Make Your Own Fun!… Sort of. Also, pay for it.

“Prosumers”

It’s a good word, that one.

Last year I started playing a modification (Mod) of an existing game called DayZ. Basically, a developer  (generally amateur or independent) will tweak an already published video game and release the produced ‘Mod’ for other gamers to play. In this case a game (ARMA II) was modded into an apocalyptic survival simulator and released onto the internet for free. The Mod, though, requires the original game to be played. Faced with this rub, I purchased a game that I would not have otherwise.

I wasn’t the only one buying this game, though, and in a matter of months the number of ARMA II games sold skyrocketed to the point that a game released in 2009 to a very niche market was atop the best selling list on PC distribution platform Steam for 7 straight weeks. An old game was reborn through the dedicated work of a small group of third party developers and, almost overnight, the original producers of ARMA (Bohemia Interactive) started receiving millions of dollars in new game sales.

This is what links to ‘prosuming’. Mods allow an existing product to be changed and redistributed to the benefit not just of the notoriety of the modders, but also to the financial gain of the company that produced the original content. Games are produced, sold to consumer, consumers consume and eventually reproduce. This business model is the same that we see in regard to Social Media, where a medium is created and then supported by prosumers. 

DayZ is only one of the scores of mods available to gamers. As games become more common and mainstream a form of entertainment in modern media I have no doubt that modding too shall expand. In that time it will be up to game developers, studios and companies to start producing content that encourages and nurtures modding to best cash in on the ‘prosuming’ trend.

I totally stuck to my word count this time. High Fives all ’round.

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