Player experience in the world of video games is no longer just about the game itself. It refers to the overall experience that a player has while engaging with a game. It encompasses various aspects beyond just the core gameplay mechanics, including emotional engagement and social interactions.  

Player support and community moderation play an increasingly important role, yet many gaming companies are hesitant to invest in those elements, leading to a Player Experience Gap.  

Customer service helps to retain customers and increase revenue. With games, the impact is even more substantial due to the emotional engagement. When players encounter issues and there’s a lack of timely and helpful support, it leads to frustration and disengagement.  

Without proper community moderation, toxic behavior and harassment may thrive, creating a hostile and unwelcoming environment. Toxicity drives away players, as they don’t feel safe or simply don’t want to be involved with such a community. 

While more and more gaming companies are starting to realize that they need to do better in these areas, getting there takes time and requires a thorough approach – which, if executed properly, will yield excellent returns. In this article, we’ll outline how to turn the tide: first by building the right foundation, and consequently how outsourcing can help you scale up without facing the upfront investments.  


How To Get Started? 

For many gaming companies, and not just the smaller ones, managing player support and community moderation is a daunting task. Usually it’s not a high priority prior to a game launch. Often it only gets the attention it deserves only when it becomes an issue. At that point in time, it will take considerably more time, resources and money to recover. Player retention and spending will most likely take a big hit. 

Building a solid foundation for player support and community moderation involves establishing the necessary principles and processes. Here are the key steps to build a strong foundation: 

Define Your Vision: Start by defining your vision when it comes to player engagement. Clearly articulate what kind of experience you want to provide and the principles that will guide the interactions with your players.  

Develop a Strategy: Create a comprehensive strategy that outlines the goals and objectives you want to achieve. Consider factors like the channels you’ll use (like e-mail/tickets, chat, social media, forums), response times, KPIs, and player feedback mechanisms. 

Implement Policies: Design policies that are fair, transparent, and easy to understand. These policies should address topics like a code of conduct and sanctions, as well as how to handle inquiries related to refunds, account issues and technical issues. Make sure to have a clear escalation path to prevent dead ends. 

Privacy Policy: Detail how player data will be collected, used, and protected in accordance with data protection laws. This policy should address concerns related to data security and player privacy. 

Leverage Tooling: Invest in software to streamline ticket management, track player interactions, and measure performance metrics. These tools can help optimize your team’s efficiency and enhance the overall player experience. 

Set Up Self Service: to provide self-help resources for your players. A good way to get started is to create a knowledge base and an FAQ section. Further down the road, consider more advanced automation options, utilizing technology like GenAI. This can help reduce the number of inquiries and empower players to find solutions on their own. 


In-House or Outsourcing? 

Once you have the foundation in place, it’s time to cover your resourcing plan. Considering the dynamic nature of video games, it’s crucially important that you have a flexible, scalable structure.  

Resourcing in-house is an option, but for most gaming companies not the most viable one. Here are five reasons why: 

Higher Costs: Building and maintaining an in-house team can be expensive. It requires a significant investment in recruitment, training, salaries, benefits and technology.  

Limited Scalability: In-house teams may struggle to handle sudden volume spikes, especially during peak times or after significant game updates. Outsourcing provides access to resources that can quickly scale to meet fluctuating staffing needs. 

Specialized Expertise: Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs) have ample experience providing similar services to other companies. They have an existing foundation in terms of people, technology, and recruitment which you can leverage. 

Time and Resource Constraints: Managing an in-house team can divert significant time and resources from core business functions, such as game development and marketing. Outsourcing allows you to focus on your primary expertise while leaving support & moderation to dedicated specialists. 

Global Reach: If your game has a global player base, resourcing an in-house team around the clock, covering multiple languages can be challenging and costly. BPOs often have staff across different regions, ensuring efficient communication with players worldwide. 


Tips for Successful Outsourcing  

If you decide that outsourcing is right for you, the next challenge is to find the right partner(s). This requires careful evaluation and consideration of several factors. Here are a few tips to help you find a BPO that ticks all the boxes: 

Relevant Experience: Look for BPOs that have demonstrable experience in the gaming industry, ideally with similar games to yours. Ask for relevant client references and speak with their clients to gain insights into their experiences and satisfaction with the services provided. 

Culture: Cultural compatibility ensures smoother communication and a stronger collaborative relationship between your team and the BPO. When the BPO’s culture complements yours, they are more likely to grasp the nuances of your game, understand and empathize with player concerns, and handle sensitive issues effectively. 

Service Scope: Combining different services at a single partner creates synergies and may also improve flexibility. The fact that you don’t have to manage different BPOs saves considerable time and effort. You may also move resources from one service to another, allowing you to leverage their existing experience with your game.  

Reporting & Feedback: Ask for example reports and discuss the frequency and contents of reports and feedback meetings. Check if they provide online reporting and if it can be customized to your preferences. Make sure that the basics are covered (volume and KPIs), but also subjective feedback and ad-hoc reporting of anomalies.   

Technology: Investigate the technology the BPO uses. It’s important that they have experience with your preferred tools. In addition, determine if they offer complementary tools that can benefit you in the future. Can they help you become more efficient if you grow your player base? 

Pricing & Flexibility: Get detailed information about the BPO’s pricing structure and minimum charges. Agree on clear terms when it comes to upscaling and downscaling so you can optimize flexibility.  

Pilot: Consider starting with a trial period or a pilot project to assess the partnership before committing to a long-term contract. This allows you to test their capabilities. 

Data Privacy: Assess the BPO’s data security measures and protocols to protect player data and sensitive information. Make sure that they comply with relevant data protection regulations. 

Having a successful, long-term cooperation with your outsourcing partner can be a real competitive advantage and allows you to optimize player engagement.  

Remember that what you put in is what you get out. As with any long-term relationship, both parties are responsible for its success. By setting clear expectations and having open and transparent communication you can set your partner up for success.  

The best results are often achieved if you consider the outsourced team as if it was your own team. Empower them to make a difference. After all, happy employees make happy players.