Devlog – Talking Community

Hello everyone! I’m Miya, Marketing Manager at Flamebait Games. I’m based in Sweden, but I’m originally from Japan. One of my responsibilities early on was community management for our games. This post is about my experiments with community management mostly focussing on Discord.

The Games Market, Discord Servers and Languages 

As you know Flamebait Games is a Swedish game studio, but all our community information, Social Media posts, Discord announcements, Newsletters, are in English. This is not highly unusual in the games industry, especially not in Sweden where most people speak English very well. However, I always wondered if games communities tend to focus on English a bit too much? If we look at sales, Asia contributes a huge chunk these days.



It is no secret that in the last several years, the Asian games market has been growing rapidly. 

Passpartout

I can share a little example here. This is sales rankings of Flamebait Games’ previous title “Passpartout” on each platform during its lifetime.

PlatformRank 1Rank 2Rank 3
SteamUSSouth KoreaChina
AndroidSouth KoreaGermanyMexico
iOSUSUKChina
Nintendo SwitchEuropeUSJapan

We can clearly see from the table above that the Asian countries do make their presence felt.

To elaborate further about iOS, we added Simplified Chinese language in November 2019 that is after 3 years since we launched in the US and Europe, within 6 months the Chinese sales have caught up with Germany. Additionally, on the Nintendo Switch, we released a Japanese version 6 months after the EU/US version release, but Japanese sales are only a few hundred copies behind the US sales numbers.

It was very clear that much like the global market trends, Asia was a big part of our sales numbers. This is why I started to think it is very important that we don’t ignore our Asian community of gamers. This was reinforced by what was happening with Forge and Fight!

Forge and Fight!

In the case of Forge and Fight!, looking at the traffic data from our Steam page. We were getting 28% of traffic from Korea and 24% from the US. Half of our traffic was coming from these two countries. 

This surge of traffic from South Korea influenced our Discord member demographics as well. We have around 2600 members on Discord, and around 20% of the members have Korean language usernames (some may well be using English usernames as well).

Multi-Language Discord Server

Many Asian gamers understand English well, but some are not comfortable to chat in a fast-paced environment like Discord, with other English speakers. My assumption was that if we have Korean, Japanese and Chinese language channels on our Discord server, it would drive up the activity! We decided to try it out.

We got a few conversations going on our Korean and Japanese channels. However, it was not a roaring success. 

I tried to understand why this was the case, maybe they are not talking because there are no topics to talk about or events to attend which they could chat about. One day, I asked “why are people so silent in the channel” in Japanese channel and people replied, “I came here to get information updates and new giveaway events, not really to communicate with other people”. I realized I didn’t need to feel bad if people are silent in our Discord and that Discord is a good place to post news and announcements as well. There are three types of people on our channels: Observers, whose purpose is getting some information from the server; Communicators, who love to talk with people and developers and share feedback; Inactive, people who just joined the server somewhere and never really log in.

The most important thing then is how to give some benefit to people joining our server and keep giving useful information there and, of course, maintaining a comfortable atmosphere so everyone can be there.

Closed Alpha Test

At some point during the Forge and Fight! Development, we decided to do a closed Alpha test. I thought this would be a good time to involve our Discord community and try to further understand the demographics of our server.

Our target was to have 100 testers (Test duration was only 24 hours). The game was supported on Windows OS only. Players needed to sign-up to be eligible. We announced the Alpha test information on Discord, Twitter, Facebook and our Devlog, and we got 400+ signups. We tried to get testers from all over the world because Forge and Fight! is an Online multiplayer game and we wanted to check if people could play together from any location. Sadly though, we couldn’t get enough Asian testers from our own Discord server. I asked Game Cast, one of the more successful Japanese Game Community Discord server, for help and they were happy to make a temporary Forge and Fight! Channel there. (Thank you @Gamecast)

In the end, we got testers from all over the world and got a bunch of great feedback. I learned that if we couldn’t gather enough members for the event ourselves, it’s ok to ask other servers if there is synergy, for help and that can totally work!

Location % of Alpha testers
Next Steps!

We’ll soon-ish announce the Forge and Fight! Beta test details on our server.  We are currently making great plans of how much “Hype” we can create and carry forward from the Beta test to early access and how frequently we’ll have updates/events after early access. We’d also like to have a more participatory Discord server in the future. 

Lessons Learnt

・Language support is important, but continuous updates, events and information are much more important.

・To an extent, Observers can also be a healthy part of a server.

・Asian language support is not always necessary, but if we put some effort, it is usually appreciated.

  
This was my experience of our Discord community 🙂 If you have any questions or good tips for a multi-language community, please ping me (@EmberCat),  I’ll answer as much as I can! 

I also would like to add that we have a new community manager now! (@Seraxia) who will further take care of all our lovely community members.

Read more?

Connect with us:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/forgeandfight

Facebook: https://facebook.com/forgeandfight

Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/flamebaitgames

Steamhttps://store.steampowered.com/app/1066810/Forge_and_Fight/