All for One and One for All

Letter from the Editor

Welcome to Part 2 of the ongoing The World is a Playground series from The Lydion Magazine, in partnership with Popularium. In Part 1 of the series, Games as Storytelling Engines, our focus was on games as engines for creating stories based on thousands of different inputs from thousands of different players. In Part 2, “All for One, and One for All”, our focus is on the gamers—the players who interact with these engines to create magical experiences and the communities that they build.

Since the early days of the Internet, gamers—often unable to find their chosen families IRL—have logged on in search of like-minded players to bond with over beloved game experiences.

Sanctuaries exist all over the web, in the form of IRC channels, message boards, forums, private servers, and now Discord and Twitch, offering gamers the means to share skills, trade tips, tell stories, and make friends around virtual campfires.

The role and importance of communities in driving the commercial success of games have only grown since the early days of gaming, and over the past decade, communities have also become increasingly important in the development process of games.

In this Part 2 of The World is a Playground series of The Lydion Magazine, we explore the evolving impact that gaming communities have on the development, release, and commercial success of games through the lens of grizzled veterans and rising stars of the industry.

David Hoppe, President of Gen Con, discusses the power of gamers to have lasting impact on each other and on their communities through the medium of discussing, building, and playing games, and the need for more real-world forums that enable these interactions.

Dave Nemetz, lifelong gamer and founder of Inverse and Bleacher Report, explores the Early Access phenomenon and the community outreach playbook that game developers and studios can learn from tech startups on building and scaling their games and companies by bringing in users early during the development process of a product and relying on user feedback to iterate and improve the game before it’s officially released. Similarly, game producer and voice artist Kristina Rothe offers perspective on the potential and risks of the Early Access phenomenon for big studios.

Indie game studios have long been at the forefront of driving innovation for the gaming industry, and indie games often give rise to the most passionate, informed, and welcoming communities in gaming. Game developer Jyro Blade offers a rundown of the tools and techniques that indie devs use to build and optimize developer-community relationships on shoestring budgets.

Part 1 of The World is a Playground series discussed the growing importance of game streamers as content creators and storytellers. Streamers-influencers now have the ability to make or break games while opening the door to new game audiences enticed by friendly faces, camaraderie, and good old-fashioned showbiz. Now in Part 2 of the series, Kore Bundt and Katie McKeon-Smith discuss the impact that streamers have on the development, growth and longevity of gaming communities based on their first-hand experiences.

We hope that you enjoy this deep dive into the fascinating universe of gaming communities and the enormous influence they have on the games we love to play.


Lucy Gillespie - Managing Editor, The Lydion Magazine

Arka Ray - Managing Director of The Data Economics Company and co-founder of Popularium

Jennifer Hinkel - Editor-in-Chief of The Lydion Magazine, and Managing Director of The Data Economics Company

The Streamer / Influencer Experience

Streamer-influencers create content, moderate conversations, and build communities all out of love for a game. In many ways, streamers become the unofficial “leaders” of gaming communities and keystones for the game’s ecosystem, often directly influencing the future development direction of the game and franchise by serving as the voice of the community. Two such leaders, Katie McKeon-Smith and Kore Bundt, give us a first-hand look at how streamer-developers serve their communities of gamers and developers.

The World is a Playground

The future of gaming depends on gamer empowerment. Check out the other editions in The World is a Playground series for deep dives on how developers and gamers are building this future together.

Life is played out online. Anything gamified can be a game.
Imagine a world where players own the assets they earn, build, and improve.