For this case study, I decided to look at the social media activity of the video game company BioWare. I chose them because they just released the newest installment in their most popular franchise, Mass Effect. I wanted to see the different types of promotions and interactions they had with fans through different social media platforms. Their new Mass Effect game has also been criticized for having multiple bug issues and I wanted to see how they handled the public’s reaction to these issues. So, I went back and looked at their feed from a few weeks before and then after the release of Mass Effect Andromeda. To start, BioWare has a large fan base of 619,195 people liking them on Facebook and 577,038 followers. On their Instagram, biowarebase, they have 65,600 followers, follow 68 users, and have made 411 posts to date. The numbers spike on Twitter, with the company joining in February 2009 under the username BioWare they have 1.87 million followers, following 420 users, and making 6,488 tweets.
On Facebook, the company uses a basic profile picture with their name and have a cover picture with concept artwork of the new Mass Effect game. On their about page there is basic information of the company’s history, when they were founded, location of their studios, game franchises they made and a link to their website and twitter page.
As for content, BioWare has been posting a lot of videos and photos promoting the new game with feature and story trailers, as well reposting the videos that are uploaded on the Mass Effect Facebook page. They also post interactives and entertainment for fans, like a fake “doctors note” so players can skip work and play the game all day. Some fan artwork is also posted on the company’s page but it is limited. Overall the company does well in terms being active on Facebook but they could do a much better job with fan interaction, especially with the release of a new game that has a diehard fan base.
Instagram is where the company is most limited, only limited to pictures and videos, BioWare can only do so much on here. Many of the pictures and videos here are the same they post on Facebook, the rest of their posts are concept artwork, which are worth the follow for fans of video games or graphic designing. The company also posts funny pictures with their characters for holidays but are never consistent enough with it.
It is no surprise that the “follower” numbers drop dramatically on Instagram; the company isn’t taking advantage of the platform. Rather than reposting the same pictures and trailers, BioWare should use Instagram as a tool to interact with fans. Like I said before they have a strong and loyal fan base so the company should use that to make a better connection with the fans.
The company should openly accept fan art and post it on their page, and take advantage of Instagram’s story feature and capture what it’s like working in the company studios and offices, like what kind of work went into certain features of their new game. The comments on their posts are a mix of positive and negative. Some fans express how they loved or were excited for the new game as where others complained about the constant issues in the game and others lashed declared to protest the game because of the comments made by an employee.
The Twitter account is a duplicate of their Facebook account, in terms of profile/ banner picture, and bio. Other than these few things, the company’s Twitter page is very different because it’s the most active platform, with the most interaction with fans and other companies. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, on Twitter the company can more easily interact so we see a spike in retweeting with other video game company’s and fans mentioning them. Obviously, the company still posts just about the exact same things it had posted for Facebook and Instagram (promotion for the game with videos and pictures) but this is the platform where users best interact with the company.
Like I said before, Mass Effect has seen a lot of issues
since its launch, especially with graphics, and I think BioWare has handled those situations the best they could. With hundreds of users flocking to Twitter to express their anger and issues, BioWare has done a very good job in addressing as many issues as they can, putting the upmost effort in trying to help solve some issues. The company has expressed concern in all complaints and asks for continuous updates on the issues while also replying with links to forums or sites that have solved certain issues. Now most complaints require a patch or an update to the game, but for now the company has done the best they can in such a short period.
In conclusion, the clear choice for best social media platform for BioWare is Twitter. Users can get all the information they want and more by following the company on just Twitter. I could also see fans following the Instagram account if more interaction and “behind the scenes” was done. The company’s Facebook page seems like a hollower version of the Twitter account with less interaction and mostly advertisement. I think the company would benefit by posting polls, especially for the new Mass Effect game, so players can more easily express issues, likes and dislikes, and what they would like to see more of from the company, while all keeping things more organized for the company.
For users, the choice is clear, if they want to interact or hear what BioWare has to say, they will want to choose Twitter every time because they know there is a much greater chance of their voice being heard and they can see all the new content the company is introducing.