A Message To My Mod Users, Console Gamers and Mod Makers

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.

While I am generally very free with permissions for all my mods, under no circumstances are any of my mods to be uploaded to Bethesda.net or Steam Workshop. Both companies have terms of use for these services that I consider to be entirely unacceptable and I refuse to agree to them. My mods are my work and I have final say over how they are distributed.

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.

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2 thoughts on “A Message To My Mod Users, Console Gamers and Mod Makers

  1. I like console/handheld (including retro) and PC gaming so I don’t have any elitism…I for one am happy that those who have a deeper interest in making a personalised gaming experience, but can only justify buying a console (because money/actually having a family to support) now have some tools to help them do so…It’s a step in the right direction. IMO, There’s nothing wrong with not having the interest/investment to do anything more than enjoy the vanilla adventure + story between having a life, so again nothing sad/inferior about liking consoles…Measuring worth by choice of system however…Some games don’t even need modding. JRPG (unlike modern/dark RPG’s they have an innocence/storybook quality that mods would ruin for me), Action/adventure, RTS, point and click, shooters, platformers etc. Some games are all about the story and characters…some games like Sims + Skyrim, are more personal and about living another life in another world, these benefit from mods. There’s still genres/series I prefer on console, especially as a collector…DRM has made the PC hard copy quite unappealing for me…but to each their own :).

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