Welcome Gamers and Players,
today I write about Governance of Gaming, in its simplest meaning: governance of game itself.
Obviously, if you work for a gaming company, you already know this topic. Anyway, you probably use governance “as it is” for other products: you don’t need specific issues about governance of gaming. In fact, if the game is a product, Governance can be similar.
Otherwise (i.e. – game isn’t your core business, rather than you have a Gamification application within your strategy), you need a governance tailored on gamification.
What means “Governance of Game”?
Thinking to a standard gamification solution, governance is the activities that create a bridge, a connection between real-time (or daily) analytics with day-by-day maintainance and customer relationship. This is required to keep the game itself coherent with target and mission you have chosen.
The areas you need to cover in “Game Governance” are usually the following (you will see similarity with playtesting strategies. Indeed a good Governance start during Playtesting. See this post, this one and also this one to read something about how to playtest properly).
For any of the following bullet point, there is a short description and the company division usually assigned to the task.
- Participation and Engagement [marketing] – a game can be awesome, but if none play it, it’s useless. Monitoring access and engagement (number of games, game length, and so on) is very important to understand how players are involved in your game. This kind of information is the root, the core, you have to build upon your full governance strategy.
- Technical requirements and availability [IT and/or production] – are your game fully available, 24/7? The bandwidth is adequate? Your forecast on technical requirement, server (or staff) workload was right?
You should be ready to improve technical requirements at any time, if your game will have greater success than what you expect. Also if you’re using a game as crowdsourcing driver, you need to keep up-to-date mission and task within the game.
- Player’s Feedback [customer relationship/marketing] – what is the “buzz” around your game? Players have fun? they haven’t? How they talk to their friend about your game? What they ask you, what bug or problems they find?
Customer and players rapidly change their mind in web 2.0, and a strong connection with social marketing area is very important to increase participation and players. Also reacting quickly to issue, problem and complain is a good way to keep people interested in what you’re doing.
There are also a lot of more chances in gamification, for example in alternate reality campaign, in real life gamification strategies and so on… You probably will need to assess the previous bullet to fit into your activities.
For example, in a real life gamification strategies (i.e. – a game played in educational environment), you may have a person acting as referee of the game, whom get almost all of the governance of the game duties on himself.
What Governance of the Game is useful for?
A good Governance of the Game, in a perfect situation, is useless. Yes it is.
If your forecast is quite appropriate, the engagement levels are what you expected, the analytics follows your scheduling… well, Governance of the Game is no more than “keeping an eye on the game while all is going good”.
Anyway (and unfortunately), this is not a standard situation. Games usually are under or over the forecast. If you’re finding lesser engagement, play and interaction with the game, then you have a problem in Participation and Engagement.
If game exceed your expectations, then probably you need to assess technical infrastructure to avoid overrun of the system and, maybe, breakdown caused by overload. This typically will involve Technical requirements and availability.
The most difficult situation you can find in governance, is related to the “buzz”, the customer reaction and player feedbacks. It is very difficult to predict how players can react to your game, to game task, to game changes and to any situation they’ll find in front of them.
A good advice (useful also in any social or 2.0 context) is, always, to expect the best and the worse. As there is always someone who want to complain, there is also someone who want to congratulate. Try to set a strategy for these two cases, while you manage the others mixing up your responses.
Try also to have a brainstorming session (or a focus group) to understand what are the most common problems or feelings about your game (this is also taken from playtest feedback). Identify them and create a strategy to respond, if someone will ever point them out. Then, conjugate your preformatted answers with the concrete customer feedback, and try to keep a standard mood of relationship with the players, talking to anyone at the same manner.
Anyway, Governance of the Players is a complex and difficult task, borderline between social, gamification, marketing and Hr. So it will be better developed in the next post about Governance of Gaming.
See you soon!