When it was announced that Bethesda would be releasing a remastered version of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One, console gamers rejoiced. The opportunity to play a remastered version of one of the most popular titles released on the previous generation of consoles was probably one of the best announcements at E3 in June, earlier this year.
However, what made fans even more excited was, perhaps, the fact that Bethesda also announced that the new version would be released with mods on console for the first time. Now console gamers would also be able to bask in the glory of Riverwood being attacked by a flying cow breathing flames from the top of a village home rooftop.
Fast forward to September, reports stating that the PS4 version of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition will not be shipped with mod support have now surfaced, with Bethesda stating that Sony will not allow it. This is not all though, as PS4 will also not be receiving updates that will allow for mod capability in Fallout 4.
Why would Sony not allow Bethesda to provide mod capability for their titles?
The reason as of yet is unclear as Sony has yet to come out and respond to Bethesda’s statements. One thing is certain though; this action definitely has the ability to hurt the PS4’s sales numbers.
Many may argue that the PS4 has still continued to thwart its opponents in terms of sales numbers for this generation of consoles, despite lacking particularly popular features, such as backwards compatibility or allowing players to install games on an external hard drive. But will this finally be the absent feature to drive consumers towards looking at purchasing the Xbox One or a gaming PC?
Mod capability is a fun feature that is often associated with PCs and open-world video games. They allow users to alter their gaming experience with a particular title by allowing them to change particular aspects within a title to either make progressing within the game easier (such as increasing your carry weight limit) or to simply create hilarious situations (such as replacing a dragon with a chicken.) Many a popular YouTube channel has been created on inserting mods in different video games.
However, the amount of value gamers really place on modding is rather debatable
In my own experience, I have only ever modded a few games, all of which were Grand Theft Auto titles. This is not because I do not own any other titles that are popularly modded on PC (I actually do own Skyrim for PC), but rather that I have never been all that interested in going through the effort to mod other titles.
I do enjoy watching YouTube videos of other gamers modding titles and creating funny situations, but I have never been so captivated by the activities seen in these videos to actually go out and try them for myself. I always find myself getting to the point of purchasing a title for PC and then always saying that I’ll get around to trying it with mods someday.
However, that is just my experience and the experience of most of the gamers I know. The census on this situation could actually be the opposite and most gamers may, in fact, care about mods.
The factor of how much gamers care about mods aside, the PS4 not receiving another feature present on competing consoles is particularly worrying. Which other features may it be excluded from receiving in the future?
It seems that there are deeper issues related to Sony neglecting to allow mods on Bethesda titles; basically, that a lot of gamers feel that they have already let them get away with excluding many vital features that were present on previous consoles or on that of the competitor and that they are not going to let it slide.
Much was made about the Xbox One including backwards compatibility features two weeks ago after Call of Duty 2 added to the growing list of backwards compatible games. This action already had a lot of gamers discussing the possibility of the Xbox One surpassing the PS4 in features.
Modgate has already resulted in negative press for Sony and the PS4 with some gamers already interpreting Sony’s action of mod exclusion in Bethesda titles as an arrogant motion by the corporation leading in sales numbers. While the reason why Sony may want to purposefully prohibit gamers from using mods is unknown, many gamers have already taken to gaming news site comment sections to vent about evil corporations.
It is possible that with the PS4 Pro being recently announced, perhaps, mod capability as well as many other features that have been mentioned previously absent from the PS4 may have been purposefully withheld to give the PS4 Pro extra selling points.
At the end of the day, to hear that Sony or Microsoft may be slacking is always negative news. Whether it is Sony or Microsoft neglecting to add a particular feature in their product that is present in that of their competitor, it is bad for gamers. What we as gamers and consumers need is for these two companies to push each other to consistently work at creating a better experience for anyone who buys their product.
I may not care about mods (or backwards compatibility for that matter) as much as other gamers, but I at least want to know that they are available to me if I choose to use these features. For now, whether the exclusion of mods actually does have an extremely negative impact on Sony and the sales of the PS4 remains to be seen.