Community. Niantic helps Ingress players with event for agent who died in accident
It's not often that we have a good word to say about Niantic's community management with regard to Pokémon Go. Support does happen, for example when players report problems via Twitter or the in-game function. But real community management is less important at Pokémon Go and Niantic - it's not for nothing that the developers paid lip service to a more active exchange with key figures in the game community and to more transparency just a few weeks ago.
However, fans still feel little of either. But good. To see how the management of an AR game community can work, the people from Niantic wouldn't even have to look far outside the box - but simply to their colleagues from Ingress.
In honor of Kubilay
One of our loyal fans explained the following situation to us via Facebook after saying that we only ever report negative things about game developers. So here's what happened with the Ingress community: About two weeks ago, the German player community of Ingress received a not very nice news. The well-known and popular player Kubilay aka Kubi had died in an accident.
Ingress, by way of explanation, is the first AR game from Niantic, on which Pokémon Go, for example, is based. The game pits two factions against each other, the Enlightened and the Resistance. Both try to claim extraterrestrial energies and otherworldly knowledge for themselves, and admittedly the agents of the factions tend to keep to themselves.
But when the news of Kubi's fate made the rounds, Resistance players were saddened as well, even though Kubi belonged to the Enlightened. It quickly became clear that Ingress fans wanted to hold a funeral service in the game.
Together thanks to Niantic support
Because the celebration was to take place during the week, at a time when not everyone was readily available, the players asked Community Manager Thia for some support. The result was a beacon implemented by Niantic, effectively a signal beacon that every Ingress player could pick up once for free to place in the game: the Via Lux beacon, as you can read in Kubi's Telegram group.
International players took notice and immediately suspected a secret event. After it was clarified that the beacon had been made available in honor of a deceased, popular Ingress agent, Ingress fans worldwide joined in and took part in the funeral service for their part. Not only the German Ingress community, but also the worldwide will now keep Kubi in glowing memory.
Thank you to our fan, for reasons we do not mention his name now. But thank you for telling us this story! And our sincere condolences to Kubilay's family and friends.
And what do the Pokémon Go folks learn from this?
Ingress is much more community driven than Pokémon Go, after all, there's two factions constantly plotting and scheming against each other. In Pokémon Go, the three factions are more of a decoration than a major influence on the gameplay. Accordingly, Pokémon Go players often see themselves as lone warriors.00:58
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That they are somehow can also be seen in Niantic's support for something like community: Direct communication channels with Niantic are Twitter and (occasionally) Reddit, and there is no official forum. Pokémon Go fans feel left alone for the most part, and we don't blame them.
We hope that the people from Niantic will also take a look at how they not only constantly build new features into the game, but also what drives the majority of the gaming community. We already know from other areas of gaming that it makes sense and is important to cultivate the player community and give them the feeling that they are being taken seriously.Support buffed - it only takes a minute. Thank you!
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