Wilders

23, Dec 2020 .

I want to welcome our players the same way Wildlife has welcomed me

I want to welcome our players the same way Wildlife has welcomed me

by Marco Cremona

10 min read

Associate Community Manager Marco Cremona tells us how his dream of working with a gaming company came true.

I’ve done a lot of things over the course of my career. I used to be a gaming journalist, a streamer. I also was a beta tester for some time and I worked on a business-centered company. None of those quite captured me the same way Wildlife did.

As a journalist, I loved to interact with the community, but that job can make you feel undervalued quickly. I experienced writing great stories and attending and organizing community events, but doing so in that environment can lose its appeal rather quickly, and soon I figured that videogames are more than numbers and reviews.

It wasn’t until I heard about Wildlife and its diverse legion of fans that it hit me: companies are looking for people who can interact with their respective communities professionally. And that is exactly what I’m good at.

I’ve always wanted to play games and share that passion with the public. When you think about it the way I used to, it wouldn’t be surprising if you concluded that I play many different genres of games: Halo is still my favorite game franchise and I play it to this date. Hardcore fans have the tendency to stick to one title like that. But rather than playing just AAA productions, I also enjoy the incredible talent and passion shown in many indie games, it's just so inspiring and refreshing!

But when I joined Wildlife, after applying to an opening in November, 2019, I just felt something click: you see, gaming is everywhere and we all have a phone in our pockets everyday.

I had already heard about the company’s fast growth and became interested - Brazilians call Wildlife a "unicorn", which I found out it’s a term used to refer to a startup company that goes over the billion dollar valuation milestone. I thought to myself "maybe these people are on to something". Boy, was I in for a surprise…

THE FIRST STEP INTO MOBILE GAMING

I was looking for an opportunity to be a bit more behind the scenes - which is why I’m in a community management role - but in a way that still allowed me to talk to people and share our common passions.

The website and communities I created allowed me to learn a lot about this world, it isn't quite the same as here in Wildlife, because I had created that for myself from scratch, but that goes to show how much I wanted to work with games and do more for the broader community of gamers around the world.

At the time, that was the only thing I could do for my fellow players, providing them with news, thought-provoking articles, and reviews, but I am happy to be now able to support the industry from the inside with Wildlife and I am relieved that my efforts with the site have not gone to waste having found people who could continue supporting that project in a way I could no longer do now.

I found out soon enough that the best thing about Wildlife is how the company makes you feel welcomed. I used to work for AAA studios and, in those companies, you’re pretty much just a part of your team. But here, you’re a part of everything - it’s like this is one big community inside a community.

Don’t get me wrong, I love games in general - PC, console, mobile, everything -, but portfolio diversity is key to Wildlife’s business and that’s what I was looking for.

You see, on consoles, there are more hardcore people, since they mostly pay for the games they play and are very loyal to this or that other brand. Also, the production levels are much, much higher. On mobile, people tend to be more open and allow you to try different things. Since we put out free games for everyone to enjoy, we have a very diverse list of games - sports, MOBAs, battle royales, and shooters –, and therefore our community is more diverse too.

IT'S ALL ABOUT EMPATHY

Having an open mind is essential to my job – you need to be inclusive. Put people first, every time, and make sure you know when players are happy or unhappy. But most of all, you need to enjoy what you’re doing, because if you don’t, it’ll be very hard to be a part of the community.

Me, I get to spend time and play together with some of our players, and if I didn’t enjoy that, players would notice and their experience wouldn’t be so good. You need to be someone who can listen to the community and help it grow.

I like to say that, in Wildlife, we're "bringing people together with the power of gaming". To work on Wildlife’s community management, you need to have a good experience in gaming at its core.

In this position, you’ll be the first point of contact for people. You’ll need to assess why they feel a certain way - and having knowledge of the industry helps to identify what’s going on and not be biased. You need to consider what the community wants over your personal preferences, and also know what makes a good game.

This community is particularly powerful in their voice. I’ll admit: seeing hardcore gamers in mobile like you see on consoles... It surprised me at first.

There were several times where the community gave us feedback that we took to heart and drove some changes we implemented on later updates. Many things we do as community managers bring impact to the game. Like Zooba, where we implemented a community tab that allowed us to talk to players and communicate our crazy initiatives - let’s say a player helps us grow on social media: that player will be rewarded in some way.

And that’s just from their side, because another key part of our job is to encourage content creators to interact with our games. We want to give them what they need in order to talk about our games, and we also want our players to look for videos from our partners.

HOW OUR CONTENT PARTNER PROGRAM WAS BORN

My job is mainly dealing with our content creators on YouTube: I was one myself back in the day, and I wanted to create a partner program, but not just any program: I wanted it to be welcoming, the same way Wildlife was and still is for me.

Some companies out there that make it very difficult to create a partner affiliate program. I wanted to make sure we, on the other hand, built a place to learn and grow, welcoming smaller channels as well as bigger ones.

We don’t necessarily look for YouTube superstars. When we see someone growing with us, or because of us, we love that! So we're always looking for people who can work independently, and see how they evolve over time.

And it feels so good when you get an email from someone who, just a couple months ago, had just dozens, maybe a hundred subscribers and, some time later, he thanks us for helping him achieve 30k, 40k subscribers... It really makes it worth it.

This is because, unlike other companies, we don’t see our partners as “walking advertisements” for our products. We give no restraints on our affiliate programs: as long as you’re producing content related to our games, we will provide assets when we can, celebrate your growth and establish an easy channel for you to reach out to us. It’s all about recognizing people first and foremost.

As community managers, we rely a lot on our content creators, who show the best aspects of our games to the public. That tends to generate buzz and get people’s attention. Every type of content helps in a way: fan art, tutorial videos and all that. We're extremely grateful for every single thing they produce.

CREATING CHANNELS THAT BRING PLAYERS CLOSE TO US

We also try to build platforms that are right for players. We have a good understanding of what players like, so we employ that knowledge on increasing our fanbase, like going for independent Facebook Groups, Discord and other tools that most companies tend to ignore - those are the places where people go to meet other people with common interests.

Granted, as with every other community, we too have to deal with a little bit of toxic behaviour, but even then, the community and the company focus on the positive sides of every discussion: obviously, we have the moderation channels and our social media profiles are fully open. Our community guidelines are pretty clear on that.

In terms of what we do internally, Wildlife cares about our well being - as community managers, we are in the frontline when getting "haters", so there are resources within the company to care about our mental health and all that.

Haters and trolls will always be there: sadly that’s pretty much a rule of the internet. There’s no perfect formula, but we try to steer our community towards harmony between the players and we actually have people everywhere that care more about the well-being of our community and are actively reaching out to us - not just to report bad actors, but also to criticize something that they feel is not inclusive enough.

These are community users, by the way, not people we hired or anything - and the fact that they’re so involved in what they do  influences our work in Wildlife a lot.

A BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD OF US

I really think Wildlife is one of the fastest-growing companies in games right now, and I'm glad I'm part of this. We want to be more accessible in the future, and, speaking for myself, I can’t wait to see what else the company will create.

I expect the company will continue growing exponentially, and I  see a very good future for us. The mobile gaming scenario is growing by leaps and bounds and we're at the center of it. 


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