Game of the UGC Platform Throne
Epic Games vs Roblox, the battle of the titans begin.
I enjoyed attending Game Developers’ Conference 2023 last week, and the energy there is always inspiring. For those unfamiliar, it’s essentially the excitement of what E3 releases were for players but for game developers worldwide.
And 2023’s definitely didn’t disappoint.
For those unfamiliar, my core focus is creating immersive gaming experiences for music artists and brands in the metaverse. Our company specializes in bringing these brands into the space.
Our primary platform is Roblox, so this announcement was a massive deal for me.
The UGC platform landscape is ever-evolving, and we're always looking for the next big thing. So much so that I shared my criteria for determining what a “viable” platform could be — since I’m constantly checking new ones out.
Right now, it seems like the Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) is gearing up to take on Roblox — and they’re doing it in all the right ways.
Announced during Epic's "State of Unreal" presentation at GDC, UEFN is an ambitious upgrade to Fortnite Creative that brings the power of Unreal Engine 5 into the mix, allowing for entirely new creations and games to be developed inside Fortnite (yeah, the Battle Royale game).
Unlike previous Fortnite Creative, UEFN features landscape editing abilities, an intuitive in-game mode for quick playtesting, the ability to upload custom assets, and a custom programming language called Verse for fine-tuning game mechanics.
So what are the key areas UEFN needs to focus on to be that Roblox killer? IMO it comes down to a few areas:
A critical balance of user-friendliness and advanced controls: Roblox has thrived thanks to its ease of use and low barrier to entry. UEFN must offer a similarly intuitive and accessible interface, giving casual creators the tools to bring their ideas to life without overwhelming them. However, easy buttons aren’t the only factor; true masterpieces are made when developers have the tools to make complex experiences.
Foster a vibrant community: Roblox's massive user base of creators and players is a significant factor in its success. UEFN must cultivate an engaged, supportive community that encourages creativity, collaboration, and friendly competition. That community must be passionate about building and playing these islands — not just the Battle Royale modes.
Provide diverse content: Variety is the spice of life, and Roblox has it in spades. UEFN must offer various game genres, styles, and experiences to appeal to the broadest possible audience. They can do this by offering advanced tooling and more customization to developers.
Offer monetization options: Roblox allows creators to monetize their games, incentivizing talented developers to create high-quality content. UEFN must follow suit, providing a fair revenue-sharing model that rewards creators for their hard work. Right now, they’re doing that with their “Creator Economy 2.0” initiative, but we need to see if this is enough.
As of now, Roblox still keeps its lead and touts impressive growth each quarter. To stay ahead, Roblox must:
Innovate continuously: With UEFN on its tail, Roblox must keep pushing the envelope, adding new features, tools, and capabilities to maintain its status as a cutting-edge platform. This also includes reaching engine parity in many areas where Unreal Engine 5 has a lead.
Prioritize user experience: Roblox should keep refining its user interface, making it even more seamless and enjoyable for creators and players. They also need to make it more accessible for non-Roblox players to onboard to the platform and experience some content with as little friction as possible.
Nurture its community: Roblox must continue to support its passionate user base, providing resources, educational content, and opportunities for creators to grow their skills and expand their horizons. They’re definitely willing already, and continuing to invest in this area will only further the lead.
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Roblox's most significant lead right now is the size of its audience and player base and the openness of what its platform supports. With the right improvements, UEFN has the potential to become a true competitor for Roblox and take a significant portion of the audience. As both platforms continue to grow and evolve, it's an exciting time for creators and players alike.
What are your thoughts on UEFN?