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Rammone-X Blog

App Store For Modded Content - Good Idea Or Bad Idea?

Hello Everyone. This is actually my first blog post ever (well second actually, but first in the last 3 years) and so pardon me, for I might not be appropriately versed in blog paraphernalia.

If you bought Oblivion, Fallout, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Skyrim, etc... for the PC, chances are you might have a couple of mods installed for those games on your machine. I for one can't play any of those games without some sort of modifications. Lets face it, mods are great. They are amazing, when done right and well. I'm not a modder per say (though I'm a developer) and so I may not be qualified to make that remark, and so I'm going to "go out on a limb" and say I'm speaking from the consumer's perspective; You know, the group of people who take the chance to download a mod and either spend more time with their PCs than their families as a result, or re-image their operating systems.

In any case, mods for PC games are great and they add extra replay value to a game. Ok, now I put together this blog post because I was on Skyrim Nexus this morning looking through the wonderful mods, and I was thinking to myself "How much effort does it take to efficiently mod a game?' That is to say add new content, redesign content, fix flaws, etc. Alot of work goes into modding? What can a modder gain other then the zeal from doing something they love? I appreciate modding so much that anytime a modder can make an absolutely fantastic mod and they have a link to donate, I absolutely make sure I do. I guess thats my way of saying thank you, and that is in no way disqualifying a thumbs up in a post, or an endorsement, etc...

let me structure some of my thoughts a little, I just re-read the post above and a lot of things started buzzing around in my mind...

(1) Would it be a good idea to develop some sort of paradigm where modders get compensated in some fashion, as App developers do in an app store or android market? Now first lets get things straight. Ultimately, I see the general consensusleaning towards publisher profitability with this, and costs incurred by mod patrons i.e. we the consumers, and with that I say this: I am not advocating this as much as I want people to pay for mods (don't know if that conveyed what I am saying). In other words I PREFER MODS TO BE FREE!(sorry, just thought I would make that clear for all trolls out there who take one sentence from a blog out of context and run with it)

For the sake of this blog post, and deliberation & discussion, I would love to know what you guys think. The thing is, other than the joy of doing what they love, what do modders gain from modding?

(2) Could this paradigm incorporate the game makers as well? It would make sense that the modders cannot profit from the content they produce as through some patenting/copyright laws, the idea and intellectual property isn't theirs to begin with; But picture this: What if, just what if there was a way to get a developer/publisher involved in a modding venture where they could get compensated for the mod as well. That is both the modder and publisher both get compensated. Say for example, they had a modding contest. They create a theme and premise for a mod (i.e. for Skyrim it could be a mod centered around becoming a Thalmor recruit) whoever can create the best content centered around that theme would get some sort of prize. Better yet, the developer/publisher (in this instance BethesdaSoft/Zenimax) would market the content as a DLC of some sort and share the profits from it with the modder.

These are just some examples of paradigms that to some might be absurd, but to others could hint on something. The whole point was to spur some discussion about this.

Lets face it, we love mods, part of the reason we love mods are stated above, but in particular, they make a game better, and they are free, but --

(Take away questions)

  • What motivates a modder to continue modding other than their passion for it?
  • How can it be encouraged even more within the gaming community. Passion might not be enough to spark or continue the modding tradition
  • Can publisher/developer-based monetary incentives encourage or ultimately ruin the modding experience and culture? Or (here's one for you he he! :D ) can it maybe create a viable deviation from the dreaded "priced DLC boom we have reached at this point?" If people had the opportunity to create what content they want in a game i.e. that is to control what they play and how they play would they choose that rout or stick with what they are used to doing? A good example is social media, user propelled web content, etc. It isn't necessarily controlled, just moderated; and I think it's done pretty well. Modding encouraged & moderated by game makers, but propelled and some what controlled by the consumers could either be a win-win for both parties or an epic fail.
  • What models and paradigms could this new system alter positively/negatively, or change? (i.e. DLC business model)

These are just a little of the things I was thinking about when it came to modding. Hopefully this would spur some positive/negative opinions on the matter....

So, What do you think?

Rammone-X :D