When attending Gamescom 2023, the world’s biggest games event in Cologne, Germany, Concentrix + Webhelp organized a Player Experience Executive Breakfast.  

With a keynote from Tony Adams (Supercell) and attendees from a wide variety of game studios and publishers, including Epic Games, Netease, CCP Games, Pearl Abyss and Samsung Gaming, we had the opportunity to discuss some of the latest trends on the areas of Player Support & Community. 

We touched base on a wide variety of topics, but three main trends stood out. In this article we will share our findings and further tips on how to optimize Player Experience to support the success of your game.  

PX Trend #1 Players Need A More Personalized Experience   

The emotional aspect of gaming is often overlooked when it comes to player support & community engagement. The emotional connection gamers have to the game they play, as well as the connection to their fellow players, is often incredibly strong and is unlike any other customer/product connection.  

To address the emotional needs of your players, it is important to make sure that: 

  1. Your team thoroughly understands your game and the dynamics around it. 
  1. Your processes and procedures enable your teams to solve issues quickly so your players can continue playing and feel good about the interaction with your team. 

In short, it comes down to people & processes. While not all gamers will do a good job when working in support and/or community engagement, the trick is in finding the right combination of passion for games and job-specific skills.  

When equipped with the right skills, the added value of gamers in your player support & community teams tremendous: 

Game Knowledge: Gamers who are also support agents have a deep understanding of the games they are supporting. They know the mechanics, strategies, and common issues intimately, which allows them to provide more accurate and effective assistance. 

Empathy: Gamers understand the emotions and frustrations that players can experience. They can empathize with players’ challenges and provide support with a sense of relatability, creating a more empathetic and understanding support experience. 

Engagement: Gamers are familiar with the gaming community culture and dynamics. They can engage with players on forums, social media, and in-game chats in a way that resonates with the player base, fostering a stronger sense of community. 

Gaming Lingo: Gamers are well-versed in gaming jargon and terminology, which can be complex and unique to the gaming world. This linguistic familiarity helps ensure clear and effective communication with players. 

Preventing Cheating: Gamers are often more adept at identifying cheating within the game, which is essential for maintaining a fair and enjoyable gaming environment. 

Incorporating gamers into player support & community teams brings a unique blend of expertise, empathy, and relatability that can significantly enhance the players’ experience. It helps bridge the gap between players and support agents, leading to more meaningful interactions and better engagement. 

PX Trend #2AI Isn’t The Holy Grail 

With the rise of GenAI, there is a lot of buzz around whether or not it will replace a lot of the work that is currently done by humans 

In one of our previous articles, we already mentioned how AI can be applied to improve interactions with a global player base – such as NLP in machine translations, helping support associates to be more efficient, or detecting inappropriate content in communities. 

However, during our PX event it became obvious that AI still has a long way to go in areas like player support & community engagement. While it may work well in other industries, where the customer/product relationship is more transactional, most gaming companies have found that AI does not work that well with gaming-specific inquiries.   

Here are a few reasons why: 

Player Emotions: AI systems can have difficulty understanding and empathizing with the emotions of frustrated or upset players, which can result in poor player experiences. 

Lack of Context: AI may struggle to understand the context of a player’s problem. Human support agents often rely on contextual cues and follow-up questions to get a complete picture of the issue, which AI may not be as adept at. 

Constant Changes: Games frequently receive updates, patches, and new content, which can change the player experience and introduce new issues. Keeping AI systems up-to-date and adaptable to these changes can be challenging. 

Gaming Lingo: Gamers often have their own language, which can be difficult for AI systems to grasp. Understanding and responding effectively to gaming-specific terms and slang may require human intervention. 

Multiplayer Interactions: Many games involve complex multiplayer interactions and social dynamics. Handling disputes and issues that arise within these interactions can be challenging for AI systems. 

Cultural Sensitivity: Gaming communities are diverse and global. AI systems may not always be culturally sensitive or aware of cultural differences, which can lead to misunderstandings. 

Having said this, AI is improving rapidly. While it may not be a viable solution for most gaming companies at this very moment, eventually many of them will start using a combination of AI and humans to leverage the strengths of both.  

PX Trend #3 – A Global Player Base Needs Global Talent Sourcing 

Launching a game globally is more achievable than ever. The globalization of gaming not only enriches the player experience, but also showcases the power of games to unite people from different corners of the world. 

In order to support and engage with their global player base, it has become crucially important for game studios and publishers to be able to source talent globally, for various reasons: 

Follow-the-Sun Approach: By strategically distributing teams across time zones, gaming companies can implement a “follow-the-sun” approach, ensuring that teams are available around the clock. 

Specialized Skills: Support & Community work is often not considered high-end in Western countries, but in other regions it has a much better reputation. Sourcing talent globally allows studios to tap into specialized skills that may be scarce locally. 

Cost Efficiency: Sourcing talent from nearshore or offshore locations can be very cost-effective for game studios, allowing them to reduce operational costs without compromising quality. 

Cultural Sensitivity: Teams familiar with local customs and cultural norms can provide more culturally sensitive support and engagement, reducing the risk of misunderstandings or insensitivity. 

Global talent sourcing allows gaming companies to be more flexible, scalable and most of all – deliver a better experience to their global player base while improving operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

How to Optimize PX in 2024? 

Taking into consideration the trends we just outlined, how can gaming companies optimize their player support & community engagement in 2024?  

Here are three tips: 

Listen To Your Players: first and foremost, irrespective of trends, you need to focus on what YOUR players need. Be active in your communities, engage with them and make sure to take their feedback into account. 

Work With Experts: don’t take player support & community engagement lightly. These elements are crucial to the overall player experience and optimizing them will not only save costs but actually help you to improve player retention and spending. Hire experts – either internally or by working with an outsourcing partner. This will prevent you from making expensive mistakes.  

Be Conscious About Automation and Self-Service: avoid trying to bring down volume without thoroughly understanding common issues first. Analyze your inquiries, make sure to engage with your community and understand root causes first. Apply tech carefully and always offer the option to switch to human support – your player base will be very grateful.