Mod culture hits PS3

Monday 25 September 2006
Unreal Tournament 2007 will feature support for user-created mods, such as new levels, when it launches on PlayStation 3 next year.

At last weekend's Tokyo Game Show, Tim Sweeney of developer Epic praised Sony's "enlightened business model" for online gaming, which could see gamers creating their own Unreal content and distributing it via PS3's online service.

The PC-based mod community has been "an essential part of Epic's success," said Sweeny, and Epic "would love to transfer this mod community over to the console platforms". The PC game modding culture is enormous, its members responsible for high-profile successes like Counter Strike, Red Orchestra and Day of Defeat.

Above: If PS3's online service means gamers will get user-created mods like Day of Defeat, Sony will have a huge advantage over Microsoft

If Epic believes PS3 could support the same kind of gamer interaction with its titles, then Sony's much-criticised online service - which, unlike Xbox Live, doesn't confine developers to a pre-created online environment - could be one of the console's biggest selling points, opening up a fresh, exciting new world for networked console gamers. You'd still need a PC to create your own mod, but not necessarily to actually download and play them.

In contrast, Sweeney was disappointed with Microsoft's online thinking. Xbox Live is "more of a closed platform," he said, adding that Microsoft itself is "quite negative toward user-created content". Amazingly, it seems Sony's more flexible online approach could potentially usher in a whole new online experience. Who'd have thunk it?

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.