Posted on April 12, 2008,

Microsoft: By Allowing Mods, "You’re Inviting Trouble"

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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.

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7 Comments on Microsoft: By Allowing Mods, "You’re Inviting Trouble"

erathoniel

On April 12, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Stupid M$, mods are for everyone. Make a built-in mod system.

Mornelithe

On April 12, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Yeah, because we’ve all seen the catastrophe that mods with UT3 caused….lol, seriously, does this guy even take a look at the industry before making such statements?

Morne

Phil Migrowen

On April 13, 2008 at 8:38 am

This is NOT about security. That’s the same specious excuse Microsoft uses to try to shove its TPM design down PC users throats. It’s about CONTROL of content for the platform. It’s the exact same reason why XNA games must be approved to be released on XBOX Live. Microsoft doesn’t want to lose control of regulating content for its console because if it does there would be no need for content creators to pay Microsoft royalties to publish that content.

Xboxlenny

On April 14, 2008 at 9:01 am

I wont be getting this game now, it was too good to be true that M$ would allow mods. Sure ruins the sales of this game. If there was mods well it would be way worth it, no mods = no sales, when the PS3 version is better why get this?

Bounce

On April 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm

hahaha, pc only baby.

Michael

On April 14, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Uh have you guys seen any of the mods that work on the PS3 version? I think there’s, like . . . 2. And that just might be a little generous. It’s not like UT3 modding has taken gaming by storm. In fact, it’s not like UT3 has taken gaming by storm either, the game appears to have tanked already. They should have held back and done simultaneous releases, but no, they had to stagger it (probably that big investment from Sony just to make the title not blow on the PS3), keeping XBox Live users, people who game online constantly away from this title for a longer period of time looks to have been the biggest mistake in its development yet.

GrandMarshall

On July 16, 2008 at 1:54 am

Microhell is just doing what they have done for years, controlling what gamers want to play on there console, well then when M$ starts losing people from there console back to the PC to play the mods they want then they will let the mods happen just to get gamers back, wish there was more help out there to get games to run on Linux id switch in a heart beat. They should just leave it up to the consumer if they want to play the adons or not after all the consumer payed for that console and should know the risk of adding anything to the game.