In an industry first console, Paradox Interactive and Microsoft allow Xbox One players to have direct access to changes to games created on the PC without any prior authorization from the manufacturer of the console or the publisher.
This is not the first time players can add their own modified content to a console game. Bethesda activated Fallout 4 Mods on Xbox One in May 2016 and PlayStation 4 months later. Paradox itself followed a similar modification program for the Xbox One version of Cities: Horizons beginning of last year.
But the mods created by the players and available on these games and on other consoles had a major distinction compared to their PC cousins: they had to be individually and manually approved by the platform holder and the player. Game publisher for potential content and security issues.
"The problem with this solution was that you could not submit any mod, because they were part of the validation we had with Microsoft," Paradox product owner Mods, Anders Törlind, said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz . "It was unbelievably compelling, but also very tedious and expensive to publish new mods."
Mods downloaded to console drives under the new Paradox Mods scheme will still be subject to Paradox's published mod policy, which prohibits any counterfeit, obscene or inappropriate content. But such moderation will now take place after the fact without prior approval from Paradox or Microsoft.
Paradox's open console modding service kicks off today with the Xbox One version of Strategy Sim Surviving Mars. A selection of more than 30 tested mods, previously available on the PC version of the game, will open the way by giving console players access to new building types, interface adjustments and gameplay modifications.
Paradox says moders will now be able to publish their offerings on PC and Xbox One players via a single web interface. Paradox says that he plans to roll out similar options for all his Xbox One games "later this year."
"For all practical purposes, Xbox players will have the same selection of mods as PC players," Törlind told GI.biz.
This decision came as Microsoft took more and more steps to lower the walls separating its console games from those of other platforms. In 2016, Microsoft announced that it would no longer block the cross-platform game for multiplayer games played on the Xbox One. That same year, the company launched the Play Anywhere initiative to allow customers to play both PC and Xbox versions of a single-game game.
And this month alone, Microsoft has announced that it will open its Xbox Live platform to allow players to access "their history of success in the game, their friends list, their clubs, etc." via games on Nintendo Switch and mobile platforms.