Mod.io: How modding is moving into the mainstream of gaming

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Modding platform Mod.io is one of the companies that believes modding has become mainstream and has 300 million downloads to prove it.

The Victoria, Australia-based company believes big game publishers are ready to embrace modding in a much bigger way, and that was one of the reasons the company raised $26 million from Tencent and Lego Ventures. in November.

Mod.io’s passion for modding echoes other modding companies like Overwolf, which has raised $127.5 million for the same cause. And then of course the other standout is Roblox, the user-generated content platform that is a leading competitor to the metaverse and has a market value of $25 billion.

After two decades of watching games and modders, Mod.io CEO Scott Reismanis believes that modding will be the next big thing in gaming.

“The strategic reason studios should think about modding is that it’s a way to build a community that allows them to move faster and grow their business in a much more magnified way,” he said. “The challenge has always been that it has always happened remotely. The studios have had no real insight, visibility, control, or access to their community because it has always been happening outside of them, whether in ModDB modes, Nexus, or other websites. And that’s really where I think it’s changing.”

Scott Riesmanis is CEO of Mod.io.

At Mod.io, six mods were downloaded every second during 2021. Last year, the company saw a nearly 300% increase in mods created and a 250% increase in mods downloaded by players. In SnowRunner, players downloaded more than 100 million mods.

The company has enhanced its community tools and will soon launch the next stage of its user-generated content platform to enable studios to deeply integrate mods and UGC into their games and communities. Young people can use mods to enter the gaming industry.

He said, “For students who are thinking about this, whether they already have a game that’s available in a community or not, I think it’s an opportunity.”

Mods and UGC are so intrinsic to the evolution of the gaming market that studios that overlook their potential could be missing out on massive revenue streams, revenue that could help keep their games relevant and popular, long after their release. Reishanis said.

“Roblox is interesting because it helped a lot of people understand how great user-generated content can be if done right,” he said. “So for us, they are part inspiration. We believe, in the longer term, that Roblox is the ultimate sandbox that dwarfs everything. But we’re going to see all these kinds of vertical building communities pop up that will enable building for people who want to play a really amazing first-person shooter mod.”

He added: “The time has come, and probably wasn’t until Roblox went public for it to really become mainstream conversation. Historically it has existed for decades. And obviously Counter-Strike, Dota and PUBG are some of the most innovative new genres to come out of the scene.”

Lots of mods.

Reismanis has spent two decades at the heart of the modding community through his creation of ModDB.com and Mod.io. He predicts that by 2025, $1 in every $10 spent on video games will be in UGC, a 400% increase from estimated spending over 2021, meaning user content could be responsible for up to $25 billion globally by 2025.

Reismanis launched ModDB.com in 2002 to bring together gamers and budding developers in the emerging PC game modding community. Reismanis then realized the potential of user-generated content as a service to studios and publishers with the creation of Mod.io in 2017. By 2022, Mod.io is available in over 100 games on PC, console, and devices. mobiles.

“UGC gives players control and opportunity; For nature, [it’s] a game version that is more dynamic and engaging than a game without creation capabilities,” he said. “When a feature like this thrives, particularly one that enables limitless potential from both your studio team and those playing the game, entirely new game worlds and mechanics begin to emerge, opening the door to new ways for studios to interact with each other. the fans”.

How the center works

Browsing the best mods.

Mod.io game hubs connect players with official mods that are delivered through the hub. Talented modders upload their content to the hubs, and Mod.io curates the content for quality checks and then delivers it to players across PC, console, VR, and mobile games.

“Modding has historically been something that can be used after launch. And it’s moving earlier and earlier in the game development lifecycle,” he said.

Two of the popular games with mods on Mod.io are SnowRunner and Skater XL, which have deep mod integrations. Mod creators make their mods and upload their creations to a central game page, which also doubles as a hub for new and popular mods.

“The goal is always to work with games, across the industry, doing a lot of different things,” he said. “There are new maps for shooters. Mods can be a new level design or cosmetics to show off RPGs. It’s not a particular genre.”

A filter allows players to search for mods by creator, content type, and rating. Mod content is uploaded and shared in seconds, and then curated by Mod.io to ensure brand safety and compliance. Players can subscribe to mods for certain games and receive notifications when new mods appear.

“Once all players are set up, they can play your game with custom content their way,” he said. “We believe that modding and new variety of content is the best type of content in gaming. Making that accessible and powerful for gamers and studios to take advantage of, and then aligning and linking that with their business models is really where the future is.”

Mod.io has about a dozen triple-A games with deeper integrations in the works. The company has 36 employees. They don’t do modifications, but they work on creating a framework to allow studios and players to use the hub. Fans can vote for them.

“Our goal is to make it super accessible, polished and very presentable,” he said. “We do this by offering plugins, free media, metrics, discovery, collaboration and community communication, comments, ratings, and subscriptions. We offer all the elements of moderation and security to maintain brand-compatible monetization.”

The company has a wide range of games with mods available, from first-person shooters to vehicle simulations, with a range of cartoonish and ultra-realistic art. Many PC games have embraced mods for a long time.

“But making it more accessible means that ultimately we want to get to more casual games that appeal to a broader range of people, and mobile is almost a new field,” Reismanis said.

He added: “The challenge has always been that it has always happened at arm’s length. The studios have had no real insight, visibility, control, or access to their community because it has always been happening outside of them, whether in ModDB modes, Nexus, or other websites. And that’s really where I think it’s changing.

Balancing creativity and takedowns

The big modding numbers.

Modio has tools to monitor DMCA takedown requests.

Reismans said, “There are 1.5 million pieces of content in our system and the reporting tools that we run that we require studios to run help manage that in a very streamlined way. Of course the best way to reinforce and encourage good behaviors is through creator events and recommendation algorithms because of course 99.99% of merchants are good performers who do it out of love and passion for the game.”

He said that Mod.io reinforces good behavior by having the best content surface at the top and attaching incentives for it.

“Occasionally there are stories and they generate press, it’s really in the scheme of everything that’s been done and what’s really going on,” Reismanis said. “It’s an extraordinarily small percentage as this process is underway to manage it.”

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