Bozek: Communities are better at entertaining themselves
But ex-Singstar and now Inensu head believes that there's still skill in creating the right mix of content
Inensu studio head Paulina Bozek has told GamesIndustry.biz that good communities will entertain themselves - but need to be given just the right tools to do so.
Bozek's most famous creation, Sony's SingStar, was one of the first console games to embrace and encourage user generated content as a major part of the experience – prompting users to record their performances and upload them as video.
She believes that any game which wants to engage its community successfully in that way needs to offer content which can be used to create, not just consume.
"I think you have to set up that framework in a way that it's going to work. You still have to come up with creative ideas and implement them. Think, 'what will they want to share next? What can we give them," Bozek said.
"What will make people want to share and communicate? I think it's not a given. We actually have a really long list of ideas which will fit into the product we're building, but all of them have the concept of 'how will the community take this and share and amplify it'?"
Speaking as part of a larger interview, Bozek told GamesIndustry.biz that once a developer has managed to build a community of like-minded users, they tend to look after themselves.
"We're not creating big chunks of content just for them to consume, we're creating content for them to take it and contribute to it. I think the way we see that is that, when communities get together, they can entertain each other.
"In far greater ways that we can entertain them. If we can give them enough for them to take it and run with it then it's not just about sitting around waiting for us to create the next level. We'd rather they were able to entertain themselves the whole time."
However, the process isn't completely hands-off – developers need to fuel the community fires with the features that users are asking for.
"We think about long returns, how things might evolve. We think about events a bit more, how they stoke that community action and engagement - it doesn't happen on its own - and we think about listening to the audience, very very carefully. In any possible way. Analytics, surveys, forums, focus tests, all of those things. It's a service-based model of a game which, over time, continues to develop."