Community Liaison


Codemasters currently have a recruitment advert for Director, Community paying £90,000 PA. This is interesting to me because I had to fight like mad against strong political opposition to create this department at Codemasters. Not that I invented community liaison. All I did was to take something from our MMO department (where it is essential) and adapt it for boxed console and PC games. So it is nice to see that it is now accepted and warrants it’s own senior management. It ought to be because, quite simply, it is the second most cost effective marketing tool (after Public Relations).

From a marketing point of view the internet is either a fantastic opportunity or a fantastic problem, it is up to you. It offers you something immensely powerful that has never been possible before, the potential to have a two way interactive relationship with every customer (or potential customer) in real time. This is just immense. And nobody has worked out how to get the best out of it. Yet. In the meantime your community liaison team are the people who wield this incredible marketing tool.

You will notice in the preceding paragraph that the term two way is used. A lot of people forget this. Community liaison is a dialogue. And you had better be listening. It is for this reason that I always wanted to involve the people in community liaison in wider marketing discussions. Because they have the immense input that they know what the customer is thinking and saying. Far better than your market research people do.

Another wonder of community liaison is that is so cheap to do that it can be done for every game, even if the game is only on XBLA. And it isn’t just for publishers. This is something that developers can do. They can do it to increase the value of the games that they make and they can do it to improve the profile of their company. Every game should have a development blog and a forum as an absolute minimum.

As you can see this is a new, exciting and rapidly developing area. So it is easy to become enthused. And quite rightly, with a good attitude community liaison can give you a great marketing advantage.


  1. Okay, this question may be stupid but I assure you it’s sincere: what exactly does a community liaison do? Okay, they liaise. But what does that entail? Moderate a forum? Field letters and emails? Man the helpdesk?
    It’s one of those exciting new developments in our industry that I still don’t quite understand, though I instinctively feel it may possibly be important and Good…

  2. Here are the objectives for the Codemasters job, if it is any help:

    Key Objective·To create the strategic plan for community development within all consumer packaged and console digital downloaded products. Consumer Packaged Product Online
    ·Create the goals and objectives for all product web sites and infrastructure to ensure it is an invaluable marketing tool, a news outlet, a data resource, a marketplace and more than anything a community for the fans.
    ·Build a centralized community function bringing fans together from all regions around our brands and products
    oDefine the marketing goals, strategy and needs for Company practice: To unite all fans and empower them to build their own Community and evangelize the company and its brands
    Community Development
    ·Create new programs that will bring the fans together both online and offline on a regular basis
    ·Online: Community sites, forums, viral programs, consumer interaction etc
    ·Offline: Leipzig, Penny Arcade, ComiCon, Product tournaments, Product launches, Retail Partner Programs etc
    Extending the Game Play Experience through the Online Mediums
    ·Develop an integrated brand experience, extending the gameplay experience through other mediums
    oManage the demo/trial program, engaging consumers with our products, encouraging feedback, delivering post ship digital content, expansion packs.
    oDriving post purchase content and subscriptions to increase profitability per consumerCommunity Feedback
    ·Create the program for consumer interaction with the company and the incorporation of product, feature set and brand feedback to the Brand and Development teams.
    ·Define the plan to engage with consumers and ensure our key advocates feel “part of the team” at the company.

  3. Great article. When I was liaising with the community the points above were key, as well as another point you don’t often see mentioned.

    Something I found very successful was empowering core fans; people who love your game want only a little help to build websites (throw ’em some graphics) and a little of your insight. Once fed thus, they will go away and do a lot of work for you. They will spam other forums, keep your forum busy and interesting, feed google, and provide ‘weight’ to your title that attracts interest from the press.

    So, not only are you drawing people in to your game, you’re then sending them out again, holy warriors on a crusade for .

  4. (err, after the “for” there was “[insert title here]”, but I think I used the wrong brackets the first time around..)

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