When you’ve invested lots of time and money into building the perfect game for your target audience, it’s not easy to sit back and watch others tinker with your game and make it their own. But modding communities have proven time and again that the player can be every bit as creative as the developer.
Completely new games have even been developed from scratch, using the original game as little more than a rudimentary base. One only has to look at Skyrim – the most modded game in history – to see just how popular mods have become. The Skyrim modding community also serves as a prime example of why you too must welcome the creativity of modders.
Let’s have a look at just a few ways community-developed mods can help supercharge your games.
#1. Enhance Replayability
Most games are forgotten about a few months or weeks following their release, even when they’re initially successful. This is particularly the case with single-player titles that don’t offer much replayability once the player has finished the game.
While there are plenty of exceptions, such as games with multiple branching storylines and different styles of play, a game’s lifespan is ultimately limited by the amount of time and effort the developers have put into it in the first place.
Modding presents a very important exception to that rule. Although many developers release additional free and paid content to keep their games fresh, giving players the ability to mod your games removes limitations on replayability. That’s exactly why Skyrim still has the world’s most active modding community, including a few teams working on developing entirely new games based on Skyrim’s engine.
All this, despite the game being well over six years old!
#2. Empower Players
Casual gamers may be happy with a quick-tapping frenzy on their mobile phones or a brief match in an online multiplayer game, but there’s a rapidly growing community of players who want a whole lot more out of their games.
Today’s gamers want a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves. Hence the importance of empowering your players by leading a strong online community. There are few better ways to grow your game’s community than releasing a modding kit and actively encouraging modding from the outset.
Many developers don’t even think about the modding community, while others go so far as to ban players outright for tinkering with their games. Smarter developers, however, empower players by proactively building modding communities, often starting with forums on their websites.
Studio Wildcard is one example of a developer that rewards players with recognition of their creative efforts with their sponsored modding program.
#3. Get Inspired
As a creative art, game development is an immensely diverse area, ranging from very successful one-man projects like Stardew Valley, to enormous projects like Minecraft, which has extended far beyond its original scope. While modding isn’t suitable for all games, it’s especially suitable for larger and more ambitious projects that can’t be fully realized within the confines of a single studio.
Take Skyrim and the previous Elder Scrolls games, for example. Enormous modding communities didn’t just help these games endure far longer than anticipated – they also helped to inspire a generation of developers through the limitless potential of the global player base.
In other words, there’s simply no better way to get inspired than by encouraging players to mod your game. That way, it will be your target audience that guides you into your next project, instead of leaving you wandering aimlessly in one of the fastest-changing industries out there.