Bethesda has opened a can of worms by supporting game mods for console games. Or it may be more accurate to say they’ve opened a can of rattlesnakes and dumped it in everybody’s lap just before leaving on holiday.
What’s the problem? People are downloading mods from the Nexus modding site and uploading them to Bethesda.net without permission from the creators of those mods. Worse, Bethesda’s response so far has been “file a DMCA complaint.” Worst of all, quite a few console gamers are mocking modders and cheering on the thieves as heroes.
This is absolutely reprehensible. It doesn’t matter that they’re free. It doesn’t matter that we created these mods for the general public to enjoy. These are our creations, owned by us, and we have a moral and legal right to control if and how they are distributed.
The modding community is understandably enraged by all this. There has always been a certain antagonism between PC gamers and console gamers. This situation practically invites open warfare between us.
To my absolute and horrified dismay, I have seen dozens of modders discussing ways of adding various forms of DRM to their mods to make sure they can’t be used on a console. I’ve seen modders discuss ways to brick save files, leave the player stuck in an area they can’t escape, to target them with infinite waves of Supermutant Suiciders, and other malicious mischief.
To say I am disgusted by this is an understatement. I’ve been arguing against these ideas in a private modders forum, but I get the impression my arguments are falling on deaf ears. If this sort of thing becomes a common practice, I may quit the modding scene entirely.
I want to make a few things clear to the users of my mods.
To all users: I promise to you, right here, in writing, that I will never sabotage any of my mods for any reason.
At the extreme, I might include a script that pops up a one-time message to console users letting them know someone may have stolen my mod and asking them to report it. I will never, ever attempt to sabotage a game or save file by any form of mischief. The very idea disgusts me to my core.
To console gamers: I am absolutely a member of the PC Gamer Master Race. I don’t like your console. But hey, I like you just fine. We’re all gamers here and that’s all that matters to me. If you want to use my mods on your CrapBox One or FailStation 4, I have no problem with that. The problem is that you’re not allowed to install them from any source except Bethesda’s service. That’s Bethesda’s rule, not mine. Please direct complaints to them, not to me.
Why don’t I like your console? Well, there’s a long list, but bullshit restrictions like this one is right near the top. If you could download my mods from Nexus and install them to your console, I’d be happy with that. I wouldn’t be able to provide any support, but I’d be happy to have you as a user.
I’m happy for you console gamers that you can finally experience at least a taste of the freedom that makes me happy to be a PC gamer. If you’ve played Skyrim on an Xbox/Playstation, but never on a PC, I’d highly recommend getting a PC copy, registering at Nexus and looking through the top endorsed files. I’ve published a couple dozen mods myself for Skyrim (and dozens more for Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas), though none of them are anything special. At the very least, you should install the Unofficial Patch, SkyUI and the HD texture packs, maybe a good ENB. Load up your Xbox/PS copy and compare the two and then see for yourself why PC gamers prefer PC games.
To mod makers: Please don’t become the thing all of us gamers hate. The vast, overwhelming majority of us despise DRM. Think about the sort of person you’d be if you decide to start maliciously sabotaging gamers because they’re using your mods in ways you don’t like. Think about what it means to the modding community if we gain a reputation for maliciousness, a reputation for bricking peoples saves because we don’t like the platform they’re gaming on. Please don’t do this.