Wednesday, December 03, 2008

mods for console games

I'm more of a console gamer these days, but I still enjoy games on both my 360 and my PC. Because my computer is old now and I like being able to lounge as I play games, I tend to buy the console version of multi-platform games. But one factor I always consider before making that choice is mods. When a game is popular with modders, then their creations can add many hours of fresh gameplay and even refinement of old gameplay.

User-generated content is increasingly common in console games (Little Big Planet, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Halo 3, etc). But console players are still limited to in-game toolsets, few of which are near as extensive as the Aurora toolset provided in Neverwinter Nights. Consoles have yet to see anything like this -- hundreds of mods, including graphical touch-ups, UI changes, new areas/levels, new skills, new items, and complete revamps. Total conversion mods, such as the Iron Grip mod for Half-Life 2, are unheard of in console games.

Now, I'm not denying that the inherent differences between current consoles and PCs matter in regard to modding potential. But if we can create console games from the PC, why can't we mod them from the PC?

Developers, do you worry about the resale market? While I generally agree with Gamestop CEO Dan DeMatteo, consider how much longer players would hold onto your game if a mod community could constantly refresh your game content at no charge to you. Modding can even improve game sales in general. I'm more likely to buy a game if I know modders will expand its replay value.

Mods for console games seems like a no-brainer. Shouldn't this be a goal?

1 comment:

  1. I think a huge part of it -- at least on the 360 platform -- is Microsoft. Their policies on patching whatsoever has been a huge hurdle for putting an MMOG on the platform. At least Sony's network (do they actually have a "network?") doesn't seem to care. Microsoft also likes to charge microtransactions for DLC for at least 6 months.

    I agree, though, I'd love to see a Steam approach where if I own, say HL2, and modders make new maps or even a whole new modded game, that I have the option of downloading the mod/DLC to my drive.

    Maybe someday...

    I was upset I lost PlayOn now that my beta expired... I don't know that I'm up for paying $30 for a license. I'd thought since MS made the deal with Netflix that a deal with Hulu would also make sense, but Hulu has a lot (not all, not by a longshot) of the shows MS already *rents* in their Video Marketplace, so I can see from a business standpoint where that would hurt them if Hulu streams it for free. Then again, do very many people actually pay per episode to rent those?


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