It truly is amazing that the video game industry is so heavily divided on the topic of user-made game mods. I truly don’t understand it. My take has always been very simple: mods are good for gamers and even better for game makers. Why? Simple, mods serve to extend the useful life of video games by adding new ways to play them and therefore making them more valuable, they can serve to fix or make better the original game thereby doing some of the game makers work for them for free, and can simply keep a classic game relevant decades later thanks to a dedicated group of fans of a franchise that continues to be a cash cow to this day.
On the other hand are all the studios and publishers that somehow see mods as some kind of threat, even outside of the online gaming space. Take Two, Nintendo, EA: the list goes on and on and on. In most of those cases, it simply appears that control is preferred by the publisher over building an active community and gaining all the benefits that come along with that modding community.
And then there’s Capcom, which recently made some statements essentially claiming that for all practical purposes mods are just a different form of cheating and that mods hurt the gaming experience for the public.
As spotted by GamesRadar, during an October 25 Capcom R&D presentation about its game engine, cheating, and piracy, the company claims that mods are “no different” than cheats, and that they can hurt game development.
“For the purposes of anti-cheat and anti-piracy, all mods are defined as cheats,” Capcom explained. The only exception to this are mods which are “officially” supported by the developer and, as Capcom sees it, all user-created mods are “internally” no different than cheating.
Capcom goes on to say that some mods with offensive content can be “detrimental” to a game or franchise’s reputation. The publisher also explained that mods can create new bugs and lead to more players needing support, stretching resources, and leading to increased game development costs or even delays. (I can’t help but feel my eyes starting to roll…)
I’m sorry, but just… no. No to pretty much all of this. Mods do not need to be defined as cheats, particularly in offline single player games. Mods are mods, cheats are cheats. There are a zillion different aesthetic and/or quality of life mods that exist for hundreds of games that fall into this category. Skipping intro videos for games, which I do in Civilization, cannot possibly be equated to cheating within the game, but that’s a mod.
As to the claim that mods increase development time because support teams have to handle requests from people using mods that are causing problems within the games… come on, now. Support and dev teams are very distinct and I refuse to believe this is a big enough problem to even warrant a comment.
As to offensive mods, here I have some sympathy. But I also have a hard time believing that the general public is really looking with narrow eyes at publishers of games because of what third-party mods do to their product. Mods like that exist for all kinds of games and those publishers and developers appear to be getting on just fine.
Whatever the reason behind Capcom’s discomfort with mods, it should think long and hard about its stance and decide whether it’s valid. We have seen time and time again examples of modding communities being a complete boon to publishers and I see no reason why Capcom should be any different.
So they allow people to play the game in new and unexpected ways. The same does go for cheats. Sometimes you just don’t have the patience to do that boss fight for the 100th time. Sometimes you just want to get through the game. Sometimes you want to play that super 1/1000 drop chance rare item. If you’re not online, then mod and cheat the hell out of the game. It yours! You paid for it, installed the code on your hard drive. It’s out of the hands of the publisher.
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