MS Explains Xbox 360's Lack of Mod Support

Speaking on the subject of user-created mods for retail games, Microsoft XNA general manager Chris Satchell cited security concerns as the source of Microsoft's apprehension in allowing custom game content on the Xbox 360.

"If you're not running in [a limited] sandbox, how do you guarantee security?" Satchell told Eurogamer. "That's really where we've got stuck--making sure that nothing will hurt the user's seems like some other platforms don't seem to care quite as much."

Microsoft's XNA programming platform currently allows enthusiast-level developers to create custom Xbox 360 and Windows games using managed code and Microsoft Visual Studio, though it restricts access to much of the higher-level functionality of the console. Beginning later this year, XNA users will be able to distribute their efforts via Xbox Live.

"I think [the democratized XNA] pipeline really is an incredible piece of innovation that will definitely enable other scenarios, and what's important about it is it's really addressing some of the problems with user-generated content," Satchell said.

While Microsoft is against any sort of unsecured game-modifying content appearing on Xbox Live, Sony has no such restrictions. The PlayStation 3 version of Epic's Unreal Tournament III allows user-created mods. The fate of mods in the eventual Xbox 360 edition is still unclear, though Epic has suggested it may end up being forced to have Microsoft certify some mods.

"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," noted Satchell. "It could be really dangerous."

Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 11, 2008 2:14 PM

    It's another one of THOSE interviews.

    "Why are you stifling expandability, replayability, and innovation by forcing customers to use an outdated and draconian model?"

    "So awesome."

    • reply
      April 11, 2008 2:50 PM

      Mods have been a staple in PC gaming, so we've come to expect them. Consoles, not so much. So Microsoft can get away with wanting more control over their end-user's experience when it comes to things like that. They can get away from possible exploitation of the system, and be able to sell you on DLC that they have a level of control over.

      I'll take having to pay for a DLC then having some kid aim-botting me in Halo 3 any day.

      • reply
        April 11, 2008 2:57 PM


      • reply
        April 13, 2008 7:38 PM

        Okay, how does support for mods automatically equal aimbots? That example has come up multiple times in this topic.

        If a mod allows for aimbots, don't play that mod. Is it possible for one player to have a mod running while nobody else on the same server is using it?

Hello, Meet Lola