From Minecraft to Fortnite, Roblox to Microsoft Flight Simulator, User Generated Content (UGC) turns games into living, thriving, and always-expanding platforms for endless creativity, engagement, monetization, joy, and community.
Leveraging Microsoft’s vast and unique Xbox gaming expertise in cloud development, today I’m excited to announce the launch of Azure PlayFab UGC into preview. Azure PlayFab UGC saves game developers time, money and resources by offering battle-tested solutions for hosting an in-game marketplace. The preview includes:
- The same APIs and tools foundational to Minecraft’s User Generated Content platform. Minecraft added its own custom monetization layer to this framework, empowering its marketplace creators to generate more than $350 million selling mods, add-ons and other experiences, and 1 billion downloads of unique pieces of user-generated content (UGC) directly from the Minecraft Marketplace.
- The team at Asobo Studio leveraged these UGC tools and APIs - along with some custom code - in Microsoft Flight Simulator, helping more than 200 community creators to deliver more than 1 million copies of add-ons within the in-game marketplace for millions of pilots across PC and Xbox Series X|S.
This preview of Azure PlayFab UGC is a standalone system for building create, publish, discover and moderation flows within your title. Monetization capabilities will be coming with PlayFab Economy V2, slated for public preview early 2022.
The preview of these powerful UGC tools further our goal to make Azure is the most open and extensible cloud for game development. And it’s only the beginning. With more than 23 Xbox Game Studios, we’re committed to continuously creating, testing and sharing new tools for creativity and community with Azure game developers to help you realize your visions for games. Whether it’s for Xbox, PC, or another platform, we’re providing the tools to grow.
What is User Generated Content and what’s new from PlayFab?
User Generated Content (UGC) is a broad term that encompasses many aspects of our online lives - a tweet, a photo, and a video are all examples of UGC. In the world of gaming, this tends to be synonymous with mods – texture packs, character skins, even new styles of gameplay!
One of the many benefits of the UGC service is that we designed it with out-of-the-box capabilities that normally require custom engineering and service expertise to develop. PlayFab UGC provides the following key features:
- Easy-to-integrate APIs to allow you to build your own in-game experiences
- Moderation built into the publishing pipeline to ensure content is safe and appropriate for your players
- Search experiences to allow your UGC catalog to scale and players to quickly find interesting content for them
- Review and reporting capabilities to empower players to keep the quality high
PlayFab’s easy-to-integrate APIs allow your players to upload their own creations and share them with the community; powerful search APIs enable players to quickly discover relevant content; and moderation tools (both on the developer and player sides) are built-in to help ensure the content is safe and appropriate for your community.
If you learn best listening to a technical talk, we have a great breakdown of UGC here:
Cultivating a creator community builds a virtuous cycle of engagement – community creates content, players discover and enjoy, those players may become inspired to create their own content, and the cycle repeats. A service like PlayFab User Generated Content invites players to have a larger stake in shaping the community.
How do I get started?
We’ve put together a Quickstart Guide for creating, searching, consuming, and moderating UGC: PlayFab User Generated Content - PlayFab | Microsoft Docs
You’ll need an Azure PlayFab account. Existing customers can log-in, or you can sign up for Free Azure PlayFab account here.
Once logged in to the Game Manager dashboard, navigate to Economy > Catalog (Preview) tab to begin playing with UGC today*.
What does Public Preview mean?
Public Preview simply means we are expanding the audience who has access to a particular tool or service, allowing us to provide more detailed support and coverage before the feature set graduates to General Availability (GA). During this time, we will provide the same support currently in place for the rest of our PlayFab services (however, if you are an Enterprise customer you should contact us for information on how that fits with your model). PlayFab User Generated Content is being used by Xbox Game Studios titles in production today, so feel confident taking dependencies on this service.
You can find our full (100%) pricing here: Pricing (playfab.com)
What’s on the roadmap for PlayFab User Generated Content?
In the short term, we’ll be listening very closely to your feedback, focused primarily on high-impacting bugs you encounter, so please make sure to share your thoughts and issues with us on the PlayFab channel of our Game Stack Discord. Longer term, we have some exciting features, and look forward to sharing those out in the next PlayFab roadmap update.
*Payment instrument added to account required to enable User Generated Content service