I'm a game developer, and head up several gaming studios, including Wicked Loot and FitGoFun. Been in the game industry for many years now. It's the only life I know.
I pretty much done it all. QA. Marketing. Game Design. Coding. Editor. The guy who had to wear the (stank) mascot costume at a gaming event. The guy who drove a truck to deliver games to a warehouse. For the love of the game.
I'd totally understand that you would think all I do is sit on a beach each day, drinking a Mai Tai, soaking up the Hawaiian sun. But really, I'm working hard! Not only am I creating a game, I'm also creating a platform that allows users to create their own content in our game.
It's something I'm pretty passionate about. The mod tool scene has been around for decades, primarily supported by the PC gaming community. But it wasn't until this past year when I was inspired enough to quit my job and to make games that featured user generated content. What was the catalyst that made me take a dive? In a previous blog I talked about some personal motivations, I'll now share with you a business reason: I discovered that games that featured mod tools were able to increase engagement by x2 to x10 over the long haul. And that translated into more new gamers, longer play time, and thus more revenue generated.
In addition to this data, a number of industry peeps have gone on record talking about how user generated content is the future of gaming, including Gabe Newell of Valve. Recently at the BAFTA awards, a question was posed to Gabe: "What do you see as the future of gaming? Give us a 5 year snapshot." And his response was great: "It will be challenging for award shows like this to deal with the fact that more and more of the experience will be created by people participating in those experiences... How do you give an award for best game design to a community of 10 million people building the experience."
Yet, despite all this, few game devs bother to offer mod tools. Even on Steam, less than 1% of all games support Steam Workshop. Which begs the question: Why aren't mod tools more popular?
I have my own theories, but I feel like it's worth vetting out. So I been posing this question around the industry, talking with game devs, mod creators and users of mods to see what the skinny was. While I'll share my findings at a later date, the exercise made me realize how the solution isn't going to be easy. It'll require game devs, mod creators and users to come together to made it work.