In a console industry first, Paradox Interactive and Microsoft are allowing Xbox One players to get direct access to game modifications created on the PC without any pre-approval from the console maker or publisher.
This isn’t the first time players have been able to add their own modified content to a console game. Bethesda enabled Fallout 4 mods on Xbox One back in May 2016 and on PlayStation 4 months later. Paradox itself followed with a similar modding program for the Xbox One version of Cities: Skylines early last year.
But the player-made mods made available on those and other console games in the past had one major distinction from their PC cousins: they had to be individually and manually approved by the platform holder and game publisher for potential content and security issues.
“The problem with that solution was that you could not submit any mods to us, because they were part of the validation that we had with Microsoft,” Paradox Mods Product Owner Anders Törlind said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. “It was incredibly limiting, and also very time-consuming and expensive for us to publish new mods.”
Mods uploaded to console players under the new Paradox Mods regime will still be subject to Paradox’s published mod policy, which prohibits infringing, obscene, and otherwise inappropriate content. But any such moderation will now take place after the fact, without any pre-approval needed from Paradox or Microsoft.
Paradox’s open console modding service launches today with the Xbox One version of strategy sim Surviving Mars. A selection of over 30 tested mods that were previously available on the PC version of the game will lead things off, giving console players access to new building types, interface tweaks, and gameplay changes.
Going forward, Paradox says modders will be able to publish their offerings to both PC and Xbox One players through a single Web interface. Paradox says it is planning to roll out similar options for all of its Xbox One games “later this year.”
“For all intents and purposes, Xbox players will have the same selection of mods that PC players will have,” Törlind told GI.biz.
The move comes as Microsoft has been taking increasing steps to lower the walls separating its console games from those on other platforms. In 2016, Microsoft announced that it would no longer block cross-platform play for multiplayer games played on the Xbox One. That same year, the company introduced the Play Anywhere initiative to let customers play both the PC and Xbox versions of a game with a single purchase.
And just this month, Microsoft revealed that it will open up its Xbox Live platform to let players access their “gaming achievement history, their friends list, their clubs, and more” through games on Nintendo Switch and mobile platforms.
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