If you’re one of the world’s leading digital video game retailers, how do you migrate legacy customers to an online community without losing their support? That’s the problem Green Man Gaming faced when they closed social network Playfire and set up a brand new system for their customers.

When the fire fizzled out

Green Man Gaming began life as an innovative new digital storefront, before expanding to become a worldwide rival to marketplaces like Steam and Early on, they recognised that a focus on community and content would drive sales, so they purchased the social network Playfire in 2012, which was set up to allow gamers to track their achievements and facilitate conversation, 

It seemed like a match made in heaven, aimed to position Green Man Gaming as one of the most forward-thinking and leading stores across the globe. However, Playfire’s tracking infrastructure was failing and an increasingly hostile user base was forming, making the social network a dead weight. It needed to be rejuvenated as a proper part of the Green Man Gaming machine, so the store set to work on developing a new community to replace Playfire.

Pressing restart on the community

Mighty was approached by CEO Paul Sulyok to help restructure the messaging around the new community and support the team through to the official launch and beyond.

With a limited amount of time left in which to launch, we put the Green Man Gaming team straight into an intensive programme. We developed key messages for each audience that would potentially come into contact with the community, ranging from existing users and staff to social media influencers and members of the press. With these key messages in mind, we were able to re-establish trust between Green Man Gaming and Playfire users, holding a live Q&A and putting out frequent, reassuring messaging to show them what they could look forward to.

  • Example of the Green Man Gaming website

Using our expert insight into the platform, we engaged with key stakeholders, including the original Playfire moderators and members of the community, to find out what they wanted from the new system and how we could improve it to make their lives easier. 

Most importantly, we needed to get Green Man Gaming’s biggest supporters – and trusted members of the community – on side, and to introduce new, motivated members to the moderation team. To ensure that they would be fully supported, we put training documents and a hierarchy of support in place, including a communications toolkit that could be rolled out whenever new moderators joined the organisation, and empathetic guidelines to aid moderators in what can be a stressful and confrontational environment. 

We also consulted on the general user experience, making suggestions around topics and forum structure to bridge the worlds of the Green Man Gaming support forums and the bustling Playfire discussion feeds, ensuring that existing users would begin to contribute to the new space. 

  • Guides created for Green Man Gaming's community and moderator team

Generating hype for a new system

However, our biggest challenge was to stoke the community fires and get everyone hyped up for launch. To do this, we developed a wide-ranging content plan for Playfire ahead of the new community going live, posting everything from the latest gaming news to profiles about the new moderators and key Green Man Gaming staff.

  • Example of a Green Man Gaming community newsletter

As a result, we saw a substantial rise in interaction across the different areas of the site, with a more cautiously positive sentiment starting to spread throughout in time for the new launch.

When the new community was launched and Playfire had been shut down for good, we stayed on hand for the initial transition period, supporting moderators and offering consultancy to the community managers and in-house communications team.