We talked to Christopher DuCrest, brand and social marketing manager at Madbox, about mobile games and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Christopher DuCrest: I think we’re doing well, even if I may be feeling a bit claustrophobic from adjusting to the smaller living spaces that are the norm for the Parisian city center. As an American living abroad for the first time, that just so happens to be during a global crisis, I’m always surprised by how orderly most of France’s response to COVID has been since I arrived in Paris.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Madbox
Christopher DuCrest: I’ve been in the industry for over a decade and have been fortunate enough to work on games ranging from popular MMORPGs to breakout super hits like Fortnite. A little while ago, I began searching for new roles abroad (as I was still living in the United States) to broaden my creativity and take on the unique challenges that entail the job. I happened to stumble across an exciting position at Madbox. After lots of discussions and a trip to Paris to meet with the founders, I knew right away that these were the people that I wanted to work with.
How does Madbox innovate?
Christopher DuCrest: For many in the market-facing workplace restructuring due to Covid-19, the challenge has to be around staying creative and nurturing ideas constructively. Gone are the office spaces acting as incubators to help ideas come to life. At Madbox, we’re embracing this challenge by enhancing our creative rituals by using more digital mediums and gatherings to develop our ideas.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Christopher DuCrest: Financially, the games industry as a whole has seen continued growth year over year. Specifically looking at mobile, it’s expected to generate an estimated $95.4 billion in 2022. People have increasingly turned to video games as an outlet for their entertainment. With the pandemic response placing restrictions on more traditional venues, this has proven to be a huge benefit in reaching new players. 2020 saw the rise of games with deep social hooks that brought players together from all over the world. At Madbox, we’re in this business to bring smiles to our fans’ faces, and we intend to do that for many years to come.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Christopher DuCrest: Madbox has, since its inception, operated on the principle of putting people first. With new challenges come new opportunities to reaffirm that. We had already weathered one lockdown and heading into the second one; we knew it was imperative to start planning. There is a real feeling of magic at our office, and we didn’t want to lose that being tied to just Slack or Google Hangouts. Our impressive HR and Office Management team got together to kickoff happiness campaigns that kept us close during an already stressful time. Their efforts went well received, and it’s something that we continue to do, even with the threat of a 3rd lockdown looming upon us. While protecting our culture, we also needed to make sure that every Madboxer was set up to work from home comfortably. This commitment meant taking additional steps to support everyone financially so that we could all focus on doing what we love, making games for millions to play.
With human resources, the landscape has already begun to change in regards to recruiting. Before, there was a heavy reliance on getting people on-site so that you can get a feel for their personality and potential contribution. With Covid-19 flipping this dynamic, it’s more important than ever to establish a relationship virtually with prospective talent. We will see some real innovations over the next few years in how businesses approach traditional interview processes. At Madbox, we benefit from already having one foot in the door when recruiting digitally. With our efforts focused globally on our talent acquisition, we’ve already made leaps and bounds in ensuring that our strategies are inclusive of the pandemic. We believe that we have adapted quite well in response to this.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Christopher DuCrest: Finding ways to grow closer and engage our fans has been our goal for quite some time. With social distancing and entire countries moving in and out of lockdowns, people have flocked to platforms like Discord to interact with others. We noticed this trend early into 2020 and set about creating a strategy to establish a presence there that would serve as a conduit where the players themselves directly impacted each game’s development. Additionally, there was a strong need to get more social and put ourselves out there. So we supercharged our presence on both Facebook and Instagram, which resulted in significant growth in each. To keep up with that growth, we turned to Sprout Social, a comprehensive social media management tool that can generate insightful reports and enable us to communicate across multiple social platforms with ease actively.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Christopher DuCrest: No, we did not take any government grants and relied on our established funding to continue our operations.
Your final thoughts?
Christopher DuCrest: 2020 was a wild ride for just about everyone, and I believe that it will continue to affect gaming but not in the way people expect. Covid-19 made people sit down and address questions that have long been burning within the workplace. This new rise of digital business culture sees massive tech support, even from giants like Twitter. This culture means that companies need to simplify complex processes that are fast becoming an outdated burden for agile teams and make innovative steps to get ahead in the market.