Earlier this year, ID@Xbox brought on Kristen Jensen as Community Manager, and shortly after Thanksgiving, she agreed to meet with me to chat. She’s excited to share her goals and thrilled by the prospect of more interaction between the ID@Xbox and Ambassadors communities.
From the start of our conversation, it’s obvious that the Thanksgiving break has left Kristen well-rested and excited to be back at work. This makes sense, as she quickly shares that she spent the long holiday weekend gaming.
“Some Overwatch with friends,” she adds when asked for specifics. “And a few ID@Xbox titles, of course.”
It’s a brief exchange, but it paints a pretty accurate picture of Kristen. She’s passionate about games – in both her home and work lives. She’s also passionate about the people who play and make those games.
It goes without saying that those passions guide how Kristen handles herself as the community manager for ID@Xbox. The program is most easily described as a method by which indie developers can self-publish titles on the Xbox One and Windows 10. But talking to Kristen gives a deeper sense of how ID@Xbox is driving inclusion.
It’s easy to recognize how ID@Xbox serves independent developers. After all, as Kristen explains, “[ID@Xbox] wants to make sure that independent developers have the easiest route possible to get on our platform.”
But the program also aims to ensure the Xbox One Store is filled with a variety of quality games. While a game might not be right for everyone, says Kristen, it could be perfect for a specific someone. And that’s just the kind of thinking the ID@Xbox team is working with.
“We here at Xbox really value diversity. We want everyone to be able to game – regardless of who you are… It’s doesn’t matter. We want to make sure you have a place where you can enjoy time with your family and friends. And I think ID@Xbox fits really well into that.”
ID@Xbox is certainly meeting their goal of bringing games to the Xbox One Store. When asked about the number of titles published by ID@Xbox, Kristen responds with, “At least two a week.”
Then, smiling: “We’re always pushing out new games.”
If you follow @ID_Xbox on Twitter, then you’ve probably seen Kristen eating Thanksgiving lunch with her team or providing an “inside look” into the streaming equipment she uses to produce shows on Twitch and Beam. It’s an active place under Kristen’s care, same as the ID@Xbox blog.
It makes sense that ID@Xbox’s social platforms are thriving under Kristen; especially considering she started her career at Xbox as a Twitter Agent for @XboxSupport. During her time with the Xbox Elite Tweet Fleet, Kristen “discovered her love for connecting with people” and later returned to school.
“That’s what I studied in school – engagement and connecting communities as a whole,” Kristen says, when discussing the ties between her career and education. “So it’s really interesting to be able to apply what I’m passionate about in my work life and have it make a positive difference.”
Having only been in the role for a couple of months at the time of this posting, Kristen certainly wasted no time in making a positive difference: @ID_Xbox has over 30,000 followers, the streams are building a dedicated viewership, and ID@Xbox has a new means for recognizing helpful community members (titled Community Captains) which was announced in November.
Kristen says that the growth isn’t all her doing, however. It’s also thanks to the community itself – from gamers who frequent ID@Xbox channels every day to Xbox users taking the time to Tweet about the independent games being published on Xbox One – and Kristen’s looking forward to seeing that community grow further.
“I really would love and encourage Ambassadors to integrate into the ID@Xbox community,” Kristen said. “I think they’re a perfect match for each other… My community is really looking for people to connect with, and I think if we had more Ambassadors showing up in our streams, in our chats and on Twitter, it would help people know that we’re truly a part of the Xbox family. We’re all Team Xbox.”
And when Kristen says “Xbox family,” it’s obvious that she’s pulling from years of love for the brand – both as a gamer and as an employee. She’s quick to name Halo her “Dream Game,” plays couch co-op titles with her friends regularly, and can’t wait to pour some hours into Overwatch and Titanfall 2 this month.
Mostly, Kristen’s committed to making herself available to the Xbox community – on Twitter, in the ID@Xbox Discord channel, in streams, in her work life and beyond.
“I’m not just sitting in chat and streaming and talking to people at night and into the weekend because it’s my job,” says Kristen. “It’s because I like these people. I think, as [members of Team] Xbox, we have the ability to reach out and be a positive force and presence in a lot of people’s lives and so I try to express that through my social media communication.”