What Affects Gaming Communities on the Internet?
In last some years, we’ve witnessed the video game industry embracing the internet rapidly along with everything it can offer for gaming. Nearly every game launched nowadays incorporates some sort of player connectivity, ranging from multiplayer on the internet to the capability of updating Twitter in-game. Consequently active communities of players are emerging around their favorite games. E.g. Epic Gaming Network PC gaming community is a new up and coming community where the gamers themselves submit the websites content and stuff. Sometimes gaming communities are friendly, meaning players just come together for the enjoyment of a video game. However, some other times… well, they aren’t exactly friendly. It is interesting to take a look at how the design and delivery system of a game can influence a certain kind of community.
Game’s Design Deciding Player Behavior
The rule that a person’s behavior is influenced by her/his surroundings can never be more applicable than to gaming communities. The positive or negative design of your game can bring about the respective behavior of the gamer. E.g. StarCraft 2 and League of Legends are two games with a number of similarities which can make you think that they have got similar communities built around them; however the fact is totally opposite. If you go online and play a quick match in each of these games, you will see a shocking difference.
In StarCraft matches you possibly won’t see much of communication. Your opponent may throw a nice “glhf” (good luck have fun) to you in chat at the start of your game and will certainly end the proceedings with the habitual “gg” (good game) when the match is over. And during this vast span of time, there won’t be any other communication – you are there to play, not to chat! And when you chat, the conversation will be most possibly brisk and polite.
On the other hand, at League of Legends match you will have totally different experience, that too not good. Even before the match starts, during selection of characters there is 50% chance that somebody will complain about the arrangement of championship chosen. This is quite irritating, although it is mostly a viable complaint – but the real fun takes place after the game starts.
If your play is seen to be anywhere less than perfect, you will usually be directly insulted by your teammates and almost definitely taunted by the rival team. You will be blamed for having serious developmental problems and your sexuality will be definitely doubted.
An important difference is a StarCraft is 1V1 game, while League of Legends is a game based on teams. You can play a 30-minute game which you know you cannot win, but it becomes worse when due to only one person’s fault in your team, things are ruined for everyone. Even though no one in your team is seriously bad, human nature finds it easier to blame others than oneself and it is inevitable that a team scapegoat will be picked for that.
Game’s Delivery System Affecting its Audience
It’s not that a game’s design is the only thing that affects the behavior of its community. One more thing, i.e. its delivery system too is important in deciding a particular kind of community.
The delivery system of a game refers to the method used to launch the game to the public, whether it was launched as a box product, or on Steam, or a digital download on consoles, whether it was free, was launched as a beta and then eventually updated to a full launch.
There are a number of types of delivery systems for games these days and it’s a fact that the system chosen can strongly affect the way in which your community develops. Take the example of Minecraft, a game having a rolled-out release which helped evolve one of the most positive and active communities online today.
Minecraft was made accessible to the public in May 2009, although in a quite different fashion than most games. Its initial launch version was advertized as being unfinished and was labeled as an alpha release. Players could buy the game in that form for a discounted price and would receive each update for free, till the official launch. As the game became closer to completion, the set of features grew larger, the price increased and the popularity of the game exploded. Finally it was officially launched in November 2011. It was an extremely brilliant way of launching, partly because it made heaps of money but mainly because it fostered the formation of a passionate community.
Gaming communities are ever-changing and there are no definite rules regarding how people will play nice. However, studying what others did before you, where they failed and succeeded, is a correct way to get an insight to do it for yourself. Remember that your design and delivery system affect certain gamer behavior, and you have to make sure to communicate with the community accordingly. Understand what worked for others and following their footsteps may help you create a great online gaming community.