Microsoft: By Allowing Mods, "You’re Inviting Trouble"
We keep hoping that Microsoft will come around and let user created content and mods become a feature of Xbox Live. Or, at least, allow third party games like Unreal Tournament 3 to support them. But if Chris Satchell, group general manager for Microsoft’s XNA initiative, is any indication, Microsoft isn’t exactly on the verge of making that happen. In an interview with Eurogamer, Satchell touched upon the concept of allowing mods onto the 360. He claimed that, aside from IP infringement, security is a huge concern when allowing mods to run rampant.
“I’m a little disturbed when I think about other systems and people using what we call native code – code that goes right down to the metal – and then allowing people to run script mods on top of that without the right security measures. It could be really dangerous.
“We’ve drawn a hard line because we very much care about security, and it seems like some other platforms don’t seem to care quite as much. That kind of worries me for consumers. But all I can control is what we do on our platform, so that’s where I’m going to focus – we’re going to keep you safe because that’s really important to us.”
It was quite clear that Satchell was pointing a finger at Sony and the PS3. When Eurogamer mentioned that, Satchell explained that it’s a problem faced on any platform that allows for people to use native code. He explained, “There’s a lot of people out there that just want to prove they can screw things up.
“I think there’s very mature, sensible hackers who just want to prove how good they are, and they don’t cause harm, and there’s malicious hackers, and any platform that let’s you do that, and doesn’t have the right security measures in place – whether it’s Sony, whether it’s Nintendo, whether it’s Apple, whether it’s anyone – you’re inviting trouble, because sooner or later someone will want to prove they can do it.”
So, that’s apparently Microsoft’s reasoning for not allowing mods. Is that a satisfying answer, though? I imagine most people would say, “Screw security!” immediately upon hearing Satchell’s claims, but they might not be quite as happy if their credit card or Live ID information were somehow stolen. That isn’t to say I think Microsoft should continue their policy. I see this as a challenge that Microsoft has to face — not something they should ignore because of the problems it presents.