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When we visualize popular games such as Fortnite, Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V, and Roblox, the common image that often comes to mind is that of enthusiastic children huddled around their screens, engrossed in the process of building and battling within the richly detailed and vibrant virtual worlds these games provide. Yes, it's undeniable that platforms of this kind have seen an explosive rise in popularity among the younger demographics. However, to label them as mere sources of entertainment would be doing a disservice to the broader impact they have.

Serious developers, it's time to shift your perspective and recognize the potential of these platforms. These Games-as-a-Platform (GaaP) powerhouses are not just games, but transformative forces in the business landscape. They are unlocking innovative new business models, radically redefining the concept of audience engagement, and serving as real-world testing grounds for technologies poised to shape the future. The paradigm has shifted — it's no longer just about fun and games anymore. The new mantra is about using these platforms to stay ahead of the curve, anticipate trends, and harness the power of technology to create new opportunities.

Shifting Dynamics in Game Development

In the past, major players such as Activision, Blizzard, and Rockstar (in Grand Theft Auto V in 2017) have attempted to prohibit modding in their games, viewing it as a threat to the original game source code. This has caused significant outrage among their communities. On the other hand, when Bethesda introduced paid mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2015, it was met with a great deal of backlash from gamers. Following the announcement, Steam was flooded with negative reviews of paid mod bundles and even Skyrim itself.

While some companies have taken a traditional approach to fighting against UGC or mods, others have embraced the trend.

“Modding has been an integral part of the gaming industry since its early days.” - says Pawel Wilk, CEO of Ice Code Games, a rapidly growing game developer & creator of Hard West II

Traditionally, game development followed a linear path from idea to release, providing finite content. However, GaaP revolutionizes this model. Here, games evolve constantly, shaped not just by the developer, but also by the community. Open-ended experiences, regular content updates, and feedback loops are at the heart of these platforms. The benefits are manifold, including reduced reliance on large sequels for continuous revenue. The power of a deeply engaged community and built-in playtesting on a large scale also stand out.

Not Just for Kids – The Numbers Say it All

The user demographics and revenues of these platforms tell a compelling story. The continued popularity of games based on UGC, such as Roblox or Minecraft, shows that game modding has proved to be a significant source of revenue. For instance, Roblox generated $2.2 billion of revenue in 2022, while Minecraft has over 600 million active players and sells 22 million copies annually. Overwolf has also announced royalties paid out to creators and a new fund for game community creation around modding.

When done strategically, brand collaborations have revolutionized how businesses connect with their target audiences. Gone are the days of traditional, static advertisements. Instead, these partnerships tap into the involved brands’ shared values and creative power. With careful targeting, a single collaboration can reach a whole new set of customers, fostering deeper engagement and trust. For example, Gucci's virtual experiences on Roblox showcase how a luxury fashion house can reach younger, trend-forward audiences while demonstrating their willingness to engage with cutting-edge platforms.

The results of successful collaborations go beyond immediate sales. When brands unite their identities, particularly on new or trending platforms, they're not just selling products – they're shaping brand perception. These partnerships allow for more daring experiments with messaging. Whether the goal is to appear modern, playful, or conscious of social trends, these ventures send a message to an audience who are keen to feel understood by the brands they support. This kind of brand storytelling generates far more loyalty and long-term value than one-sided advertising ever could.

Beyond Entertainment and Marketing – Serious Applications

GaaP holds promise in realms beyond pure entertainment. From a pedagogic perspective, GaaP could offer tailored learning experiences through simulations and gamification. Like a marketing campaign for the Skoda automotive brand in Roblox, which also teaches kids about cycling and driving safety rules:

GaaP serves as a sandbox for experimenting with emerging technologies like AI and VR within a dynamic, user-filled environment. The world of professional development benefits from GaaP as well. Industries reliant on spatial design, like architecture or manufacturing, can harness these platforms for collaborative prototyping and visualization. Companies can create safe, dynamic simulations for training, onboarding, and testing hazardous scenarios with little real-world risk. For example - some companies are experimenting with onboarding zones or training within Spatial, a UGC-powered tooling based on the Unity game engine.

With tools built for user-generated content in GaaP spaces, experts can swiftly create tailored scenarios for a wide range of industries. This eliminates the need for costly one-off software development, opening up training and simulation to even smaller businesses.

Developer Testimonials - ReadyCode as the Bridge

Many game developers would want to achieve the level of popularity or capabilities of the above-mentioned platforms. Traditionally, transforming a game into a true Games-as-a-Platform environment would require extensive overhauls to the codebase. This would not only demand high resources, but it could also take months, if not years. ReadyCode shortens this process drastically. Our unique combination of in-game editing tools and infrastructure empowers developers to open up their game to modding within mere weeks. Communities get the tools to express their creativity, leading to greater content variety, longer engagement, and that 'evergreen' quality sought by most game studios.

Crucially, ReadyCode understands that community-created content needs discoverability to thrive. Our deep integrations with platforms like CurseForge, mod.io, and Steam Workshop streamline the process for both modders and new players.

“The impact UGC is having on games has been profound in the last few years. We’re seeing mods on consoles and mobile for the first time, paired with in-game UI’s for UGC discovery, which are presented with prominence like DLC, paving the way for creator economies to flourish. At mod.io we’re doing our part to solve the pipeline, safety, discovery, community, and marketplace pieces required, but implementing support for creating UGC remains a challenge, so it’s exciting to see ReadyCode making inroads to address this.” - states Scott Reismanis, CEO & co-founder of mod.io.

Creators can share their work on established marketplaces, reaching a larger audience with ease. Players, in turn, can effortlessly browse and install mods, enhancing their own experience through the community's diverse offerings. This synergy between creation and discoverability is what propels a static game into the lively ecosystem found in true Games-as-a-Platform environments.


It's high time we shift away from the age-based stigma attached to platforms like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox. The benefits of adopting a GaaP mindset are extensive, from innovation and community engagement to real-world applications. As we look to the future, we might find that UGC-powered games are not just a niche, but the new normal. So, it's worth considering how even a small-scale shift towards GaaP could open doors you hadn't considered. Let's embrace the future of game development that UGC offers.

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