There’s been a lot of focus in the techie world over the last few years on user-created content. We all know that sites like YouTube have taken the internet world by storm, and similar sites crop up every day. New Media Musings provides a great breakdown of the different ways grassroots videos, like those found on YouTube, reach their audience and break the framework of how we use the internet.
But videos, blogs, mash-ups and others forms of expression that make the internet fun again are only a few of the ways grassroots expression are taking over. With the recent announcement of XBox Live’s addition of “Community Created Games” at this year’s GDC, Microsoft has opened the door for consoles to join the budding community of grassroots gaming.
According to the press release on the topic, “By the end of 2008, Xbox 360 owners will have access to more than 1,000 games, making it the largest, most creatively diverse library across all next-generation platforms.” As cool as this is, it’s only one aspect of the movement.
Like YouTube revolutionized the way we both use the internet and view videos, this addition to XBox live is set to take user created gaming to a level where every gamer, even cusual players, have access to user created content. Gamers can learn to interact with their games in ways they never considered.
As most players of large scale PC games, like Total War , will tell you, user created content abounds in this world. Players are creating mod’s of every kind, from Arthurian to George R. R. Martin, and gamers are actually playing them! The difference, besides platform, between this type of content and the stuff we’ll be seeing (and are already seeing) on XBox live lies in the accessibility of the creation, and the ability of creators to get their games out there. Not to mention the amazing opportunities for creativity.
According to microsoft, the four “key steps” to their user created content are “Create, Submit, Peer Review, Play.” And, based on my kowledge of gamers and their love to go on and on about what they think of a game, these steps will be happening.
Sure, some games will probably suck. But in general, I think we should give gamers some credit for creativity. If Jelly Car is any indication, there’s going to be some kick-ass stuff coming out through this community.
Grassroots gaming could very well be the wave of the future. How to include it in libraries? Programming options abound. On top of that, librarians should be aware of these developments, so when a thirteen year old gamer comes in looking for information on how to make his (or her!) own games, we’re there to help.