Microsoft Azure Champions “User Generated Content”

Gambling is serious business. Beyond the fact that the video game industry is worth billions of dollars each year and therefore clearly ranks as a separate business entity, the use of video games is believed to improve cognitive skills, enhance eye coordination. hand and fuel a load of the user’s personal gamification – which is a kind of indefinable measure of an individual’s desire to succeed and overcome obstacles in real life (IRL).

Gambling is also an increasingly user-customizable activity. Players were first presented with options for adaptability of the game’s build back to the 80s in pinball, motorcycle and platform games Mario. These rudimentary so-called “level editors” allowed non-programmers to modify the basic structures inside games and create what we now call user-generated content.

The era of user-generated content

Now well advanced from its inception, user-generated content (or now UGC for short) has become a paradigm in itself. As the game software developers of Microsoft’s Azure PlayFab division point out, “User-generated content brings communities together to transform games like Minecraft, Flight Simulator and Roblox into thriving and ever-evolving platforms. By providing game developers with a robust set of tools for creating open environments for gamers, they can deepen engagement while allowing individual creators to share and monetize their work.

This monetization is important, gambling is now a serious, customizable, monetizable activity.

Next, let’s move on to Microsoft Azure PlayFab UGC. This is a core framework technology (currently in public preview) that exists behind the marketplaces for Minecraft and Microsoft Flight Simulator. It allows these games to host and facilitate the operation of UGC systems (where creators can host and sell their content, gamers can browse and search for items to buy, etc.).

Implementing these frameworks in a game from scratch can be time consuming and resource intensive for the developers, but they are extremely important in stimulating and fostering continued community engagement. As the UGC economy begins to grow, companies like Microsoft with its Azure PlayFab cloud platform are keen to foster this type of business as it attracts more gamers, content creators, and related parties.

Micosoft’s open economic theory

All of this means that Microsoft is also allowing non-Microsoft gaming software developers to use Azure PlayFab UGC – the business logic is the same as Microsoft saying they love Linux, i.e. if you insist on creating and programming for non-Microsoft platform technologies, then Redmond is fine with that, if you use Microsoft platform technologies to do so.

As Microsoft itself puts it, “The overview of these powerful UGC tools reinforces our goal of making Azure the most open and extensible cloud for game development. Whether it’s for Xbox, PC, or some other platform, we provide the tools to grow.

To get back to basics for a moment, Microsoft Azure is obviously the company’s cloud services platform and Microsoft Azure Playfab is the games backend part of the cloud used to build games and run managed game services such as real-time analytics and what’s known as LiveOps (the operational requirements of live backend data services needed to ensure we can all zap alien, zombie, and villain foundations when we need to.

Logically, the loop is closed then Microsoft Azure PlayFab UGC is the part of the gaming cloud services platform that aims to drive player engagement and create new (sometimes monetizable) layers like this focused on user-generated content.

The concept here is based on the suggestion that where software game developers make the effort to cultivate a community of creators, they can build a virtuous cycle of engagement. Microsoft suggests that as a community creates content that gamers discover and enjoy, those gamers can be inspired to create their own content… and the cycle repeats. That’s a big part of the rationale and perhaps the validation of why Redmond worked to create a service like Azure PlayFab UGC in the first place.

What does user content look like?

Microsoft says the world of UGC is a big church, and the term itself can embody a lot of different things. “User Generated Content (UGC) is a broad term that encompasses many aspects of our online life: a tweet, a photo and a video are all examples of UGC. In the gaming world, this tends to be synonymous with mods [modifications], texture packs, character skins and even new playstyles, ”the Azure PlayFab team wrote in a blog.

In more commercially developed terms, five of the most active vendors in this space have racked up over US $ 1 million in UGC revenue since the August 2020 launch of the next-gen version of Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox. They’ve done this primarily by making and selling game mods and add-ons for the game, which include everything from updated maps to new planes, missions, and more.

Since April of this year, Minecraft Market makers have generated over $ 350 million selling mods, add-ons, and other so-called gaming “experiences.” Players downloaded 1 billion unique content directly from the Minecraft Marlet. To make this happen at the software engineering level, both Minecraft and Microsoft Flight Simulator Added custom monetization layers to application programming interfaces (APIs) and tools featured in the Azure PlayFab UGC toolset.

The Azure PlayFab coding team claims that its easy-to-integrate APIs allow players to upload their own creations and share them with the community. There are also search APIs built into the system (a Google Maps for content processing navigation if you will) to allow players to quickly discover relevant content. There are also moderation tools (both on the developer and player side) built in to ensure that the content is safe and appropriate for the community.

The rise of the UGC economy

It’s certainly true that software engineers thrive on community engagement, gamers thrive on extras, bonuses, and so-called Easter eggs (the game’s hidden features are usually only found by die-hard enthusiasts and game finishers) and we all thrive on interconnectivity at a time when some of it has been difficult to live with as we always did.

While many tips, tricks, guides, and walkthroughs on game content are available for free, in the professional commercial world of game app development and its associated communities, there is still no such thing as a free lunch. … And 99% of sites with game guide content with advertising on them.

As the UGC economy grows, the games industry becomes more fun, more competitive, more fun and yet more serious. It’s time to take it to the next level.

About Jon Moses

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