Fallout 4 ‘s End User License Agreement (or EULA) contains an interesting tidbit, and it might reveal a lot about how Bethesda’s fingers were burned following their controversial decision to allow modders to charge for their content on the PC version of Skyrim. As noticed by NeoGaf user Gossi and reported by Kotaku, the EULA for Fallout 4 contains wording which suggests that paid mods will currently not be a part of the game.
The exact wording from the agreement states the following under a section on Customized Game Materials, marked (C):
“Customized Game Materials must be distributed solely for free.”
The backlash against Bethesda’s initial monetization of Skyrim‘s mods was so fervent that Valve shut it down within a matter of weeks, and it seems unlikely that any other publishers are going to introduce it in a hurry. It’s interesting that Bethesda are having the sense to clarify its position well ahead of time, especially with the intent to have mods made on PC make the jump to Xbox One and Playstation 4. They’re wise though to take steps to not incur the wrath of the wider gaming community upon the launch of one of their most anticipated titles.
It’s likely, however, that this choice is a little more business orientated. The cross-platform nature of the games’ mod support would likely lead to an incredibly convoluted licensing agreement if modders were allowed to charge. Bethesda would need to get Valve, Sony and Microsoft to all agree on selling these customization options through their systems. Then they’d need to implement these across all of their frameworks to allow players to pay for the mods, and then for that money to pass to the mod creator, along with making sure that a cut goes to the platform holder. On top of that, Bethesda would need to take its slice of cash off the top, too.
Of course, the wording of the EULA all depends on what Bethesda classifies as “Customized Game Materials” and how flexible they end up being on their definition, so time will tell exactly what this EULA entry means.
Fallout 4 hits Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows on November 10, 2015.