User generated content is something of a hot issue, with even universities like Stanford getting in on the game of how to make it easier and more intuitive for people to make their own stuff for games. At the recent Social Gaming Summit, a couple of industry types got together to talk about user generated content in virtual worlds, and why the model works for their games (such as Habbo Hotel or Puzzle Pirates):
"The more tools that you provide can lead to richer behavior, but often it's the simpler things that people enjoy most," began Daniel James, CEO of Three Rings. "As designing games constraints can lead you to designing better games, constrained environments can lead to more fun."
"The simplest games are the ones everybody can join in and play," expanded Ted Rheingold, founder of Dogster and Catster.
The panel also went on to discuss why we should think of 'virtual spaces' instead of 'virtual worlds' when looking at game design — design from the avatar up, not the 'world' down. Clearly this would not work for everything, but with casual MMOGs getting ever more popular, probably not a bad idea to go forward from for some developers.
Why User-Generated Content Matters For Games