Making a game community doesn’t happen overnight. You need to have the right amount of devotees talking about your product, as well as the right balance of marketing (so that it doesn’t go overboard) and plenty of support from the company producing the game, so fans have something to look forward to.
Blizzard Entertainment knows all about community, as it’s produced a number of games over the years with an avid fan base, including Diablo, StarCraft and, most recently, the mobile hit Hearthstone. During the DICE Summit this week, Blizzard executive producer Chris Sigaty explained that that eSports can actually got a long way into building up a gaming community, if the games don’t do it enough themselves.
“At Blizzard, we view eSports as a community builder,” said Sigaty, according to GamesIndustry International. “We arrived at that not through statistical analysis or some sort of deep dive into big business or anything like that. It was arrived at with the advent of StarCraft and the growth that the community built up around the game and our appreciation and love for being a part of that.”
The developer and publisher don’t necessarily decide what game is going to be the next big hit in the eSports realm – those decisions usually rely on the players. “At least at Blizzard, we believe the community absolutely determines that and we take a careful approach with our games as we go in, we may have an idea that we think it will be a very fun game to watch competitively and turn into an eSport but we make no assumptions about that,” said Sigaty.
“We have now three major games that we’re dealing with, four really, and they’re all dealt with in different ways, subtly different ways, but every time we’re kicking the game off we one, have to know we have a competitive game that is fun, we’re going to be in it for the long haul with keeping the balance there, continuing to support it and then watch and embrace what the community is doing.”
So an eSports-based title shouldn’t be claimed as such right away, until the community reaction is first gauged. “The community has educated us in what is the approach, what do they want, we go to the community a lot,” said Sigaty.
“ESL, our partners are building the knowledge, we go outside to get those expertise and certainly we have a lot of ground to gain within the industry. When you look at ESPN, you look at NFL, you look at some of the major sports that are out there we still have room to grow, but there is an expertise that’s started along time to go, it continues to level up all the time and we go to that community to help put on the shows, what are the right ways to tell the story,” he concluded.
So let that be a lesson to those who want to jump into eSports right away – it’s all about getting the community on board, and not necessarily claiming right away that you have a winner. Let the players decide.