Getting Creative: Ideas and Inspiration for Your Next Game Community Event
In a nutshell:
8 engaging community events and competitions you can run
9 different prizes and rewards you can offer
Words of advice to help you run outstanding events
An event planning checklist for your game community
If you're new to the GCM life or involved in kickstarting a game community, chances are you’re looking for ideas on how to promote some excitement.
And this is where community building gets seriously fun—because you get to cook up and dish out all kinds of eventful activities to keep everyone engaged.
Ideas For Community Events And Engagement
For those in need of inspiration for the next (or first!) event in a game community, we've set our GCM team to work brainstorming some solid conceptions.
You can use the different types of events, competitions, rewards, and prizes we've compiled here to foster vibrant and creative communities full of loyal players.
So without further ado, here are eight ideas for events you can run in your community.
Art Competition. To borrow words from the wonderful Jaymee Mak: “Art brings people together.” We’ve found this gem of an idea to be one of the most popular engagements, and it often delivers outstanding results!
Fan Fiction Competition. While this may be a little more time-consuming, it might be just the droid… I mean, challenge certain hard-core fans are looking for. Just be sure to offer a more substantial reward in return for players’ time commitment—similar to what you might offer for the comic strip competition..
Comic Strip Competition. Why not take things a little further and combine ideas one and two? A comic strip competition is yet another great way to promote fan creativity, and we can guarantee that a solid number of people enjoy a good panel or two.
Poetry Competition. Ballad, haiku, limerick—you name it! Set a theme, or don’t. Get in and get wording!
Character or Level Design. Depending on the type of game you’re running and what it covers, having fans compete to design new characters or pitch the next level idea can be an awesome way to get them intimately involved with the content. This gives players a sense of ownership, makes them feel all the more connected, and provides you and your team with some potentially fresh ideas—all at the same time! Multi-win.
Cosplay or Costume Competition. This fun sort of fuss is likely to be most successful when participants are given ample time to prepare, and competitions are synchronized with big calendar events such as Halloween or conventions like PAX and Comic-Con.
Caption This! One word: memes.
Bake ‘n’ Make Competition. All you need to love baking is an appetite for freshly made goodies. So send your peeps to the kitchen and have them get creative! It can be related to your game or simply for fun, just make sure they send in photos!
➤ Pro Tip: You can share the best content from your contests on the developer website or social media pages to give winners a sense of ownership and personal connection to the game.
Ideas For Prizes And Rewards
Everybody loves swag. We love swag! T-shirts, mugs, onesies, plushies. Go nuts!
In-game deliverables. Consider game keys and in-game items such as currency, skins, and rare loot you can offer.
Tournament Invitation. If it's how your game works (think Forts or Armello), tournaments can be one of the best ways to bring players together—especially if you can organize teams. Now arranging a tournament as a competition would be quite an endeavor, but offering winners of a competition the chance to compete against the devs? That’s the bee's knees, right there.
Invitation to be a guest on your livestream. Another rad way to reward winners is by offering them a moment of fame and inviting them to guest feature on your livestream. And if you don’t already have a livestream going, consider it! It’s yet another great way to engage the fans.
Signed merch. Get your dev team to sign prize items before sending them out!
Naming rights. Have a new character in your game named or modeled after a winning player.
Bragging rights. If a player helps with or contributes content that you use in the game, put their name in the credits.
Meet 'n' greet. A real rarity: arrange for winners to say hello to your devs. This could be in person or via video chat.
Studio tour. An epic prize: the chance to wander around the studio and see how your favorite game is made!
Group win (localized). Legendary prize!: Have an entire winning team come to the studio and test out a new game or have a go at some unseen content. Bonus: it will help your QA and design direction as well!
Things To Look Out For
Plagiarism and fakes. Be wary: there will always be folks who try to claim worth through others’ efforts. Unfortunately, competition submissions are no exception. We’ve seen individuals re-submit other people’s entries; some even thought they could pull off entering open source (and licensed) content.
Complaints. Don't be disheartened when people get grouchy. There will always be players who get uppity about losing but that doesn't detract from what made the event worthwhile.
Feedback. Having said that about complaints, do make an effort to look past emotional outbursts and uncover the feedback that can be of value to you when running your next event.
Bullies and negativity. Don't tolerate them: be strict on enforcing your community rules.
➤ Pro Tip: Ask community members who are involved in the competition to help you keep an eye out for foul play. You’re all in it to have fun together, so encourage players to help keep it fair and enjoyable for all.
Game Community Event Planning Checklist
Here are a few closing words of advice in the form of a simple checklist you can follow when planning an event for your game community.
☑️Be prepared. Grab your favorite clipboard or app and plan ahead!
☑️Be clear. Make sure the rules and requirements, process of selection, deadlines, and community etiquette are known to all from the start.
☑️Stay on top of submissions. And update your records regularly. Depending on how popular the event is, regularly might mean several times a day.
☑️Acknowledge everyone! Or try to. It’s a sad feeling when you feel like you’ve been missed. Think about how that might impact the community and experience as a whole.
☑️Have backup. If you're not sure how many submissions will come in, arrange to have people on standby before the window. If you get flooded when it opens, they can help you stay on top.
☑️Make the reward worth the effort. If you were asked to give up your kidney in exchange for a trip to candy mountain, would you do it? Keep the rewards interesting and, well, rewarding. If you can, make them personalized.
☑️Promote your players! Feature key milestones and extraordinary content on all channels, and tag the person responsible where you can.
On that note: if you want to tag players, you'll have to cover this in the Terms and Conditions of your competition or event. In our experience, this is certainly worth doing and makes players feel super valued.
That’s all, peeps! Enjoy your event planning, and don’t forget to share your experience with the rest of us by using the hashtag #GCMHub on social!
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