The London-based company is the latest to take inspiration from Roblox and Minecraft to endorse the idea of players creating their own mods or game content alongside their favorite games.
Gamers are a passionate bunch, and it’s common for enthusiasts to make creative projects for their favorite pastime, the company said. That includes fan art, mods, videos, memes, GIFs, video guides, and music. These projects are shared on social media, but rarely are the creators of such content able to monetize their efforts. That’s where Playerstate comes in. Playerstate offers a creation platform that allows creative players a way to generate content around or for their favorite games and get rewarded in the process.
Similar to many of today’s most popular social media platforms, Playerstate will allow users to follow others to see what content they’re posting, like and share their favorite posts and join groups, said Dean Anderson, CEO of Playerstate, in an email to GamesBeat.
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The company said it is different because its users can discover creative projects that inspire them and get involved, or they can create their own projects and rally the people they need to bring their projects to life. Projects on the platform can be created by companies or individuals and users can showcase their creative portfolio to help them get noticed and recognized as creators in the industry.
How it works
Playerstate also has a different approach for rewarding creators. It doesn’t matter if a user has been a graphic designer for decades or is a teenager, just starting their career; Playerstate aims to create a flexible environment that doesn’t discriminate between professionals and passionate fans. Everyone on the platform will have the opportunity to participate and everyone on the platform will be rewarded for the value they create, whether they are a professional or not, the company said.
To achieve this, Playerstate offers multiple layers of rewards. Active users will earn experience points (XP) simply by participating in the platform, which will be used to level up, unlock new features, and access revenue share opportunities as the platform scales.
Additionally, project owners will set their own rewards, and this provides another layer of opportunity for creators. Project rewards can range from digital goods like in-game currency and skins, to cash. Projects can be set up and run in two ways; for specialized or time-consuming work, project owners will share briefs and agree on budgets with creators before work has started.
For low-touch, passion-driven projects, project owners can set a project up as a community challenge. For example, a game developer might challenge their community to imagine a new level or character and draw or sketch it. The developer will then build the winning entry and add it to the game. Developers could also use community challenges to incentivize their community to create viral marketing content such as GIFs, memes, video content, or fan art.
Playerstate’s chief marketing officer Visar Statovci and Anderson had been working with the big video game publishers to launch new titles, build communities, and drive community engagement for many years. Statovci owns his own agency with more than 90 people and works with the likes of Supercell, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Riot, and King.
“What we are seeing in the industry is a need for game companies to find new ways to drive player engagement and retention. And we believe user-generated content is the ticket to this,” Anderson said. “And although we are seeing increasing adoption of UGC by triple-A studios, it’s still incredibly expensive to manage due to intellectual property risk, resource needs around community management, and the lack of solutions around player rewarding and compensation.”
Playerstate tries to alleviate these challenges for studios of any size. This means it doesn’t matter if you are a two-person studio working from your bedroom, a 40-person indie studio creating games for licensed properties, or a triple-A developer; any studio can now effectively leverage the benefits of UGC, and the UGC they work with can be anything they like. It’s not just about mods and in-game content, Anderson said.
“As founders, we are all creators at heart, and we are all passionate about video games. For years we have wanted the opportunity to step inside a games studio and help expand the games we love,” Anderson said. “Opportunities for this type of collaboration have always been slim. And opportunities to monetize skills around UGC have been even rarer. We want to change that.”
On top of that, the company doesn’t want to create only inside walled gardens. Anderson wants the opportunity to create all types of content for or around all types of games.
“Our focus is not just on game studios. We are looking to create an environment where everyone wins,” he said. “This includes indie developers, triple-A devs, enthusiast creators, professional creators, and community creators who may only have the ability to sketch an idea or explain their idea in a video.”
The company got a nudge forward as it joined Ubisoft’s Entrepreneurs Lab program in 2019. Early tests on the platform have shown Playerstate has increased community engagement for developers by over 500% in some cases.
As Playerstate enters its early access phase, it’s partnered with game developer RyseUp Studios to embolden the community in developing its rogue-lite shooter Roboquest. Anderson said that many collaborations have been exploitative, where thousands of passionate players help out but they get nothing. In some cases, just a handful of creators get a payout.
In contrast to Roblox, Playerstate will let creators collaborate with each other or developers to create content for any game. The vision is that, in time, individuals will come together on the platform and learn the skills needed to earn a living or create and publish their own games.
Anderson noted that some of its rivals include traditional games development outsourcing studios that offer content production services for studios, but do not offer anything in the way of UGC.
“This is a big market that’s ripe for disruption,” he said.
Lots of competition
Just yesterday, Overwolf announced a $50 million fund to invest in creators of mods for games. Anderson said he is a fan of Overwolf, but he noted that Overwolf focuses on in-game creators (mods and in-game apps).
“The barriers to entry here for creators are high. Generally speaking, creators need to be technically minded to create this kind of content,” he said. “We are focused on lowering the barrier to entry for creators. UGC is not just game mods, in-game apps, or creation within walled gardens. UGC is also weapon skins, character skins, levels, music, video, GIFs, memes, fan art, and much more. Our focus for Playerstate is on the areas of UGC that have low barriers to entry.”
Playerstate has 15 employees, and it was bootstrapped by the founders and a small pre-seed round, with a total of $755,000 raised to date.
Playerstate is not only focused on shrinking the gap between community creators and studios. It also offers creator-to-creator collaboration. In other words, individual creators can set up projects and collaborate in the same way that studios can. As an individual, you can create your own projects and rally the people you need to bring that project to life.
“Our goal is to enable and reward creativity within the games industry. It is not to allow project owners access to cheap production work,” Anderson said.
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