What If Developers Bought and Used Mods For Patches?

Published on April 24, 2012, by Brandon Dixon

If you’re a PC gamer you’ve become accustomed to the concept of mods and their bearing on the PC world. Over the years some games have been saved thanks to user mods while others have used them to greatly extend the life of there titles. So given the prevalence of mods I can’t help but wonder if they couldn’t be used more by developers.
What if developers bought mods from users and made them into patches?
Now I’m not suggesting that developers release half-baked games and then outsource it to players to fix, I’m alluding to something bigger. The depths of some of the mods that gamers have made are truly amazing in their scope and detail. So much so that it’s not unheard of for mod makers to be hired by the studios who games they’ve modded. But more importantly fans of games often times dream of things that the developers never would have. While developers no doubt spend an enormous amount of time playing, developing, and testing the game, it just never compares to the fresh eyes of a gamer. Gamers don’t think in terms of “Will this feature be complete in time for shipment”, or any other logistics. Gamers and mod makers only think “How cool would this be?”. That single difference in vision and perception is largely responsible for the birth and popularity of mods and total conversions.
So why not take some of the best mods and incorporate that into the core game? While mods are certainly well done not every one has total compatibility, most players in fact may never have heard of the mod. By taking it and working it into the core game you bring new life to the game for all users, including those unwilling to mod. Or then you have the case of multiplatform games where the pc market gets to enjoy mods while the console users can only watch and dream. Through buying and converting mods for consoles you bring some of the enhancement and craziness of the scene to a crowd that has never really seen it. The depth and creativity of some of the mods out there are on a whole nother level. Some of the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim mods have been so amazing that I wonder why the mod makers don’t have their own studios. For instance the ui redesign mod, Sky UI, is so good that I question Bethesda as to why the PC ui wasn’t like that in the first place. And lets not even talk about the macho man and my little ponies mods for Skyrim.
While plenty of mod makers do it for the thrill or enjoyment of it all who knows what kind of mods would surface if companies were offering a bounty on mods. You often hear about how expensive additional content and patches are, whenever developers are questioned about a lack of them on a certain game. When you take into account the number of hours and people they have to pay to produce more content its a bit understandable. Then there’s always the question of if the additional content and fixes are even wanted. However in the mod community all that is sorted out. Popular mods are shared across different sites and rated by the community. Crappy mods ride quick deaths into obscurity while “Must Have” mods get shared and praised, the community basically polices itself. It’s the ultimate case of listening to your fans as the content is made by them, for them.
As we enter a new generation maybe its time to do things a little differently. In the same way that Kickstarter has brought a new way to bring in money, using mods for content could be a new way to extend and improve games post launch. Just look at Counter-strike, the poster boy for fanmade turned developer property, even if a mod did half as well as CS it would change the face of the franchise. Games like Gothic 3 have been saved from bugs post launch via the efforts of fans. And hell how many bugs in Bethesda games have fans fixed over the years? Its like outsourcing but better (maybe).
Mod purchasing not only rewards the best makers for their determination and imagination but it would fuel the scene to new heights. Perhaps we’d see studios embrace some of the total conversions like Homeworld 2′s amazing Gundam mod (I know I’m dreaming on that one but let me have it), the opportunities are there if the industry is willing to try it. With the addition of Steam Workshop to Valve’s digital distribution powerhouse, Steam, I think the days of mod purchasing may be closer than we think. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

This i could agree with, only if the mods are worth the enjoyment factor. And not an excuse to just add crap things to full up time