When I told people that I received an offer for a co-op position at a mobile game company, their reactions were either: “that’s so cool, you get to play games all day!” or “how can you possibly make a career playing games?”. The fact is there’s not a lot of information out there about what it’s really like to work in games. I certainly didn’t know what to expect going into my community manager co-op position back in May 2022.
Whether you’re here because you have your sights set on a career in games, or maybe you’d just like to learn more about the industry, this article is for you! Here’s an inside scoop of the 5 most important things I learned about working in the gaming industry.
Perhaps this is true for most start-up, tech, and media companies. But I found that this is especially true for games. Most days you’ll have your plate filled and cup overflowing with work. At the company of my co-op, we provide mobile games which are live 24/7. This means that players can continuously play the game without having to actively “play the game.” As in, progress will accumulate with time – even when you’re away from your phone. This also means that we constantly need to chug out new features, updates, and fixes to bugs to keep up with player demand.
As a community manager co-op, my responsibilities include communicating these updates and fixes to the players through our social media platforms. I coordinate with many teams to ensure that every post is up to date and reflects positively on our games. This could mean 4 posts a week across each platform, weekly email newsletters and 30+ weekly push notifications. Not to mention, swiftly putting together an announcement on our socials when the game is down and responding to player comments in real-time (which are often times required in less than an hour). This is done all in the effort of delivering the best experience possible for our players!
With that being said, there’s always room for improvement when you’re working in the gaming industry. The mobile game industry is incredibly fast paced – which makes it really easy to feel left behind.
An example of the work I did was I increased the post frequency across various social media platforms to 4-5x a week, coordinated with the art team to incorporate videos and reels into our social posts, implemented Instagram story campaigns, spearheaded weekly newsletters, performed monthly social content evaluation using appropriate KPI metrics, and assisted with responding and answering player queries in the comments section. Yet, with each successful social campaign, we only gained 1-2 days’ worth of our player’s attention before it got old, and they moved on to the next
Part of the challenge (and the fun!) of working in games is making sure that you’re staying on top of relevant trends and ensuring a steady stream of content roll-out for players to consume. You want to be on top of their minds, always. Whether that means spending the day browsing the latest industry standards, brainstorming new TikTok ideas, or reaching out to potential influencers and partnerships, there’s never a shortage of tasks you could do to improve the engagement of your game.
By now you might be wondering, how on earth can we accomplish that many things in a short period of time? The answer is: manpower. It really takes a village to execute a successful game – especially a mobile game that’s live 24/7.
My co-op experience really opened my eyes to the level of synchronicity required to properly maintain a single mobile game. For example, engineers may work on the back end of the game, ensuring that the features and the data created by the game designers are inputted correctly. At the same time, the writers may create scripts of new storylines for the game, and the artists make that story come to life by creating original background and character assets.
The producers and directors would oversee the entirety of this production and communicate with community service representatives and community managers to evaluate how well it is performing among players. In return, customer service representatives and community managers update, monitor and moderate player activity, while advocating for the players to the production team regarding any concerns.
Learning how to collaborate well with others in a fast-paced industry (like the mobile game industry), is one of the most (if not the most) important lessons I gained during my time as a co-op student. I like to think of it as an orchestra: one chime of a cymbal that’s off-beat or a single violin that’s out of tune could ruin the entire performance.
On that note, there is really a high level of complexity that goes on behind the scenes in games. That cool new feature in the game? A result of 6 months of hard work. A new character was just released? It’s gone through 20 rounds of iterations. A major bug has been fixed and the game is now as smooth as ever? Countless of sleepless nights from the developers, producers, and engineers.
In short, there’s a lot of very careful consideration for each of the details in the game. And most likely, every small detail must be discussed, iterated, and approved by 5-6 directors before it reaches the players.
As you’ve seen, the gaming industry is no joke. It’s a demanding career. But, it’s really not like any other career either. The people who enter games are the people who love it, who are passionate about the community that’s built around it. I’m grateful that I got to see the camaraderie from players who create a safe space for people to converse and have fun. And even more amazing, is the camaraderie shown by the people who work to create these games. It’s their genuine dedication to make a legacy that’s inclusive and exciting that really is what makes the industry keep growing.
There’s so much more to working in the gaming industry than you could imagine. It’s true, some days we do get to play games all day! And other days? We’re constantly striving to make sure the players get a seamless gaming experience in every way possible. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade my experience working in games for anything else. So, if you’re looking for a sign on whether or not you should pursue a career in gaming, this is it! I promise you won’t regret