Mods on console games seemed like an impossibility for a long time. Now, though, it looks like they’re here to stay.
Bethesda Softworks revealed this week that the launch of mods for Fallout 4 on Xbox One attracted 50 times more traffic than the same launch on PC.
Xbox traffic was 50x the initial #Fallout4 PC mod launch. It's a new world & just the beginning. New features & PS4 support in the works.
— BethesdaGameStudios (@BethesdaStudios) June 1, 2016
Mods have always been more difficult to implement on consoles because they ask for a relatively open development environment – something PCs can offer and consoles haven’t historically been able to. They’re a big part of the reason The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim continues to sell nearly five years after release.
Now, though, consoles are running on the same architecture as PCs, and Sony and Microsoft are opening up consoles a bit more to allow independent developers access to their platforms. All of this came together to finally allow something that both Bethesda itself and fans of their games have wanted for a long time. Mods hit Xbox just this week and are expected to go live on PlayStation 4 next month.
This huge traffic isn’t, I should note, because mods on consoles are going to be more popular than mods on PC. Rather, console users only have this one method to get mods and have never had the access before, where PC gamers have places like NexusMods and can install mods without a marketplace menu in the way.
Fallout 4 on consoles might be unrecognizable this time next year if modders have their way. The Bethesda-published Doom‘s SnapMap feature offers some of the same cross-platform creativity, and it’s likely we’ll see this in future Bethesda games. If it looks profitable, we might even start seeing other publishers do it.