Chartboost University: Players, Not Users

Chartboost University

Insights & Best Practices

November 1, 2013


min read

Our CBU online lecture series continues today with a special talk by Joe Wagner, Community Lead of Supercell (you know, the folks behind that little Clash of Clans game). Joe schools us on the benefits of creating an engaging player community and shares best practices on how to get it done.

What is Community? Joe tells us that at its core, a community is two or more people with a shared interest, with a medium to connect. As game developers, you can set up the means by which people learn about and discuss your games, and spur interest in your title. Many companies nowadays think a Facebook page is enough to start a community, but Joe observes the "if you build it and they will come" mentality is outdated.

What do mobile game communities look like? Mobile is still an emerging market, and so the way that fans choose to connect may be different compared to traditional console communities. There are fansites, social media, mobile messaging apps, real world events, and features you can include in your own game to build communities.

Joe also emphasizes that if you see players gravitate naturally towards a particular forum, help mature discussion on that platform instead of forcing interaction on another. 50,000 players were actively posting their Hay Day experiences on Instagram before Supercell even started an official account.

What can you realistically offer your players??FAQs, walkthroughs, strategy guides, and ongoing, reliable support can help heighten engagement and educate your players. You can also entertain your players with developer diaries, YouTube programming, and player-generated content. Inform your players about downtime, updates, and new features. Finally, engage your community with contests, competitions, giveaways, Q&As, or forums where you recognize great players.

Can you talk to your players??If you plan on having a live product with constant updates, Joe says it's critical your players are able to connect with you. If you plan on having a standalone product, people will still want to play and check out your next game, so make sure you have something in your title that allows people to ask questions and interact.

What do you want from your players? Players?can provide feedback, identify areas of improvement, generate awareness and word of mouth advertising, and generate brand loyalty.

They're Players, Not Users. As you continue to scale your game, Joe says to remember that it's real people who are playing your title and choosing to spend their time there. Don't lose sight of the metrics or the business component to make your game successful, but also remember that fun, great games are key to keep your players hooked for the long haul.

Thanks so much to Joe and Supercell for schooling our Chartboost U devs. For more tips on how to build and market great games, check out TinyCo's talk on Sustainable Systems and GamesBeat's presentation on Pitching the Press. Stay tuned for more lectures!