The internet may seem like one BuzzFeed article after the other, but it is far more expansive than just listicles and social media. People from across the globe have dug out spaces for themselves on the internet and gamers are no exception. Even though the media portrayal of gamers may seem like a group of socially anxious teenagers with a can of energy drink in one hand and a controller in the other, that’s far from the truth. If the popularity of the new PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo consoles tells us anything, it’s games are just as popular as ever. And not just on consoles. The gamers' favorite ‘PC vs Console’ war still rages, and mobile gamers have also entered the world of E-Sports. The sheer number of people playing games online and offline has turned them into a massive community.
A global phenomenon at scales as large as this could have never come about if it wasn’t for people with similar interests getting together and deciding to make an entire community out of it. A subreddit "r/gaming” has 28.9 million members. Remember the PC vs Console war I was talking about? Another subreddit “r/pcmasterrace” has 4.6 million members. On top of that most, if not all games, have a separate community dedicated to its players. For example, a popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), The Elder Scrolls Online, has its own subreddit that has its active players talk to each other, recruit for in-game guilds, make friends, and a lot more.
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Online gamer communities are full of people discussing games and everything beyond that too. People are constantly asking for tips and tricks on beating a tough boss, report in-game glitches, talk about sales of merchandise, updates, server-availabilities, etc.
Conversing about the game is a big part of what these communities do, but they also discuss building communities in the game. Take for example the concept of a ‘guild’. Several games have the option to build a guild or a team of people who somewhat belong to a common ‘clan’. This way they can coordinate certain bigger tasks like taking down a larger boss. This has led to very creative user-created competitions too. For example, getting a tournament to get the most points in a mini-game, and all of it coordinated through the communities.
Given how much these communities rely on communication within the community, it’s no surprise that people are constantly scanning through the pantheons of online communication channels. Be it Reddit, Discord, Slack, or Facebook, each community is trying to find the best community building platform for gamers. In this article, we’re going to take a look at three elements for how to build a gaming community successfully.
1. Text chat
Any game that’s online and has a multiplayer option available, has this feature usually in-built in the game. Mobile games and PC games are sure to have a chat feature, enabling their players to talk to each other and ask for advice. If the game is similar to DOTA 2 or Smite, which comes under the category of MOBA games, it will have a lobby where team members can talk to each other to decide what kind of roles everyone is going to take. If the game is more of an RPG, it will permit for game events like trading and friend-chat. All of these features rely on the feasibility of people to chat with each other. Even an old classic like Club Penguin had the chat feature.
Going outside the game, communities being formed look for the text chat feature first. If you can’t talk to other people, then forming a community becomes pointless. If you’re looking to build a platform that specializes in gamer communities, we recommend CometChat. It allows you to create a fully customizable chat platform with a fully secure end-to-end encrypted chat.
2. Forums and rooms
Reddit claims itself to be the ‘front page of the internet’ and this claim true in a sense. After all, there is a community for everything on Reddit. In its truest form, this unique social platform is a collection of millions of forums with the advantage of creating conversations. Think of each forum or ‘subreddit’ as a Facebook ‘wall’ where people can come post topics to discuss, share artwork, ask questions, and virtually interact with all members of the forum.
There are other websites that also offer a forum-like format. Take 4chan for example, this website hosts ‘boards’ dedicated to topics. While visually very different from our previously mentioned Reddit, this website also uses the same forum phenomenon. People can come, create threads, and talk to several other people by replying to the thread. It’s like a large group chat that is open for everyone to see.
While some forums are dedicated to gamer communities, there are many different communities that also form through these means. Several tech businesses offer a ‘help and support’ forum where users of their product can come to ask questions, report bugs, or even give suggestions to the company. HP and Logitech are great examples of a forum-based support program. Because of the anonymity and the ease of use, forums make a perfect resource for gamers to form communities online.
Photo by Erik Mclean
3. Video and live subscribers
While gamers love to play the game, they also love to watch others play it. YouTube has plenty of gamers who record videos of themselves playing the game. From ‘first look’ videos to videos that show gamers how to exploit a bug in the game, YouTube has it all. People tend to subscribe to channels they like and follow the gamer YouTubers religiously for the next ‘tips and tricks’ video. PewDiePie, the world’s most subscribed solo YouTuber is largely known for his ‘Let’s Play’ series on YouTube. He is synonymous with gaming YouTube and has over 107 Million subscribers.
Twitch is another platform where gamers unite to see their favorite gamers play. Twitch Live is a very common pastime for people who like to watch gameplay videos. Gen Z's favorite game ‘Fortnite’ has hundreds of players streaming every day accumulating tens of thousands of views. Sometimes game companies and Twitch streamers partner up to do special giveaways, run events and create a rewarding community for their fans. These video platforms work wonders when bringing together gamers and forming communities.
Be it the in-game text chat, forum-based communities, or live streaming players – most gamers join a mixture of these communities and showcase their talents. This has allowed for some very interesting communication channels to be built. But, one thing is for sure – all these communities rely on good communication as well as a safe environment for gamers to get together.
Good chat features are crucial to build a gamer community and takes immense amounts of time and work to deploy. If you are looking to build a gamer community on your website or app, try using CometChat. CometChat uses end-to-end encryption and is fully customizable to suit your needs. Now that you know what a gamer community is, and what gamers are looking for, go forth and get started on your community-building journey!
About the Author
Pronoy Roy is a technology enthusiast and especially passionate about the future of technology. He enjoys writing about modern technical applications that help solve real-world problems.