When it comes to roles in the video game industry, whether you want to know more about the companies that make your favorite games run, or you’re looking at working within it yourself, there are some that are clearly defined. Everyone knows what modelers, animators, and the sound FX team do. However, if you’re active in any gaming community, such as forums or subreddits, you might see community managers getting involved, oftentimes representing the whole team. But what, exactly, do they do?
They moderate the community and community events
As the name suggests, community managers are primarily responsible for managing communities. What this means can differ from team to team and platform to platform. Some community managers work much like forum admins, for instance, with the power to ban and otherwise moderate communications. In other cases, they might be responsible for running community events like giveaways and the like. In any case, they are there to represent the company that makes the game as a direct employee. Many video game forum and social media admins and moderators do not work directly for the development or publishing team, but community managers almost always do with very few noteworthy exceptions.
They oversee press and community announcements
The roles of the press relations team and community management team are often blurred when it comes to video games. Effectively, they are usually in charge of managing the public’s perception of the game, be it directly through forums and social media, or indirectly by getting in touch with press contacts throughout the video game journalism industry. This can, for instance, involve writing press release and update posts, and using document technology to make sure that everything is a-okayed by the dev team and doesn’t use any language that’s unclear or likely to garner a negative reaction before posting. Community managers will always be there after any big announcements to answer questions, where possible, and to take the temperature on the reactions.
They serve as the link to the dev team
Community managers for video game development teams might not be in charge of designing the games themselves, but they play an important role that can often shape the ongoing development of the game by getting the community that supports those games directly involved. Often, they can work with communication tools to keep in touch with the heads of various teams, including marketing and design. This way, they can share the overall response of the community to different announcements or developments, which can then influence the ongoing development, patching, and creative process for the game. Their effectiveness in this role changes, as some teams are considerably slower to respond to community response.
Though they may not seem all that integral to video game development, community managers are playing a larger and larger role in dev teams across the board. As such, if you want to start working within the video game industry, it’s a role that can certainly help you get there.