Sony nixes mod support on PS4

Bethesda says platform holder "will not approve user mods the way they should work" for Skyrim or Fallout 4

Bethesda has shelved plans to add user mod support for the PlayStation 4 versions of Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition. The company today announced its decision, putting blame for the cancellation squarely on Sony's shoulders.

"After months of discussion with Sony, we regret to say that while we have long been ready to offer mod support on PlayStation 4, Sony has informed us they will not approve user mods the way they should work: where users can do anything they want for either Fallout 4 or Skyrim Special Edition," the company said.

"Like you, we are disappointed by Sony's decision given the considerable time and effort we have put into this project, and the amount of time our fans have waited for mod support to arrive. We consider this an important initiative and we hope to find other ways user mods can be available for our PlayStation audience. However, until Sony will allow us to offer proper mod support for PS4, that content for Fallout 4 and Skyrim on PlayStation 4 will not be available."

This is not the first time Bethesda's user mods ambitions have been thwarted by a platform holder. The company briefly launched a paid mods program for Skyrim on Steam, but Valve killed the program shortly after launch when backlash and logistical issues quickly piled up.

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Latest comments (9)

The only winner here is Microsoft. Skyrim Legendary Edition might as well be an XO exclusive.

Here’s one industry professional’s best guess at what transpired:

Bethesda wanted the soon-to-be-announced mod store to be cross platform. This would allow user’s who buy mods on the one platform to automatically have them available on all other platforms. An obvious win for consumers, but it would allow Bethesda to avoid paying MS and Sony their cut when users buy the mods on PC (or on the web). Bethesda may have even played MS and Sony against one another to sweeten the deal and avoid MS and Sony’s official marketplaces all together.

Sony rejected the offer, requiring all paid mods used on their platform to go through their official sales channel. MS saw this as an opportunity to strengthen their consumer offering with “exclusive” content, and agreed.

Please Note: This is all hypothetical, I don’t have any inside information on this.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
This seems vaguely similar to when Sony wouldn't allow EA Access on the PS4, purporting to know what's best for their customers instead of allowing them to decide on their own. Interestingly enough, while Sony rightfully faced backlash over that decision there was a small vocal minority of PS4 owners that supported their decision, citing, among other things, that EA Access would open a Pandora's Box of "Access" like paid-for apps from all the other major and minor developers on console. Not surprisingly that never happened. But I wonder if those that were looking forward to user created mods in Fallout 4 and Skyrim: SE on PS4 will be genuinely upset by this news or equally dismissive that it's not even a problem.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 10th September 2016 1:48am

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Richard Browne Head of External Projects, Digital Extremes3 years ago
I suspect its more to do with their backend and potential exposure to unchecked code. Sony's rightly rather paranoid about such things given its history!
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Show all comments (9)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
As noted by Richard, I'd have to be on Sony's side (this time). I know many PC modders expect some mods to crash their PC, not work properly if too many are installed and other quirky things to take place. But you all KNOW that there will be that ONE person who gets a mod, installs it and after it messes up a save file, tries to blame Sony and/or Bethesda for their self-made suffering. Fro what I gather, Sony wanted Bethesda to do QA on every mod (eek!) and that would not only be kind of nuts, even if it did happen, it would take a while for a single "bug-free" mod to appear.

I don't on a Xbox One, but from reading around, it seems that many are thrilled, but issues do pop up where stuff doesn't work in some cases. Anyway, I'm not one of those who thinks the game "needs" mods because the world created is MORE than big enough to find plenty of diversions that don't "break" the storytelling (or the system it's played on). Eh, whatever - maybe Sony will cave... but I doubt it.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany3 years ago
it would take a while for a single "bug-free" mod to appear.
I like that you put "Bug free" between marks. First rule of QA is that "There is no perfect testing". After all, QA isn't there to verify that there are no bugs in a piece of software but to prove that there are bugs in it.
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Richard Pygott Level Designer 3 years ago
whats interesting about this development is if you cast your mind back to when Skyrim was launched on PS3, there was still multiple issues with the code running on the PS3 when compared to the Xbox 360. Fixes and patches for the PS3 always arrived months after the Xbox equivalent.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
@Alfonso Sexto: Yep. That's what the quotes referred to, as I've been around long enough that I know no matter how well a game looks or runs, there's a bug SOMEWHERE. Many "gamers" these days fail to not only appreciate what goes into making games, they also think patches or mods "fix" every issue (ha and ha to that). It's like painting over wallpaper at the end of the day, I guess...
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 years ago
@Greg there's also the ones who believe day one and other close to post launch patches are always a sign of laziness and corporate greed. While certainly some profits have been shipped out the door a mess for a "fix it in post" attitude, the fact is that mANY games could spend an extra year in QA.

They refuse to acknowledge that a relatively simple game's AI can be larger than a game was twenty years ago. While whether that size improves the game may be debateable, the exponential complexity of modern games isn't, and I frankly find far more issues with bad design than unacceptable bugs.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
@Jeff Kleist: Oh, don't I know it. If I read one more "lazy developer" rant from a know-nothing gamer who seems to spend MORE time online bitching than playing the games they bash, I'll... probably keep seeing those posts because those are often from people who think coding is easy because modders who fix some games sometimes do their own work too fast.
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