Returning to Our Roots
A Player Experience & Community Perspective from Janet Ebsen, Director of Player Experience, Kongregate.
To some extent, the rebranding effort we’re in right now started months ago on the Player Experience team. It started with our newest round of hiring and, if it weren’t for the plans to relaunch Kongregate.com at the end of the year, we may not have hired the new staff to help with planning events for the rebranding. Those new hires brought in a lot of fresh thinking and helped inform a lot of the ideas you’re seeing today. That’s where we started.
We have a lot of sentimental memories attached to the Kongregate chat rooms and forums, but we wanted to make sure Kongregate could be Kongregate for new people, too. So, once our team started expanding, we also began developing our Kongregate Discord and starting looking at new ways to make it a more thriving environment.
Discord was an easy and natural transition for us, since it was a place where so many gamers already gather on their own. The Discord feature set is so robust, allowing us to offer more to our community with little engineering time. In the old days of Kongregate, chat rooms and functionality was something we built in-house. It took a lot of effort and a lot of moderation to build those spaces for our players. Discord has made that so much easier.
Discord has also added a forum feature which was something people had missed in the move away from Kongregate.com’s forums. Discord allows our community to meet up in voice and video chats, where our community managers can host events like trivia nights, movie nights, Game With Us events, (where we stream games with our community via Twitch or other platforms), or host dev Q&As so our teams can interact with the community even more directly than we ever could before.
Kongregate (like its name implies) is many different sub-communities that come together as one.
One of the joys of being on staff is getting to see all the different versions of what Kongregate is.
While there are people who will see this rebrand as a change, there will also be new people for whom this will be the way it’s always been, and they will see this as ‘their Kongregate.’
It’s really exciting and rewarding to see what we are doing. When people look at our home page now, it looks busy & overwhelming. What we’re planning is going to change all that. It’s going to make things better for our community, which I love.
Our mission and strength at Kongregate has always been about trying to put interesting and fun games in front of players. We’re excited to showcase the work of indie developers again as well. While we’re working on bringing in new technology to meet the needs of the changing digital world, this feels in many ways like we’re returning to our roots.
Janet Ebsen is the Director of Player Experience at Kongregate and one of the longest tenured employees at the company.
Her unique perspective of Kongregate continues to prove invaluable, having witnessed first-hand the company’s many iterations over the years.
Her deep ties to the Kongregate community has helped her lead her team in their many innumerable efforts to enhance and improve our community’s place in the company… and beyond.