We reported back in March that Microsoft may be adding their own modding API platform, similar to Steam Workshop or mod.io, an API for mod developers owned by our parent company, to Xbox Live, when a job listing appeared, looking for somebody to manage "official mod integraton through it's gaming network".
Some more details about this project have now leaked via internal documents from Microsoft, which detail how developers can define what is moddable in their games, and also how content can be added to those games. This seems like a vertical solution for modding, providing the platform, infrastructure and game API's. There's no details yet about weather this would only apply to Xbox game consoles, or also include PC games via the Microsoft Store on Windows 10, but what we do know is the type of features developers can expect to be able to leverage;
APls and Services for Mod/UGC support
- Flexibility to define what’s “moddable” in your game
- Flexibility to define how content enters your game
- Via Service – No packaging requirements
- Enforcement of validation checks prior to availability
- Service-side catalog support
- Direct queries
- Curated queries and Channels
- Metadata as part of service – sharing, promotion, ratings
- Provides service-level storage for content
- Upload as well as download support
- Integrated catalog support
- Search, browse and discover content
- Additional moderation features
- Rapid response as well as lifecycle management
- Social integration
- Sharing mods with friends and followers
- Notifications on updates or new mods in activity feeds
The key here is that developers will have full control over what is allowed, something that is seen as more important on console, especially given piracy and online cheating concerns, but it seems facilities may also exist for content validation and paid mods, too.
Modding games has traditionally been seen as the preserve of the PC gamer, but with games like Skyrim: Special Edition and Fallout 4 pioneering the practice on console, along with games like Halo 5 forge, it could be that console modding is about to come into the mainstream, at least for those in the Xbox ecosystem.
Would mod support on Xbox give Microsoft an edge over rival Sony? Share your thoughts in the comments below!