273/366 – The Livestream Community Connection For GameDev
One good thing about the rise of the livestream as far as the tech is concerned is that it helps to forge connections. I’ve blogged about this before, but what I haven’t really talked about is how studios have begun to pick up the livestream as a means to connect with their community. It’s one thing to have the sort of organic building you see in someone’s casual stream or one that is popular yet not attached to a company, but entirely another when you have game developers picking up on their value.
Perhaps the best benefit for livestreaming when it comes to game developers is the fact that you get to put people front and center with the community who wouldn’t normally be in that position to do so. As those in the industry know, there are individuals and even whole departments who have their head down in very granular areas of the development or maintenance of the game, which means that by definition they aren’t really front-facing roles. Livestreams changes all that, with a well-run livestream being able to highlight normally behind-the-scenes development team members and give them a chance at community interaction.
The other benefit is obviously insight and the ability to grant a level of transparency and knowledge to the community as far as how games development works. There’s a lot that can be said about a Community team person or a Designer writing out something that explains how things work, but the dyanmic ability for someone on a stream to say that, look for questions, and answer them in real time is a powerful thing. When players can see that it takes more than just doing one or two things to fix a bug, or design something new, or release and do tasks common to keeping a game up and running, it really helps for the next time those things don’t quite go well, so that your community can at least have a little bit more of an idea about how to give you feedback about how to fix things.
All of this is of course combined with all the benefits people already realize with livestreaming – shared activities like games and Q&As, the human connection (aka the “face to a name” phenomenon) that makes things a bit easier or more palatable with regards to forging relationships with people in the community, the work that can be done as the stream is going on to teach, inform, or provide updates, and more. It’s become a good supplemental tool for studios to use to help keep their dialogue with the community going as well as make it a more personable experience doing so, and planned correctly, is as much fun for the developers as it is for the players, too. There’s a lot that can still be done for helping players connect better with game developers, but livestreaming is definitely a step in the right direction for doing so.