Interesting article re: leveraging user generated content in and around games. You really should read the whole thing at clickz but here’s some snippets:

Reinforcing the value of UGGC, Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer for “Gears of War,” said, “For a PC title that expects any sort of longevity in sales, playability, and online time, a mod community can be extremely important. Having thousands of fans of the game purchase and then modify the title while exchanging the fruits of their labor can turn a simple game into its own gaming platform.” (clickz)

You have to understand the Chuck Norris Facts in-jokes to appreciate this WoW reference, maybe?

I extracted out the marketing bit from clickz:

Marketer Opportunities

  • The mod, machinima, and indie game sectors offer communities of leaders and early adopters.
  • Through association or integration, UGGC’s viral potential affords marketers a low-cost opportunity to disseminate a message to millions of consumers.
  • Mods, machinima, and independent games can be utilized to deliver a product message while offering studio-quality entertainment that’s worth playing or watching. It’s an incredibly powerful way for a marketer to get in the game while avoiding the pitfalls of integration into the original game.
  • Sponsorship and underwriting expresses a marketer’s commitment to consumer empowerment.
  • Commissioning of top mod teams, indie game developers, and machinima producers will usher an age of advergames played by millions.
  • Effective marketing strategies that leverage UGGC garners attention from mainstream and game industry journalists, ultimately driving tremendous awareness and exposure for the marketer.

In sum, user-generated game content offers both the game industry and marketers an unparalleled way to connect with valuable consumers, influencers, early adopters, today’s top talent, and tomorrow’s top developers who influence the purchase decisions of millions within their communities.

I still think that games will stop being “games” and become interactive movies or user generated entertainment, in spite of how geeky it all looks at the moment. Entertainment is moving on… the cinema is dead, long live consumer generated entertainment!