’s my job to get this message across and ensure that our plans for the game are dictated also by the needs presented by our players.

Why do you need a tool like Affogata?

Affogata allows us to go through the communities, social media platforms and reviews much more efficiently and with greater detail. It helps us keep our fingers on the pulse, but also take deep dives into specific topics with much less effort.

What was the situation before you started using our tool?

As the communities, social media platforms and the game kept growing, it became increasingly difficult to reliably measure the sentiment of the players and the urgency of the topics on the feedback collected from them. I would spend a lot of time gathering meaningful feedback for the dev team, but even then we weren’t absolutely sure how widely certain topics were discussed.

What was your goal or the problem you were looking to solve with a player analytics platform?

We wanted to get aligned and to be able to confidently compare the feedback we receive between Community, Social Media and Player Experience. There was also an increasing need to back up the feedback we shared with some numbers, or a scale of urgency if you will. Also with the ever increasing volume of feedback, it became obvious that we needed new ways of not only to get a better birds eye view, but also to dive deeper into specific recurring topics more effortlessly.

How did Affogata help your team reach the goal or solve the problem?

We now have a shared platform between Community, Social Media and Player Experience which we can customise to our specific needs. It’s easier for us to communicate and stay on the same page regarding player facing issues or successes. The level of detail in the player feedback we share has increased and with that also the demand for even more feedback has surfaced. I’ve had colleagues come to me asking about player reactions to specific topics nobody had ever asked before.

How did you measure success?

Anywhere from providing impactful feedback to the dev team, to diffusing difficult situations in the communities or making just one customer smile with something I've said. All in all, whenever something we’ve learned from the players has a positive effect on the game or the future roadmap of the dev team, we can pat ourselves on the back.

"It’s also nice to see that the player feedback is taken to heart and the effects of it can be seen in the game. These changes, even if mostly subtle, have a massive impact on our customers and their player experience."

What was the impact on you personally?

I can be more confident with the player feedback I share and offer to dig deeper into specific topics without having to spend a massive amount of time. It’s also nice to see that the player feedback is taken to heart and the effects of it can be seen in the game. These changes, even if mostly subtle, have a massive impact on our customers and their player experience.

As the winner of the May Player Insights Champion Award, Sami Rahko has been recognized for his outstanding work as the Community Manager at Futureplay Games. His dedication to creating safe and engaging environments for players, as well as his commitment to incorporating player feedback into game development, have set him apart as an industry leader.

In honor of his achievements, Affogata has planted 100 trees 🌳 in his name to offset his environmental impact and will present him with a certificate highlighting the positive influence he has had on the industry.

Sami, your unwavering commitment and dedication to your craft are deeply valued and admired. Your hard work continues to inspire others in the industry, propelling them to follow in your footsteps. Thank you for your role model leadership and the significant positive impact you have made in your field! 👏 👏

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