Creator Tools Drive Community Interest and Revenue for Old Call of Duty Games
The Zombies game mode within the popular Call of Duty video game franchise has created a massive community of fans and players who not only play and connect with the developers, but with each other as they try to discover every aspect of each piece of content released for the game.
In two versions of the game, they are even able to create their own content that can be played and shared online with other players. This ability to co-create and remix is the focus of this episode, as it leads to the game being more valuable to all parties, from the game publisher that owns the franchise to the player who plays alone.
But you don’t need to be a fan of Call of Duty: Zombies or even video games in general to take community learnings from this conversation.
MrRoflWaffles is a YouTuber and streamer that has grown his channel to over 1.7 million subscribers and 400 million views. His audience comes to his channel to partake in all things Call of Duty: Zombies –– whether it’s the latest news from Activision or deep dives on Easter eggs. In talking with Patrick, MrRoflWaffles explains how mod tools, which allow you to create new content for the game, and Easter eggs keep Zombies fresh, interesting, and challenging to both expert players and folks that are new to the game.
He also shares his “hungry player theory” –– a theory that even as game studios release more content for their games, players are always hungry for more. And while it’s not possible for game studios to constantly release new content, mod tools put the power of game creation directly in the hands of the community.
What tools and tailored experiences can you offer to your community members?
MrRoflWaffles and Patrick discuss:
- Extending the play life of your game and your community by giving your members tools to create
- The importance of communicating through game dev challenges
- How mod tools can alleviate pressure from game studios and developers
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How mod tools have created an endless Zombies experience (10:52): “I’m very close with a number of developers that have made [Zombies] maps or contributed to making maps over the years. Some of the things they have been able to create are so unbelievably unique. It means that a player today can think they know the bounds of what’s possible in Zombies and then they can dip into the customs community a bit and their minds will be totally blown because it doesn’t even feel like [Call of Duty] anymore.” –@MrRoflWaffles
A game with custom content never gets stale (16:33): “As a [content] creator, [the mods community] fills a gap in a really powerful way that just makes my life easier because things are more dynamic and more fresh. They don’t get so stale so quickly with [the ability to create] customs.” –@MrRoflWaffles
Custom content provides breathing room for game studios and a creative outlet for community members (19:32): “Games take a long time to develop and updates take time to develop. The devs cannot keep pace with the appetite of the people playing the games these days. They just cannot do it. Having an extra pool of [custom content] to dip into at any time is incredible from a creator perspective and from a fan perspective, too.” –@MrRoflWaffles
Custom maps provides an experience for every level of Zombie player (26:17): “Treyarch is making [the official Call of Duty: Zombies] maps for everyone. Whereas the custom map maker, they can decide [to] target the top 1% of players, the most hardcore Easter egg experience possible, and then deliver, [which means] that community is spoken to and has the experience they want. Or, they could make them with no Easter eggs if they see fit. Then the more casual fans can jump in as well.” –@MrRoflWaffles
“Hungry player theory” and gamers’ needs for more content (30:13): “[Explaining the hungry player theory]: I think people just get hungrier and hungrier and each new map satisfies them less and less and less. Even though in the exact moment of its release, it’s great, you end up with something that then just makes people want more and more and more and more and it spirals out of control a little bit.” –@MrRoflWaffles
Open communication is imperative for any community (36:11): “[As a game developer], making sure that you stay involved in the conversation and bring the community with you as you fix [bugs and problems], and you’re honest about things when they don’t go so well is, in my opinion, a really big asset for any team that is trying to make a game or build any kind of community with any kind of product.” –@MrRoflWafflesAbout MrRoflWaffles
MrRoflWaffles, Milo, is a YouTuber and streamer based out of London, UK. He started his current YouTube channel in 2009, while in secondary school, and today has over 1.7 million subscribers and over 400 million lifetime views. MrRoflWaffles is very interested in the wider workings of the creator economy, game development, digital culture, and the intersection of all of the above.Related Links
- Sponsor: Vanilla, a one-stop-shop for online community
- MrRoflWaffles on Twitter
- MrRoflWaffles on YouTube
- MrRoflWaffles YouTube playlist explaining the Zombies storyline
- Treyarch, the creators of the Zombies game mode
- NoahJ456 on YouTube
- This Zombies Mode Was Designed to Fail…
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