Behind: Trade Shows for the Year

With the end of Paris Games Week, which I did not attend, so ends our trade show commitments for this year. The last six months have been hectic with all the planning and travel. It’s been a busy and successful convention season, speaking to fans and showing off the Guild Wars 2 demo to the world. I’m not sure which trade show we will be attending next, but we’re in a lull for the winter months at least.

On a personal, professional level, I’m going to see if I can attend the Game Developers Conference again next year. I always get a lot out of it with regard to learning opportunities and in terms of connecting with people and networking. It’s also a lot of fun!

I’m also looking into local opportunities for learning, as well as continuing to read widely about technology, community management, and social media topics on the internet.

I know some veteran (videogame) community managers may scoff at the new, so-called “social media experts” and the upsurge of new school community managers who don’t come from a videogame background, people who have only become embedded in online communities and social media in recent years. Although the games industry, particularly in the MMO game space, has a multiple-decades-old history of using the skills of community managers and using techniques that “social media experts” use for grass roots marketing and relationship-building, I think there may be some things that games industry community managers could learn from the new breed.

Nomination: Game Developers Choice Online Awards, Best Community Relations

As noted in a recent post on my company’s blog, my team was nominated for the Game Developers Choice Online Awards for the Best Community Relations. The Choice Awards are held in conjunction with the Game Developers Conference Online in Austin, Texas. The Game Developers Conference Online is a convention dedicated to online games and the online gaming industry, and organised by the same group that is responsible for the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. The nominees and final selection are made by peers—other games industry professionals.

Here’s the quote from the nomination list:

The Best Community Relations Award

The Best Community Relations Award honors the currently operating online game that provides the highest quality community feedback and experience, including customer support, forum moderation and leadership, weblog and information updates, real-life events, and other community outreach.

I’m proud of my community team and happy for the nomination. Even if we don’t win, it’s an honour to be nominated and in the running amongst such heavy hitters.

I’m particularly pleased that the nomination criteria mentions blogging, as our company blog is something that I’ve been particularly invested in.

Behind: Comic-Con International 2010

I had a good, tiring, and productive time at Comic-Con. The convention was a success for the team, and we’re all happy with the results. I had some free time on Wednesday evening and Thursday, and between work shifts on Friday and Saturday, to explore the convention centre, surrounding hotels, and San Diego city centre. I’d never been to San Diego before, so it was interesting to walk around downtown. I also attended some great events, like a party for geeky women and their friends, and a few promotional events for a couple of products or brands I’m interesting.

From a social media, social marketing, general marketing, and brand visibility perspective, Comic-Con was fascinating. While I was out there trying to see things that I’m interested in as a fan, it was also very interesting to see what other brands were doing to promote themselves either to non-fans or for brand awareness in general. As someone who is somewhat involved in marketing, at least from a community perspective, Comic-Con was an incredibly fascinating experience.

One of the brands that I’ve connected with is Syfy. Even though I don’t subscribe to cable television, I do watch some Syfy Channel shows, and I follow their Twitter updates. I’ve followed them ever since their name change and branding revamp, out of professional curiosity. Syfy really went all out at Comic-Con, from hiring out the Hard Rock Hotel’s Café Diem and fully branding it with Syfy-related shows (including menus and décor!), to on the street person-to-person marketing, and online social media engagement through Twitter. Every bit of their marketing was on-message and consistent with their brand look, feel, and themes.

If I never get to go again, I’m glad that I experienced Comic-Con at least once.