One of my takeaways from the Creativity for Everyone panel was that as media becomes easier to create and share, everyone is developing their own brand.
It doesn't take long to write a blog post, put up a home video, or display artwork or photographs. Because many of the old barriers to self-expression have been taken down, people are joining the global conversation in droves.
By using new media to participate and interact, people are effectively creating brands for themselves. And they enjoy doing it.
This isn't news to web developers, but it's interesting looking at it from a gaming perspective.
People aren't just creating brands with websites like Facebook, Flickr and deviantART - they're using games like Second Life, Spore, and LittleBigPlanet to create in-game content that enriches and differentiates their personal brands.
So how can we, as game developers, help players nurture their own brands?
In my opinion, games that have the following components already help players. The more games that incorporate these features, the better!
- Tools that let players meet/find each other easily
- Engaging multiplayer play that allows players to communicate
- Character and gameplay customization that lets players express their personal tastes
- Systems that enable and encourage social networking outside of the game (and inside the game, if the game type allows for it)
- Tools that help players create and share some form of game content
- Methods whereby players can experience and rate other players' shared content
- Rewards that both commemorate and display players' gameplay choices, and those that reward excellent shared content