Community Developer to Associate Producer
1) First of all, Emma, can you explain to us your career ?
I know since I was 12 that I want to work in video games. I developed this passion by watching the Game One channel and also by the refusal of my parents to buy a console for my sisters and me. This created a kind of frustration that I converted then into a passion for video games. Game One made me aware of the industry and its news.
When choosing my college / high school orientation, I knew I wanted to work in the industry, but I did not know what to do exactly. So as I was also passionate about Japanese animation, I started to move towards studies of Japanese, telling me that I can become a "Localization Project Manager". In the third year of Applied Foreign Languages, I discovered marketing and I really loved this subject. So I bifurcated first to a Master 1 in Strategy and Marketing, then a Master 2 dedicated to Innovative Technologies. I was able to do a first internship in the industry as Community Manager for a studio called OUAT Entertainment that produced Facebook games. This confirmed my passion for the sector.
These two internships allowed me to understand that what I liked above all, it was to exchange with the people, and to bring them satisfaction. I got my first real job at Ubisoft in 2014, as Community Developer. I had the opportunity to work on the Raving Rabbids, Just Dance, and for 3 years on Ghost Recon Wildlands. Today, I changed roles. I am now Associate Producer at Ubisoft Paris, and I am working on a game still unannounced.
2) What was your Community Developer role at Ubisoft for 4 years ?
As Community Developer, my role was to be the link between the game development team and the gamer community. I managed a team of Community Managers around the world to gather feedback from the community, and create communication strategies for our most engaged players. To do this, there are two aspects in this job: the first is to identify the needs of the community, and to transmit them to the development team via analysis of the conversations of the players on the various community channels (forums, reddit , discord, facebook, twitter ...), and going so far as to bring fans from around the world to the studio to meet the team during a multi-day workshop.
The second aspect of this job is the opposite: it is to define how we will communicate to fans the latest news on the game. To do this, I worked hand in hand with marketing teams and devs to define a communication schedule dedicated to the community. In this context, I had the opportunity to produce several videos Behind the Scenes where I interviewed developers, organize masterclasses at E3, to be the presenter livestreams on Twitch ... It was a really exciting job !
3) What skills does this post highlight on a daily basis?
To being a good Community Developer, you must of course be a player yourself and ideally have been involved in an online community. This makes it easier to understand the expectations of the players and to define relevant communication strategies. Being a good communicator is also very important because you have to discuss and negotiate with different types of jobs: producers, programmers, artists, product managers, PR ... and fans of course. It’s also a job that requires great autonomy, because in the end, this is where ComDev defines what will happen to the community. You have to be able to design and carry out projects till the end, and often alone. Creativity, project management, and passion for video games are generally the keys of success
4) What is the objective of all the informations collected by community developers ?
To improve the games they work on first! Being ComDev means being a spokesperson for the community within the development team. It’s she or he who is the best placed to defend the wishes of the community and try to implement them in the game. Of course, it’s necessary to have enough common sense to propose to the dev team useful suggestions. For example, out of the question to put a tutu in Ghost Recon! His knowledge of the player communities and being present in the development studio allows ComDev to be a key part of the production team.
Secondly, the information gathered also makes it possible to develop strategies. We collect statistical data, we analyse the comments of players, we learn what the game has to offer, and from these elements, we build a relevant communication strategy, and we help the developers to adapt the content features they’re developing.
5) [PROMO TIME] : What are the latest news on Ghost Recon Wildlands ?
We recently announced a second year of content for Ghost Recon Wildlands. Year 2 started strong, with a special mission with Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell that was very successful! There are still three updates coming up with new missions and new features based on community requests. I am happy that we have been able to develop a game with a team that listens to the demands of the players, and that will continue!
6) According to you, what are the reasons that made you become an associate producer at Ubisoft, a few months ago ?
It is first of all a personal will. After four years as ComDev, I just wanted to discover a new job. I’m someone who loves to learn and discover new things, and I wanted to develop my skills in project management. Also, this new position allows me to be even more at the heart of the development team, to manage two teams and to participate concretely in the development effort. It's a wonderful opportunity. Currently I learn every day and I am surrounded by talented and passionate developers. I can’t wait to talk more about the game we're working on!
7) Finally, Chef's tip: The function of Community Developer seems to mix managerial, marketing and communication skills. What would you recommend to a candidate applying for this position in order to promote these various transversal skills during a recruitment interview ?
I would say to him that we has to think beyond his marketing or community management acquired skills. ComDev is a strategist foremost and focuses on the long term, and has to think about what he or she can do to grow (in every sense of the word) their community. It's really the community which is at the center of everything. If an interviewer tells me that he or she wants to compete on Facebook to win fans, then that person still needs maturity on how he views community development. Same, if this person is trying to "making the buzz", or is focused on the acquisition; in this way she’s too focused on the marketing.
Being ComDev is a very human profession, which requires going beyond the beaten track and constantly innovating, just like the industry in which it evolves.
If you are interested in this job, Ubisoft regularly recruits Community Developers around the world. Don’t hesitate to visit the recruitment page!