After a bit of a delay, Microsoft is now allowing for some games in the Windows Store to be modded for the first time, making the PC version of the Xbox Game Pass more attractive to prospective consumers.
The move had been announced previously but not implemented, leaving many to wonder if it would happen as all. Although the new Xbox app for Windows 10 is currently in beta, it nonetheless looks quite impressive. The ability to mod comes in the form of what appears to be an unannounced addition of a Program Files folder named “ModdableWindowsApps”, and the Microsoft store describes that it is a place for apps to be copied “so that users can modify the installation files (for example, to install mods).”
This is a significant step forward in Microsoft’s move towards gaining more market share of PC consumers, as well as controlling where they access their games and content. For years the dominant platform has been Steam, and recently Epic Games has made strides in taking some of that for themselves. While Epic has made advances with their many exclusive deals with certain developers and offer players free games every week for all of 2019, they lack the same type of modding that is so popular on Steam and which will no doubt be popular with Microsoft.
The move by Microsoft is also likely to win over consumers in the ramp up to subscription-based game services. As the entire business model of the PC Xbox Game pass is to allow consumers access to a broad range of games from many developers, its most recent direct competition comes from Ubisoft as they look to launch their own subscription service in the near future.
Even without the addition of modding, Microsoft seems to be at a significant advantage when it comes to pricing, as their service currently costs a mere $4.99 per month, while the proposed price for Ubisoft’s Uplay+ will be $14.99 per month. It seems like Ubisoft is going to need to lower its price to be considered a viable competitor in the market or offer something drastically superior to what Microsoft is planning to offer, which so far does not seem to be the case.
Although it is too early to tell how popular the addition of modding will be to the games within the Xbox Game pass for PC, we need but wait a short while for the creative individuals to show off what they can do in the games that allow for mods to be added. These individuals always produce additions to games that range from merely interesting, to massive projects that rival the work of serious publishers.