Doug Lombardi, marketing director of Valve Software, says console systems must embrace user-created content if they want to remain relevant in the online gaming market.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Lombardi said, “Half-Life 1 was okay as a multiplayer game and Team Fortress Classic was really good, but Counter-Strike kicked both their asses no question. And that came from a kid going to college in Canada and another kid going to high school in New Jersey, who had our code and thought it would be cool to play our game.”
Consoles are only just beginning to make use of user-generated content as part of the overall gaming experience, a prime example being LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation 3. Developed by Media Molecule, the team behind Rag Doll Kung Fu, the upcoming LittleBigPlanet will allow players to design characters, objects and levels that can be shared online in cooperative gameplay.
“The PC hast that great advantage,” Lombardi said, “has had that great advantage, and it comes from multiplayer and modding starting in the early 90s, and (online) multiplayer only showing up on consoles in 2000 or 2001.”
“You’ve got a freeway set up on the PC and you’ve got this dirt road with roadblocks all over it on consoles in terms of getting user-made content out there,” he added.
Games that include level-editing tools designed for the PC that are then released for consoles are often just repackaged for console systems with the editing elements removed. Lombardi said that will likely also happen with upcoming Valve titles such as Portal.
“I think the platform holders are always going to need certification, which means it’s usually going to have to be a commercial thing,” he said.