It wasn't long ago that user-generated content was a feature only the biggest PC games supported. Back then, mods were generally total conversions that gave rise to classics like Counter-Strike (Half-Life), DotA/LoL (Warcraft 3), PUGB/Fortnite (ArmA 3) and many others.
Mods in more places
Fast forward a few years and modding is emerging in more places than ever. Platforms like Steam Workshop and our own mod.io that make modding accessible to more players via in-game interfaces means even the smallest games can support healthy communities of creators. A shift towards cosmetic and item-like mods has helped this trend, and plays well with the persistent service-based style modern games try to adopt. Cross-platform play and first party games like Super Mario Maker, Minecraft and Dreams has opened up the door to mods appearing on consoles, with a handful of studios like Paradox Interactive and Bethesda leading the charge. All in all the future is bright for gamers who like to create, or want more content for their favorite games.
Mobile the next frontier
Today is another big day in the history of modding with Supercell launching Make, their content creation platform. What's interesting about this, is for the longest time UGC hasn't really happened on mobile because creating content on the device is severely limited by the form factor and tools available, and mobile platforms are still quite closed when it comes to custom content. We've never really considered the first point a barrier to entry, because passionate modders will always find a way to personalize and mod their favorite games. Clearly Supercell doesn't consider this a barrier to entry either, because in order to make content for Brawl Stars they recommend you use traditional PC 3D modelling tools.
However, whether it is deliberate or by design, or the fact that mobile is still quite a closed platform, it appears that in order for your content to make it into the game, you need to win a submission process and be picked by the Supercell team + community. Despite this limitation, this is an incredible first step for UGC on mobile from such an influential company in the space, and we look forward to seeing others follow in their footsteps.
What's next for modding
Despite the fact that modding has been around for 20+ years now, the next few years are going to get really interesting. Content is such a powerful and user-friendly way of retaining players and building goodwill. With competition for attention fiercer than ever, games that are serious about engaging players long-term, opening up to support UGC feels like the perfect way to do it. Your players will thank you with their loyalty, and that will in-time open up new business models and ways to succeed that haven't been considered yet.
Talk to us about modding in your game
If you like what Supercell are doing and want to explore new ways to succeed with UGC in your game on mobile or elsewhere, we'd love to chat to you. We are big believers in the future of UGC, and have built a cross-platform mod API @ mod.io that includes all the features Supercell have, and are ready to power your users creativity in bold new ways.