PAX East 2012: I’m Going Going, Back Back
It’s that time of year again for gamers to invade Boston. PAX East kicks off Friday April 6th and runs through Sunday April 8th at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. It brings together some of the most passionate video game enthusiasts to interact with some of the most influential game developers in the industry.
Similar to previous years, after I build my agenda, I like to share it with you so you can see for yourselves the parallels between enterprise community management and community management within the gaming industry. We can easily learn from each other so we can innovate together on improving our communities no matter where they virtually live. The following are the titles and descriptions of the tracks I plan to attend.
Talkin’ ‘bout My (Content) Generation
It’s not just Doom and Halo maps anymore. The Rock Band Network, and the many other user-generated content platforms out there, have built up a whole world of dedicated gamers producing and selling high-quality content right inside games. Not only does user-generated content keep games alive even longer, it can make rock stars out of diehard fans. And while it’s not easy being (or working with) rock stars, the crazy idea and crazy people behind the Network have changed what user-generated content can be, and not just for rhythm gaming. Join Rock Band Network authors and some Harmonix staff as they look back at over two years of content and discuss the lessons they’ve learned, the hurdles they’ve faced, and what it all means for bringing more user-generated content to even more games.
Online Gaming Communities and ‘Real Life’ Relationships
Are you are a member of one or more online gaming/website communities? Perhaps the friendships and relationships you’ve formed online have made their way into your everyday “real life”. You are certainly not alone. We will discuss the communities we have created and support, and how they help to form and impact real life relationships for gamers of all types. This popular panel from the past 2 years at PAX and PAX East makes a triumphant return with all new panelists.
Gamers With Jobs Presents: Gaming For Grown-ups
Who said this was a young man’s game? The gaming industry is getting older and so are its players. How have we changed as gamers as we become parents, responsible employees, business owners and *horror* adults? Do we spend more to play less? Do we wax nostalgic for an era that never really existed?
Join us as we delve into what gaming means to us in our 30s, 40s and *gasp* 50s as we stumble ever closer to the grim reaper’s dark embrace.
Stuff Your Criticism, I Want A Review!
Is there a difference between a game review and game criticism? Do you expect reviewers to talk about why a game is important in the annals of development or do you just want to know whether it’s worth your $60 or not? Should game reviewers even CARE if you’re going to purchase a title? As the video game media matures along with video games themselves, the purpose of a review isn’t as clear as it once was. Come hear what a panel of experienced reviewers and games media pundits have to say about these questions, and then let them know what *you* want out of your game reviews.
Educating Through Play: The Future of American Education
Our educational system is broken. It is based on a model that was designed for a time before the combustion engine, much less the personal computer or the Internet.
Games inherently challenge us to use the skills children will need in the 21st century: Teamwork, Lateral Thinking, Systemic Problem Solving, Creativity. They’re also a solution that scales (it costs as much to build a game for 1 user as for 10,000,000) which is important in our cash starved educational system. So how do we build better games? How do we get them into schools? And if we succeed, how do we stop people from thinking that games alone can be the answer?
This panel of experts will address these questions and will also be putting out an open call for suggestions from the audience to help them as they tackle these problems in their daily work.
So You Want to Get into the Game Industry?
So you want to get into the gaming industry? There are job opportunities not just in design, programming, and art – but for testers, marketing and PR, trade show coordinators, community managers, office managers, and more. Learn what skills are needed, what tasks are involved and how to apply. Hosted by some of the finest (or well, experienced) minds in the industry, they’ll give suggestions and answer whatever questions you throw at them.
N00dz or GTFO! Harassment in Online Gaming
Warning: NSFW! Let’s be honest for a minute; harassment from gamers is woefully common, often creepy, generally stupid, and sometimes so absurd that it’s funny in a morbid oh-god-is-this-what-humanity-has-come-to sort of way. Maybe it’s because they sent you a message about their assuredly impressive “dingaling” or your “big gonglerz.” Maybe it’s the fact that most of the message looks like it was typed with a foot. Maybe it’s that you only got the message after that sweet headshot. Join us as we take a look at harassment in gaming and the reactions to it, and feel free to join the discussion on how best to approach the problem.
Community Management 2012: Game Journos Living In Captivity
One day, you’re living the dream, reviewing games for a living… and the next, you’re living the OTHER dream, working at a publisher or developer as the official voice to and from the community. Uh, okay – how does that happen? How do you go from your message to “on message” and still keep, you know, your soul? A few of the ex-journos who are figuring that out as they go will tell you what they’ve learned so far, and how they use what they learned as editors in the service of The Man.
Damage Report—How Crisis Management Defines Your Game
Every week it seems we see some new public crisis in the game industry that blows up all over the internet and social media. The way companies respond to these crises build their public identity, for good or bad. Hear “war stories” from industry experts and get an inside look at game industry crisis management.
If I hear “Gamification” one more time I’m going to scream
Love it or hate it, if you haven’t heard the word “gamification” this past year you must be dead. Or a zombie. Heck, it was short-listed to be added as Oxford dictionary’s “Word of the Year”! So what exactly does it mean for gamers and non-gamers that business people and educators are trying to make everything a game? This panel will explore what’s good and what’s bad about gamification and what it means to gamers, non-gamers, developers and people entering the game industry.
Admit It – You Play Social Games. Let’s Talk About Them.
Social games are like the HPV of the video games industry: At least 50% of us are infected, even if we show no symptoms. Unlike that awful sexually transmitted disease, however, social games don’t cause cancer, embarrassing skin blemishes or awkward phone calls with exes. They’re actually fun—so come to this panel and learn how the best social game devs are helping the rest of the industry make better video games.
The Good. The Bad, The Community Manager/PR Rep. AKA How Keeping it Real Can Go So Wrong
It’s hard to be a Community or PR Manager – especially when it comes to video games, where the community can go from passionate fan to angry, cursing individual faster than your 360 can power on.
This panel will discuss all the good things CM’s & PR SHOULD be doing and discuss all the other stuff that just plain needs to stop. We don’t need any more incidences like a certain sea-based marketing representative! Let’s bring back the sanity, shall we?
Our panelists will reach into their bag of tricks and offer helpful tips on how to handle tough situations and we will go over the right and wrong way to get ahead in the Community Management sector of the Video Game Industry.
We will also discuss some of the more grey area topics like, is it okay to ask your community to boost your metacritic score? How do you effectively handle trolls in your community? How can you get them to be active and WANT to participate? How far should you go to defend your studio/game? Is it ever okay to lie?