‘Set expectations and don’t over-promise’: Pixels’ CMO Heidi Christine on building a strong web3 community

At the back of launching major update chapter 2, the small Pixels team continues to build in the open, propagating values such as transparency, alongside not being afraid to polish (or remove) what’s not working.

As with any growing company however, it’s not free from pain points, notably, how do you manage to keep your players satisfied?

BlockchainGamer checked in with Pixels‘ CMO Heidi Christine, who highlights the importance of being deeply present in the community and to not over-promise. She also shares her experience of being one of the few outspoken females in the space, emphasising the need of supporting each other.

BlockchainGamer: How did you originally get involved with Pixels, before it became a job?

Heidi Christine: I studied Electrical Engineering at university and then worked in project management and client relations for a software company. Seeking more creativity, I left my job in February 2020, downloaded Adobe Suite, and taught myself digital marketing. During the pandemic, I freelanced in content creation, marketing management, podcast editing, and illustration.

In December 2022, a friend of mine met Luke [Barwikowski, Pixels‘ CEO] at an accelerator and connected us, as he was looking for part time marketing support. I was initially brought on for 20 hours per week. That lasted one week. By the end of the month, we were working side-by-side in Miami recruiting developers at a Tech Week event. 

Were you into web3 gaming before joining the team?

No I wasn’t! But I’m a HUGE mini game player! Before Pixels I actually didn’t define myself as a gamer because I don’t meet the typical stereotype. I’m quite public about this narrative needing to change, and wrote a post about it a while ago.

Considering the game’s strong growth and enthusiastic audience, how do you prioritize communications in terms of what you want to tell the audience and what they want to know?

Web3 gaming is all about building in public and success comes down to player feel and sentiment. You need to be present, deep in the community, gathering feedback & information all the time. From there, you can best determine what will satisfy the masses, vs. what truly needs to be translated. Oftentimes we have to release something that may cause negative sentiment, so we need to be careful about explaining the why properly and get player buy-in. 

The only strong advice I can give is try not to overpromise. This includes potential new mechanics and target dates! We love having the conversation of ‘what are cool new things we can make’ but have to be careful to not promise anything until our design and development team has started building the feature. Transparently – we have learned this the hard way! 

Why do you think the game appeals so much to web3 gamers?

We’re in a unique position where we can experiment with incentive design. Because of our token release, we’re able to test user segmentation and reward our users directly. This is very unique to web3 gaming as it requires access to capital that just doesn’t exist in web2 in early-stage companies.

The obvious answer to this question would be web3 gamers love token rewards, but I also believe these users enjoy being involved in ground breaking technology and experimentation. Also, web3 is all about community, and we have a strong one. Many of our players are here for the social aspect, which we’ve nailed. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of Pixels being such a small team?

Our team is young, lean, and scrappy, figuring out how to make things work which is a massive strength in web3 where everything moves fast. Because we’re so present in the community, we’re able to react quickly and make changes fast. 

Our weaknesses are also born from this mentality – we’re going through some typical company growing pains and are reworking project management structures to be more sustainable long-term.

What are some of the sector specific requirements, such as transparency and community expectations, that you find most challenging, and how do you manage them?

In web3, some users believe that they’re owed something. Even when we’re giving away free fun things in-game, users want more. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but we need to set clear expectations of what it takes to build a sustainable economy and ecosystem with long-term potential. No one has nailed it in web3 gaming yet, but we intend to do so. 

Personally, how have you found it becoming one of the two public faces of the game (alongside Luke)?

Overall, it’s been a lot of fun and I love connecting with our community. Our weekly live streams and active socials are always highlights of my week! 

I do have a unique experience as a professional working woman, being the face of a web3 company. I receive a lot of sexist comments, people undermining my abilities and worth, or picking apart my looks. It’s hard, but I’m strong and push forward. I want to create an oasis for all women and people who identify with minority groups in web3. It’s not an easy place for us to exist, but with the support of others, we’ll get there. 

What gets you most excited in terms of Pixels‘ roadmap?

The future really is our oyster – but we have to do it right. There are endless possibilities for where we can take this. One path I’m excited to see is if we can onboard/create many games within the PIXEL ecosystem. I’d love to onboard new types of gamers and watch the community & economy flourish in multiple directions.

Learn more about Pixels and its latest release chapter 2 in our recent interview with CEO Luke Barwikowski.

Stay up-to-date with Pixels via its website, X account, and Discord channel.

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