While most people associate gaming with the words “fun,” “relaxing” and “spare time,” for gaming customer service and support teams, there’s an incredible amount of work that goes into making sure players remain happy and engaged. Gamers demand a rich and entertaining in-game experience, but when it comes to seeking support, efficiency is the name of the game, so responsiveness must be both lightning-fast and effective.

Facing Increasing Competition

For gaming companies, the level of competition in every aspect of their business has never been greater. In a new Gartner gaming forecast, the research firm notes that the video game marketplace will realize an annual growth rate of 18.3% this year (going from approximately $79 billion in market revenue for 2012 to $93 billion in 2013), and is predicted to reach almost $130 billion by 2017.

That’s a huge level up, but with this dramatic increase comes an increasing number of customer service and support challenges for many gaming brands which include:

  1. providing support over multiple channels and multiple devices
  2. supporting numerous game titles under one brand
  3. new questions and issues stemming from new releases and new consoles (Valve Steam Box, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
  4. and less dollars allocated to service and support as brands increase their marketing and advertising spend to build better awareness and attract new players in a hyper-competitive industry.

Meanwhile, many companies are struggling with providing better support within shrinking screen spaces, as the previously-mentioned Gartner forecast shows mobile games replacing handhelds as the fastest-growing video game segment.

“As mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) continue to grow, the mobile game category will show the biggest growth due to the entertainment value provided by games compared with other app categories,” explains Gartner research director Brian Blau. While this may be a wish come true for sales, it presents a potential nightmare for gaming brands which have yet to master mobile support, especially on smartphones.

Getting Serious About Service

Gaming companies are taking the industry’s growth and change, as well as increasing and changing customer expectations, seriously, investing in more efficient CRM practices that allow small support teams to provide service to thousands or even millions of users across multiple channels including mobile, social and in-game support.

Gaming companies are smartly incorporating easy to maintain, searchable knowledgebases into their games and social media pages, with an organized offering of “how do I” solutions for every level of player. Not only are players empowered with anytime, anywhere answers and information, but this self-service ability also helps gaming companies deflect a large number of support requests that would otherwise have to be handled by a live person.

Social, community and in-game sharing of how-to videos and images, in addition to standard articles and FAQs, is also helping to deliver better and faster customer engagement, while an in-game, online or on-Facebook ticketing system, along with additional offerings like live chat, allows users to quickly submit more complex questions.

So Much in Play Right Now

As the holiday season approaches with new game and new console releases, along with more time to play as kids from one to 92 go on holiday break, while everyone else is having fun, gaming customer service will be hard at work delivering multi-channel, multi-device support to the masses. With $93 billion in revenue this year and more than $100 billion projected for 2014, gaming is very serious business.