In the past, gaming was a passive experience, with players consuming content created solely by developers. However, user-generated content (UGC) has flipped the script, unleashing the creative potential within every player. Today, gamers are no longer confined to predefined experiences but are empowered to design, build, and publish their own creations. From simple recordings of gameplay shared by individuals, to more robust content creation using platforms like Roblox, there are many avenues for consumers to become creators.
Recently, I had the privilege of sharing my insights on the influence of UGC in mobile gaming at The Metrics Movement London event hosted by Kohort. In this blog post, I aim to expand on some of the ideas I presented.
Thanks to rapid advancements in generative AI, the barriers to creation are rapidly crumbling. With intuitive interfaces and AI-powered tools, players can now unleash their creative potential and bring their visions to life with just a few well-versed prompts and clicks.
The process of creation is not only becoming easier but also more sophisticated. As AI models learn from vast amounts of data, mobile games are beginning to blur the lines between user-created content and that produced by large studios. Consequently, I firmly believe that much of what we'll be playing in the future will be created by the users themselves.
Contrary to popular belief, developers still have a crucial role to play. In fact, there will likely be a clear distinction between high-output individuals and the rest (I’ll cover this in another blog post). Developers should already be embracing platforms such as Reddit, where players gather to share their experiences, ideas, and real-world examples of their creations.
When a game achieves moderate success, a passionate community naturally forms around it. Developers should view this as an opportunity to cultivate an environment that nurtures excitement and fosters a strong sense of belonging. By listening to players, acknowledging their contributions, and finding innovative ways to enhance their creations, developers can improve the overall product. Embracing the activities and preferences of the player community is essential for sustained growth.
Games that actively promote user-generated content should prioritise recognising and supporting content creators. I strongly advocate for well-structured contests as a means of incentivising and rewarding these creative individuals. Such contests not only generate a substantial volume of high-quality content in a cost-efficient manner but also inspire continual innovation within the gaming community.
Consider the significant cost savings achieved through contests. Instead of paying a creator $1,000 to build a beautiful world, offering a $1,000 prize as part of a contest can yield numerous exceptional user-generated worlds for the same price.
In addition to leveraging user input, the UGC community serves as a compelling promotional tool. User-generated reviews, gameplay videos, screenshots, and in-game creations establish a genuine connection with potential players. When users witness others sharing their experiences, trust and credibility around the game are built, increasing the likelihood of attracting new players. UGC acts as a powerful endorsement, organically and relatable promoting the game.
Furthermore, UGC can be amplified through advertising. User-generated advertisements possess a genuine and personal touch, resonating with players and potential customers alike. By tapping into the creativity and enthusiasm of the player base, marketing teams can harness UGC to drive impactful advertising campaigns at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional methods.
Coming back to the point on generative AI, I’m certain we’ll redefine user acquisition strategies too. With AI-powered algorithms that analyse player behaviour and preferences, studios gain valuable insights into their target audience. This information enables them to optimise their advertising campaigns, delivering personalised and tailored ads to potential users who are more likely to be interested in their games.
With players becoming creators, the industry is witnessing a seismic shift that not only brings unprecedented creativity and scalability but also transforms the way games are developed, consumed, marketed, and enjoyed.
As UGC continues to shape the future of gaming, I’m excited to see where the imagination and ingenuity of players worldwide takes us.