Roi of Gamification #2: User Generated Content

Welcome gamers and players,

another day, another post. The today’s menu will be focused upon User Generated Content, the “godsend” in business in XXI° century.

The topic is really wide, so I’ll split it in two pieces. This first one is focused on what we mean with “UGC” in game and gamification. The part two will contain some useful hints about impact UGC’s impact on Roi.

User Generated Contents (UGC) has a strong relationship with Gamification. My hypothesis is that gamification, actually, is the best way to improve and increase UGC. This statement is based on at first upon historical fact.

The “game” industry have been literally the richer of UGC ever. Since the beginning of Internet Era the players (aside with programmers and hackers) were undoubtedly the most active on Internet. There are many causes to this behaviour.
When you play a game with smooth rule, you will probably go a little further. This applies especially to certain game type: Role-Playing, 3d miniatures, or board game (usually those played through “campaign” – many single game connected together). Some can be BloodBowl, Necrumunda, Mordheim, Heroquest, Confrontation, Mutant Chronicles… and so on.
The same happens in Card games: apparently the game institutionalize what you can create by yourself (aka: “your deck”). However, a simple tour in the web will show a huge amount of discussion upon rules variants, program to make statistic calculation and a lot of stuff related to game created by users.
I can keep this list going very long, but you figure out the point: a creative doing as gaming (yes, gaming is always creative) will generate “more” UGC. But to use it at the best, you have to figure out what kind of UGC you want from players.

In game and gamification, there are 2 kind of UGC that could be separately analyzed. This is a statement you cannot find elsewhere: I think I’m the very first to pinpoint this two categories.
Usually this distinction in gaming is meaningless: in gamification instead is very important.

Games are always a creative activities, which implies an…

  1. Implicit UGC – specific of game and gamification, they are usually considered worthless, and not considered to have a value for themself. They are an output” of playing. Check this YouTube Channel. This guy is making a business upon this kind of UGC. He uses what he “do” while playing. Your games are usually “wasted”: they give you fun, and that’s it. They produce not measurable efforts that are . In some games, however, the output is so strong that survives in some ways (I’m thinking about Role Playing Game: a lot of former players find their inspiration in gaming… Martin is an example of that).
    Usually these UGCs are simply forgotten after playing. The actual advancing of Information Technology will make easier to record and track those kind of “gaming outputs”. And, obviously, make new business from them.
  2. Explicit UGC – If you hear someone talking about UGC, he is talking of this kind of User Generated Content. These UGCs can be explicitly requested by game (check out the contest “Pan di Stelle” from right link sidebar, under “Play links” – It’s in Italian but I’m sure you can figure it out). Otherwise, they can be from players willing: drift, mod, un-official material, fan fiction belong all to this one. These UGC is hard to use, because they are spontaneous and uncontrollable: you cannot figure out what you players will built upon your game, except in case that you game provides very limited interaction and extremely sharp rules.

The term “UGC” is used today by the most as sub-set of point 2: explicit request of generating content asked to a communities (as in “Pan di Stelle” example. Game however provides a wide array of UGC, and, needless to say, those to point 1 are most powerful, underestimate and useful. Simply think about that: any game of any kind always create a game output. The output of a game is determined by the game itself: with right attitude and skills, you could make your players create exactly the kind of content you need.
And, with the right infrastructure, collect those output and data and get a remarkable increase in UGC and your Roi.

Have you ever seen a game built this way? Built to drive till the creation of a business-tailored UGC?
It’s not utopia: it’s the same operation Facebook succeeded twisting personal data and friendship/interest information in a business value (overestimated, as we’ve seen in the past days).
Why not in games?

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4 thoughts on “Roi of Gamification #2: User Generated Content

  1. Pingback: Roi of Gamification #3: User Generated Content « Play for Business!

  2. Pingback: Is the future free to play? | Play for Business!

  3. Pingback: Roi of Gamification #1: Playtesting | Play for Business!

  4. Pingback: How to talk to your C-Level about Game on Demand (and Gamification) | Play for Business!

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