The Challenge of Attracting and Retaining Player Support Talent

The games industry is facing a need—a need for speed. Game publishers must deliver patches, reworks, and game updates faster than ever. Meanwhile, players have become less patient, and expect publishers to fix their issues immediately.

When players are experiencing issues, the only thing they want is to get back into the game as soon as possible. But, with most games, the process of getting an issue resolved is far from customer friendly. Players are oftentimes forced to open a ticket – instead of getting help in-game or through social media channels. And to top it off, tickets often take days to get a response.

To illustrate this last point, some key findings in the 2022 Customer Service Benchmark Report demonstrate that only 20% of companies are able to answer questions in full on the first reply, and the average response time to handle a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes. If and when they get a response, it is often a macro-based answer from a support agent with little or no knowledge of the game and therefore lacking understanding of how the issue is impacting the player.

This not only leads to frustration but also causes players to churn and switch to another game – after all, there are tons of options out there.

Staffing properly for player support is more important than ever.

Your players need to be able to count on you to solve their issues rapidly, so they can continue playing. But here’s the catch:

In today’s world, attracting and retaining player support talent is more complicated than ever. A player support job is a fantastic entry point into the games industry, but it’s quite a challenge to encounter talent that wants to make a career out of player support.

On top of this, while the pandemic has proven that player support is something that can be done perfectly from home in most cases, there are still many companies that require player support agents to come into the office. This greatly limits the talent pool from which to source.

What do the top executives of games companies think about talent?

Interestingly enough, a study recently published by Bain & Company emphasizes that talent is a top concern for the higher-ups at games companies: employees in the video games industry can easily find better-paying jobs at other tech companies. Quoting the consulting firm’s brief:

“But simply paying more won’t be enough. Better compensation is table stakes; game companies will need to develop a more thoughtful talent strategy around recruitment, onboarding, training, and retention. Too many companies look at human resources simply as an internal function, rather than an indispensable strategic partner to create a forward-looking model that also aligns with the company’s strategy.”

Due to the explosive growth of the games industry in the past few years, we’re dealing with an ever-growing competition for talent in the industry while looking for individuals who are technically savvy, emotionally intelligent, can communicate well, and are passionate about the game at stake. And if you think finding someone with these skills is like finding a needle in a haystack, top that with the ability to possibly speak multiple languages and take on complex shifts including weekends and/or evenings/nights.

In most cases, it makes sense to work with an outsourcer to cover your player support needs – either by complementing your in-house team or by outsourcing it completely. There are plenty of companies that specialize in player support. Leveraging their experience and resources can make your life a lot easier. The benefits of outsourcing from a talent perspective:

● They have a framework in place to hire and develop talent. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel yourself and can leverage the experience they bring to attract talent and continue developing their skills.
● The same goes for deploying and managing teams. They have an existing operational management structure and can often leverage multiple locations around the globe – or even better, work with remote agents in a secure, proven environment.
● They know how to train and onboard talent, which is a very important area that greatly influences churn in player support. They have the option to reassign talent from one project to another. If support for one game is ramping down and your demand is up, they can move talent on the spot.
● They often deliver a variety of other services for the games industry, such as QA, localization, or community management. This offers the option to move people between different areas – on the condition that they possess the right skills needed for the job.

Finding, training, and retaining top player support talent can be significantly expensive in terms of time and money.

Leaving this tedious part of the process to a reliable partner frees up valuable time and resources for game publishers to garner an all-star team capable of making players feel proud of having downloaded the game.


Follow the Testronic company page on LinkedIn for more insight and information on gaming and Player Support.

CC Photo by Fredrick Tendong