Rumor has it that Microsoft has been studying mod support for Xbox One in more depth for some time now, thanks to job postings we’ve written in the past. Now, thanks to some internal documents, we have a better idea of ââhow Microsoft plans to turn Xbox One into a great platform for mods and for developers who want to allow mods in their games.
For those who don’t know, mods are typically community-created maps, items, skins, and other in-game features that can be used to “modify” an existing game, mostly on a Windows PC.
As of this writing, developers need to set up their own systems and services to bring mods to Xbox One. Halo 5 Forge, Fallout 4, and Skyrim Special Edition are a few top-notch games that have their own modding systems, built by their respective studios. Developers, of course, will continue to be able to do this if they so choose, but Microsoft is in the process of putting together a system that would provide not only much of the infrastructure required to configure these features, but also mods for it. surface directly in a new section of the Xbox Store, similar to the Steam Workshop, to make them easier to discover.
Xbox community content
According to the presentation, which is expected to arrive “later this summer”, the new Xbox community content platform is a new infrastructure designed for developers to help them support user-generated content (UGC ), or mods, in their games. Microsoft rated Minecraft Partnership program and the community market as an example of how mods have made the game better.
If these plans go ahead, developers will be able to define what constitutes mods in their games, as well as decide on monetization (or lack thereof). A developer may decide to only allow updates to skins or textures, but may also include gameplay modification features such as weapons, maps or even complete quests or campaigns.
There will be a placeholder on Xbox consoles for games that use Xbox community content, for downloading mods. Developers will also be able to assign metadata to mods for easy discovery through the Microsoft Store, Xbox clubs, and social feeds.
These documents are from the start of the year and note that a developer beta for features would release from Xbox SDKs in March, with approved mod libraries released later this summer. Future iterations of the service beyond this summer include full Xbox shell integration, showcasing mods right in a game’s store page, recommendations, trade support for mod creators, reviews, and more. mod reviews, and website integration to view mods in a browser.
It will be up to the developers to decide how to take advantage of these services, including things like content moderation, and whether or not they allow paid mods. Microsoft is also focusing on mod creators with this platform, giving them tools to promote their mods through the social features of Xbox Live, with access to telemetry on how their mods are received and used.
Hopefully we will know more soon …
The Xbox Community Content platform looks like a great milestone for everyone involved. Games with mod support tend to have a longer lifespan, and some of the best mod builders have found paid work in the industry thanks to their superb creations.
As always, plans can change (and do change often), so brace yourself for an official announcement. But given the work already done to set up these features, as well as some hires at Microsoft, I would say we should find out more about this new modding platform as soon as possible.
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