Your users know what they love about your game and what they’d improve. Listening to them means building a better game.
By showing you care about what your users have to say, you also create a strong, collaborative community around your game. You turn users into fans. There is buzz around your product that translates into growth.
However, managing user feedback can be challenging.
User feedback takes different forms: bug reports, feature requests, questions about how to do something, and general comments about your game, good and bad. Should you separate out these comments? How can you do that?
It’s also hard to prioritise feedback, particularly bug reports and feature requests. Loud voices can dominate. How do you hear from everyone to get a more balanced picture?
In this article we’ll look at 3 different ways to manage user feedback. We’ll look at what they are, advantages and disadvantages, and cost.
1. Feature request boards with in-built voting functionality
Collect user feedback in one place and prioritise through voting
Feature request boards make it easy for you to collect and prioritise feature requests in one place.
You can decide just to collect feature requests. Then send people to your forum or customer support with bug reports and general comments.
Or you can use labels to tag different types of feedback (as well as to give status updates like ‘planned’ ‘done’ or ‘not planned’).
Moderation is made easier by one-click ‘merge’ and ‘split’ options for suggestions. Plus anyone typing in a new suggestion is presented with similar suggestions to cut down on duplicates from the start.
In our experience, most games developers keep their boards public so all users can quickly and easily contribute. However, you can make your board public by using a password.
A big plus of feature request boards is that they tend to be much tighter about security and voting manipulation than forum plug-in providers. For example, Feature Upvote has built-in detection and throttling of attempts at brigading. We also do our best to prevent comment spam.
On the standard pricing, Feature Upvote’s boards start at $79/month if you sign up for a year. If paying monthly, our boards cost $99/month.
Feature Upvote also has pricing for bootstrappers, at about half the standard price.
Advantages of a feature request board
- In-built voting functionality makes prioritising feedback easy
- Moderation generally straightforward
- Shows you are actively developing your game based on user feedback
Disadvantages of a feature request board
- Costs money
- Doesn’t necessarily help with all type of feedback
TIP: You can create a free feature request board using Trello. It’s not as good as a paid feedback board, but if you are very price sensitive then give it a go.
Collect feedback and build your community
Forums have been used for decades as a way to build a community around your game. They might seem a bit old-fashioned, but they are still a trusted and well understood way for your users to give you feedback.
As in the Minecraft example above, you can create sub categories to divide your feedback: recent updates, discussion, suggestions, and so on. This makes keeping track of feedback slightly easier.
You can collect a huge amount of feedback in one place. Minecraft have 89,470 threads and 823,765 simply for their ‘discussion’ sub category alone.
You can either host a forum on your own website, like Minecraft, or you can use existing forums, like on your Steam page, for example.
Forums only really work if you put a lot of effort into moderation. It’s usually up to you to prevent spam and voting manipulation (like brigading) rather than the provider of the forum plugin.
Advantages of a forum
- Cheap or free – there are plenty of forum plugins
- Collect all feedback in one place, ranging from general discussion to support and news
- Create a sense of community
Disadvantages of a forum
- Feedback can get overwhelming because there is no clear prioritisation mechanism, so hard to know which feedback to act on
- It’s hard for you to show users what you’re doing with their feedback
- You can get spam, voting manipulation and uncivil behaviour
- Moderation can feel like a massive job
TIP: You can use forums to gather select types of feedback, while encouraging users to send feature requests to your feature request board, or bug reports to your bug tracking software. This should help you organise and prioritise feature requests and bugs.
3. Survey and spreadsheet
Ask for detailed feedback and avoid moderation
You can ask users for feedback using either a pop-up survey tool or a form linked to from your website.
League of Legends has a ‘Help us improve’ link on their Community page, which takes you to a form.
Surveys are a good way to get granular feedback on your game. However, it can be hard work to get users to fill in surveys.
Another alternative to a survey and spreadsheet is a survey and Trello. Use an online form to gather feedback and then automate the creation of a Trello card each time a form is completed (with Zapier if no such integration exists).
For more help with this option read this article by Sian Jones: using Typeform and Trello to get feedback from non-product colleagues. It’s targeted at product managers rather than games developers, but is still relevant.
How much this option costs varies depending on what survey tool/form you use. SurveyPlanet, for example, expects you to have a pro account to export data.
Advantages of a survey and spreadsheet
- Get detailed feedback
- Can be cheap or free
- Generally attracts less spam
- No moderation needed
Disadvantages of a survey and spreadsheet
- Can still be hard to prioritise and process feedback
- Generally opaque so users don’t know what you’re doing with their feedback
- Doesn’t help create a sense of community
Feature Upvote – free trial
We offer a 30 day free trial with all features included. This takes about 2 minutes to set up. No credit card or sales call needed!
Want to spend more time developing your game and less time managing feature requests?