Jade Raymond Says Fans, Not Developers, Will Drive The Franchises Of The Future

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Jade Raymond has seen the future, and the future is user-generated content. The former Stadia VP, who helped create hit franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs, argues in a recent blog post hosted by a venture capital firm that the biggest game franchises will rely just as much (if not more) on fans to create content and context than the game developers themselves.

“The goal of a game is no longer to be the most buzzworthy topic of conversation at launch; it’s to become the context for buzzworthy conversations,” she writes. “In other words: if the original Assassin’s Creed was gearing up to be the opening night of Hamilton, we want future IPs to be a neighborhood bar where people talk about whatever the latest Hamilton is: the place that is perennially cool, comfortable, and welcoming–because the patrons are driving the conversation and, in fact, are the stars of the show.”

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Raymond cites Star Wars as an example of a franchise that is essentially owned by fans, despite George Lucas’s well-known resistance to fanfiction. She says that her work on The Sims is what first made her realize the power of user-generated content, because tens of millions of players have used the game to act out their own original stories. She also argues that the ongoing shift towards a games as a service (GAAS) model will likely continue, because it facilitates “lightweight” game interactions that can act as a substitute for real-life social interaction.

“When it’s not possible to have people over for a barbecue in the real world, you can fire up a cooking station in Valheim,” she writes. “…Whether it’s in Valheim, Animal Crossing, Fortnight Creative, or Minecraft, the past year of quarantine has shown us that shared creative gameplay is the glue that binds communities.”

The full blog post touches on a wide variety of topics besides those mention above, so if you’re interested in Raymond’s perspective, check out the link above. Raymond recently founded a new game studio in Montreal called Haven, which is working on an original IP for PlayStation platforms. This new studio follows the high-profile collapse of Stadia Games and Entertainment, and Haven recently hired other ex-Stadia developers in the wake of those layoffs.

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