What is User Generated Content (UCG) ?

User Generated Content (UGC)

UGC stands for User Generated Content, and in its most basic definition it is any form of content (image, text, or more applicably in video games, Avatars, NFT'S, 3D models and code) that is created by the user/consumer of the platform that the content is published to.
UGC has existed in video games for decades, but has gained importance in the gaming industry due to adoption of Blockchain technology. UGC-based games and platforms are some of the largest digital properties in the world; from games like Fortnite and Minecraft (who have both adopted UGC-based strategies), to platforms like Roblox (one of the largest industry leaders with a UGC-centric business model). The UGC as a business model in games works so well, and it is the future of the gaming industry in some respects.
Below are some reasons;
Social & Creative Implications Perhaps the most compelling reason for the astronomical success of UGC-based games like Fortnite and Minecraft, and platforms like Roblox, is the social aspect. Social is overwhelmingly important in any multiplayer game, and that is reflected in the fact that the biggest games on the market are multiplayer. Humans are, by nature, social beings, and these games are offering the ability to connect and play with people from all around the globe.
This social bond is strengthened even further in UGC-based games- users are able to create their own Avatars, create NFT's, socialize, connect, and now create in their very own spaces. This creative outlet is a method of expression, and being able to do that collaboratively creates a really unique and special experience that attracts a vast market and, due to the more open-ended game-play implied by the creative aspects, retains its audience far more than that of a more linear game.
The social aspects of games like these also creates a sort of snowballing effect in terms of growth- as people join games like these, they naturally feel like they have to invite their friends to maximize their experience. Simply put, it's more fun to play with friends. As a result, we see people invite their friends, who then invite their friends, who then invite their friends and so on… creating the snowball effect.
The 'Free-to-play' model Another fundamental reason for the rising success of UGC in the game industry is simply that the vast majority of user generated content is available on a free-to-play basis. By making your content free-to-play, you're effectively enabling a younger audience to easily access your content by removing the main restrictive wall that prevents them from playing regular games; you're able to tap into a full range of age demographics that you otherwise may not have access to for the simple reason that kids don't (usually) have money.
This lack of upfront purchasing power doesn't mean that these players don't have money, however; through clever monetization strategy, free-to-play games can (and increasingly do) generate more revenue than pay-to-play games. Micro-transactions and advertising both make for great monetization prospects.
Naturally, when splitting big numbers like an upfront cost of ownership up into smaller, more bite-size micro-transactions, users are more willing to spend money- even if it is less at first, and this amount can easily grow as players get more engrossed in your game loop.
Furthermore, the word-of-mouth advertising you get from this naturally higher traffic is invaluable in growing your player-base. Making gaming more accessible can really pay off, and that's exactly what the growth of UGC is doing in the video game space.
Mass Adoption for Gaming As a result of above, it is increasingly easier for new creators to take roots in the platform, and not only does this lead to more content being output in the form of completely new games, but it means more and more players are getting exactly what they want from these experiences. If UGC means that any player can become a creator, it means that players are most likely creating the experiences they would personally like to see, or feel is missing from the existing market. If you enjoy playing a certain kind of game, it is almost a certainty that someone else enjoys that style of game-play- most likely thousands of other people. This creates a market.
With so much content being generated on UGC platforms, there is a near endless pool of content to be consumed by the players- a percentage of whom will go on to create further content to be consumed by more hungry players. The result is a successful ecosystem the likes of which can only really be found where UGC is present.
UGC in the game industry is a force to be reckoned with. Players know what they want to play, and by allowing them to create just that with ease, the Pandora's box is opened.