Basics Unboxed: Different Types of UGC in Gaming

Welcome, gaming enthusiasts! There’s never been a more exciting time to immerse yourself in the world of user-generated content (UGC) in gaming. 

The growing trend of UGC is fostering creativity, innovation, and even financial opportunity. Monetizing UGC is one of the most interesting ways to create an income, as passionate gamers evolve into entrepreneurial creators. 

UGC empowers us, the gamers, to shape our gaming experiences in many ways. But it’s not only about personalizing your gaming experience – it’s about making a living from it, too. Understanding different types of UGC is not merely interesting; it’s integral to appreciating the modern gaming landscape and unlocking its economic potential. 

Let’s jump in and learn about some of the common types of UGC in gaming.

Mods: Sometimes called “modifications”, mods represent one of the most popular forms of user-generated content (UGC) in gaming. These are alterations or additions made to a game’s source code by the player community. Mods can change and enrich a game by adding new characters, game mechanics or levels. They refresh the game and often extend its lifespan beyond the initial release. Some game developers have released official modding tools to facilitate this kind of content creation.

User Generated Levels: These are custom levels or maps crafted by players using in-game or third-party tools. These are completely new creations that bring new experiences to a game. 

Skin: The appearance or aesthetic design of a game character, item, or even the game interface itself. Gamers often create and share custom skins, showcasing their creativity and allowing others to personalize their gameplay. These can vary significantly from a game’s original design, and their creation and distribution form an integral part of the gaming UGC landscape.

Machinima: A form of filmmaking that uses real-time computer graphics rendering, often created within video games themselves. Machinima can range from simple recorded gameplay clips to complex films featuring voice acting and custom animations. It’s a very cool blend of gaming and filmmaking, with creators being both players and directors.

Fan art: Artwork created by fans of a game and typically features characters, scenes, or elements from the game. It can be digital art, traditional painting, cosplay, and even sculpting. It is a common way for fans to express their passion for a game, share their artistic skills, and engage with the game’s community.

Custom servers: Game servers set up and managed by players, often with custom rules, unique game modes, or modified maps. These servers allow players to have more control over their gameplay experience and share unique versions of the game with others. This is particularly common in multiplayer games, where custom servers can provide a completely different gameplay experience. Some popular games who enable custom servers include: Minecraft, ARK: Survival Evolved, Rust, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Garry’s Mod, Terraria, DayZ, Starbound, Battlefield series, Call of Duty series and more.

“Let’s Play” videos: A gamer playing a game and recording it, often with their commentary. They share their gameplay experiences, strategies, reactions, and sometimes even personal stories. These videos are a common form of UGC and have grown in popularity with platforms like YouTube and Twitch.

Speedruns: Let’s make it quick, shall we? Speedruns are playthroughs of a video game or a part of it performed with the intention of completing it as quickly as possible. This sort of gameplay often involves exploiting bugs, glitches, or complex game mechanics to achieve the fastest times – but mainly skill and determination. 

Gameplay streaming: Streaming involves players broadcasting their gameplay live to an audience. Streaming platforms such as Twitch or YouTube Gaming have made this a popular form of UGC. Streamers interact with their viewers in real-time, building communities around their content and the games they play.

Walkthroughs and guides: Who hasn’t been stuck in a level at some point? Walkthroughs are detailed instructions that help others complete a game or achieve specific goals within the game. These guides can cover everything from basic gameplay to complex strategies or secret elements within the game. They can be textual or in the form of video.

Fan fiction: A form of UGC where fans of a game write their own stories based on the game’s world, characters, or events. These stories can explore elements not covered in the original game, provide alternative scenarios, or delve into the backstory of characters. This form of UGC allows fans to engage with a game’s narrative in creative and personal ways.