[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]
Steam Dev Days was an eye-opening experience for many.
Valve published a lot of data on various aspects
of its business. The company told the audience about the sales
of games, explained the joys of working with Early Access
and dwelled upon revenues generated by user-generated content
(UGC). We were shocked to learn that on average
makers of hats and other objects for Team Fortress 2 and DOTA
2 made $15k each last year. Xsolla found out why UGC was
so profitable and popular on Steam.
Creation of UGC became a profitable career for many
fans of popular online games, Valve said that in 2013
company paid over $10 million to people, who created virtual
objects. The most impressive fact was that only 661 authors
of UGC were registered in Steam.
Gabe Newell said that
hat sales in TF2 were going through the roof, making some
people rich. Some of young modelers earned about half
a million dollars. Experts doubted that this activity will
interesting for the
majority of game fans but from Valve proves that many people
will be glad to get a piece of 10-million
market, which is now owned by less that a thousand
amateurs (this is not entirely true, because among fans
of TF2 there are a lot of professional modelers and
Steam gives a lot of thought in stimulating
activity of the modellers. Valve wants users to make
a lot of their own content and it wants gamers
to profit from it. For example Valve was one of the major
Robotic Boogaloo —
first user-made DLC for TF2. Unlike mobile games, where the winner
takes it all, UGC can guarantee enough profits for every
Valve stated that almost 90% of all objects in Team
Fortress 2 are made by gamers. 17 million of Steam
clients have already bought over 500 million of in-game goods.
During the first weeks of 2014 modelers earned more than
$400k! UGC is popular among Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2 and
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive has over 4700 maps and 20,000
weapon skins created by community members.
- Portal 2 had over 381,000 user generated puzzles. Valve
released a separate editor with simple interface that
is transparent and easy to use.
- Garry’s Mod has over 250,000 UGC.
- PC-version of Skyrim has 19,500 UGC. Bethesda released
a Creation Kit for Creation Engine. This tool extended the
game’s life. Skyrim is still being enjoyed
by thousands of gamers.
Valve is proud to admit, that its users choose the
kind of content they want to get themselves. Unlike many
F2P-centered companies Valve thinks that most of the UGC
available online should give just some esthetical advantages and
make the game more fun. They shouldn’t influence
Recent hit DayZ is a great example of UGC going
commercial. At first this was just a simple mod with huge
community. In a matter of month the new game was
created and its early access launch was successful.
It a couple of days the alpha of the game sold
over a million copies.
Developers think that UGC is the main thing that
differentiates games from movies and literature. This is not
entirely true. A very successful series of erotic novels
«50 Shades of Grey» was initially a fan fiction
created by an avid «Twilight» fan. The author
just changed a couple of names (no more Bella for
you) and a little bit of story and suddently made one
of the most popular novels in the world (60 million
copies sold). Essentially «50 Shades of Grey»
is a mod of «Twilight».
A couple of years ago mods and skins were tools
to extend the game’s lifespan. Today games need
mods as means of additional monetization. UGC suddenly
became big business and we can’t wait to seen
where in will bring the whole gaming industry.
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