SOE's Player Studio program allows players to earn money submitting new EverQuest or Planetside items for consideration by each game's developers. It comes from the same set of ideas as Valve's Steam Workshop - the notion that any body of players has enough talent within it to substantially expand a game if given the chance, and that this expansion can be tied to economic incentives that benefit everybody.
Player Studio hasn't quite hit Steam Workshop numbers yet. Nobody's posting six-figure salaries for making Planetside 2 hats. But it's growing -
posted by the Planetside 2 team last month talks to creators who are making thousands of dollars through the system.
Player Studio is currently restricted to players in North America, but this is going to change. At an EverQuest Next Landmark event in London on Monday SOE announced that Player Studio would be available in Canada, Germany, France and the UK "on or before" the 31st of May. More countries will follow as SOE navigates the labyrinthine tax laws involved in paying players for their contributions.
Player Studio could end up being huge, particularly when it's incorporated into Landmark - a game that doesn't require you to learn external tools to make saleable new things. At the moment, though, the fact that it's a smaller program is one of its strengths. As competition in the Steam Workshop gets more intense, it's harder for new creators to to get noticed - and even less feasible for Valve to take a curatorial role in ensuring that only good stuff makes it to the top. I admire the way that SOE have been working directly with their community with Player Studio so far, and hope they keep it up as the program grows.