The Past, Present, and Future of Modding

Our mission at mod.io is to push the boundaries of modding and evolve the relationship between players and game developers - but to understand the future of user-generated content, it’s essential to understand its history and why modding has proven so successful.

1 comment

Posted by on


Our mission at mod.io is to push the boundaries of modding and evolve the relationship between players and game developers - but to understand the future of user-generated content, it’s essential to understand its history and why modding has proven so successful.

Players have been modding video games for almost as long as video games themselves have existed. One of the earliest game modifications distributed on a wide-scale was for the 80’s arcade hit PacMan. Doug Macrae and Kevin Curran created physical modification kits, where arcade owners could modify the arcade machine’s circuit boards to create a more challenging - and profitable - version of the game. The mod was so successful that it eventually evolved into another arcade classic, Ms. Pac-Man, settling a lawsuit between publisher Midway and the mod’s creators.

While modding continued to be popular throughout the 1980’s home-micro scene, as players could easily view and modify the source code of games and experiment with making changes, it wasn’t until id Software’s defining first-person shooter, Doom, released for MS-DOS that modding as we know it today started to take shape.

Such was the success of the modding scene for Doom that communities quickly started to grow around similar games, including Duke Nukem 3D, Wolfenstein 3D, and Quake. What took id Software by surprise was that these titles’ life-span far outlived expectations, thanks to the eco-system of fresh, user-generated content circulating on bulletin board systems and in dormitory halls.

History of Video Game Mods - 1980 - 2020


Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the relationship between video game developers, publishers, and modders was always one of goodwill. While unable to completely endorse unauthorized changes to their games, publishers understood the benefits that user-generated content afforded their games. Eventually, this symbiotic relationship lead to developers actively encouraging players to get involved, releasing cut-down versions of their development tools to make modding easier for their games.

Modding became so successful that some, such as Playerunknown’s Battle Royale mod for ARMA3, have become games in their own right, much as Ms. Pac-Man had done all those years ago.

This evolution’s natural next stage is to remove the barriers between mod creators and consumers, allowing players to easily access user-generated content. Traditionally, players required a certain level of technical knowledge to install mods for their games. Although some games have benefited from community-developed tools to make this process easier, only in the last few years have we started to see officially supported, user-friendly, and fully integrated solutions to this problem begin to emerge.

Mod.io is leading the way with an innovative, cross-platform solution to this problem. We’re shaping the future of modding with the understanding of it’s past, the requirements of both studios and players, and by allowing players to engage with user-generated content wherever they happen to be - PC, consoles, or mobile.

So step with us into the future of video-game modding, and see how easy it is to integrate cross-platform mod support in your game today.

Comments

Join the community or sign in with your gaming account to join the conversation:

Lysdestic
Lysdestic @lysdestic

Looking forward to what the future holds both for mod.io and the modding world at large!

Cheers!