Microsoft is showing game developers a presentation that highlights the creation of its Xbox Community Content service that will enable people to bring mods and hats to games on that platform, according to a rumor over at the news blog Windows Central. This new initiative would enable developers to use built-in tools on the Xbox to enable fans to add their own content to games. It would work a lot like the Steam Workshop in Valve’s store for PC games, which means studios will have a lot of control over what the community is officially permitted to change in their products.
Windows Central posted some screengrabs of the report, and these claim that Xbox Community Content platform is launching later this summer. That would put it only a few weeks out from now. It also provided some answers to how this would work. I’ve reached out to Microsoft to ask for more details about this, and I’ll update this post if it responds.
While some games on Xbox One already have mod support — like Halo 5, Fallout 4, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition — those use their own bespoke infrastructures to inject mods data from a third-party website. What Microsoft is doing now is taking its Minecraft Bedrock model and applying to the Xbox as a whole — and that means that this could work as a source of revenue for creators, developers, publishers, and Microsoft.
In Minecraft Bedrock, which is the universal version of the block-building game that you find on Windows 10, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile, the community can build and sell content through the Minecraft Marketplace. Microsoft is going to apply that model on a system level on Xbox and perhaps the Xbox portal on PC — although Microsoft is letting developers and publishers decide if the modding community can monetize their content or not.
But this rumor seems likely in larger part because it is right in line with Microsoft’s vision of gaming as a service. The company wants to build platforms that others can use to reach gamers — that’s where it sees its strength in this space. It has already done this for Minecraft, and it has started up Xbox Game Pass to provide a Netflix-style subscription solution for acquiring games. And now providing a way for creators to reach an audience on console that makes money for everyone involved is a logical next step in defining what Xbox means to video games.