Modding has long-been thought of as a luxury that only the PC elite can enjoy. Consoles have gotten user-created mod support here and there (most notably in Fallout 4), but that usually depends on the specific game and whether the publisher and developer are cool with doing the hard work and figuring out a way to integrate mods into their products.
That might change in the very near future, however, as Microsoft is reportedly working on a way to integrate user-generated content into Xbox One in a major way.
Windows Central has reported on internal documents it received from Microsoft that detail plans for a new Xbox Community Content platform that will be integrated into the Microsoft Store and Xbox Clubs section, as well as possibly getting its own tab on the Xbox One desktop. In other words, developers will no longer have to do the heavy lifting when it comes to creating a place to host and disseminate mods, making it far more likely that more developers and publishers will give players access to user-created mods.
According to these documents, considerations like monetization and content moderation (or even if they want to participate in the first place) will be up to the developer and publisher’s discretion. Mod creators will also get tools to not only see how popular their mods are but also to promote their mods via Xbox’s social channels.
Best of all, it sounds like we aren’t far off from seeing mod support coming to Xbox One. Developer kits reportedly received the beta for Xbox Community Content back in March, and these features are supposedly scheduled to roll out to Xbox One users sometime near the end of the summer.
How close Microsoft is to making mods on console a reality is yet to be seen. After all, Xbox executives have been promising that keyboard and mouse support would be coming to their console for the last two years, and that’s still yet to happen. Plus, if Xbox engineers already put the Xbox Community Content beta on dev kits, with plans to release it this summer, it seems strange that Xbox boss Phil Spencer wouldn’t have announced it at E3 2018 alongside other technical works-in-progress like console-quality streaming on other devices and the fact that engineers are already hard at work on the next Xbox.
Whenever it does come out, creating a platform for user-generated content could be a huge win for Xbox and something that finally gives Microsoft’s console a major edge over Sony’s PlayStation 4.