This is a heartbreaking post for me.
When I first came to xbox in 2002, people didn’t talk about ‘Community’ in gaming. Oh, community existed of course, but no one called it that. My first forays into building community began with an interview with a customer. The term "Gamer Spotlight" I pulled out of my ass in a meeting one day. What was the point of it? To give a customer a moment of attention, and to let the nascent community learn more about someone who was also playing games on the new Xbox LIvE service. Back then we called it Live. Cause italics = futuristic.
Over the following eight years I managed the Xbox.com forums, recruited moderators (they’re all volunteers), doled out forum icons, banned forum jerks, managed the Community channel on Xbox.com, hosted a weekly show on Inside Xbox, covered events, nominated Xbox MVPs, created (and branded, and managed and promoted) Community events like Frag Doll Friday (with Ubisoft and Major Nelson), Xbox All-Nighter, Family Game Night, Music Monday, Co-op Night (with Co-Optimus), Play the Pros (with CGS, RIP), Mystery Gamer (with Major Nelson), Community Playdate, Ladies Night, Arcade Afternoon, Cross Platform Clash (RIP), and Indie Games Night.
The challenges (read: miscreants) of Xbox LIVE led to the creation of two "Social Programs". The Xbox Ambassadors and GamerchiX (with co-founders Dirty Diva and PMS Kitty). With zero budget and next to no support the programs thrived…because of the amazing people who signed on.
Being your community manager has been an amazing experience, and I am grateful to all of you (yes even the jerks) for being so passionate about Xbox LIVE, for always being excited for what comes next, for letting me know in no uncertain terms when we make mistakes, for never being boring. On this community journey I’ve traveled the world, met the love of my life, live-streamed my wedding, tweeted my water breaking, and blogged my ridiculous foibles such as driving away from the gas station with the pump still in the tank, spilling two drinks on a CTO when I snuck into the Sony E3 party, putting together a bookshelf with a can of corn because I didn’t have a hammer.
Community, to me, is the lifeblood of Xbox LIVE and YOU are the reason it works. I have learned so much from you, and hope that you’ve had fun and met cool people during my stint as Community Manager. I’m very sad to say that the time has come for me to pass the community torch. I have been asked to focus my attention on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone 7. I will continue to write the Gamer Spotlight (so keep those nominations coming!), but will hand off management of my Xbox LIVE community events to Eric Doty who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for a great ride. See you on the phone 🙂