Mods can extend the shelf life of games, such as Half-Life (1998), which increased its sales figures over the first three years of its release. According to the director of marketing at Valve, a typical shelf-life for a game would be 12 to 18 months, even if it was a “mega-hit”. In early 2012, the DayZ modification for ARMA 2 was released and caused a massive increase in sales for the three-year-old game, putting it in the top spot for online game sales for a number of months and selling over 300,000 units for the game. In some cases, modders who are against piracy have created mods that enforce the use of a legal game copy.
Half-Life had a Valve-run annual mod expo which began in 1999, showcasing the new games built using the Half-Life engine.
Due to the increasing popularity and quality of modding, some developers, such as Firaxis, have included fan-made mods in official releases of expansion packs. A similar case is that of Valve, when they hired Defense of the Ancients lead designer IceFrog in developing Dota 2.
For example, a number of fan-made maps, scenarios and mods, such as the “Best of the Net” collection and “Double Your Pleasure”, were included in the Civilization II expansion Fantastic Worlds and the Civilization III expansion Play the World, and in the Civilization IV expansion Beyond the Sword, two existing mods, Rhye’s and Fall of Civilization and Fall from Heaven made their way into the expansion (the latter through a spin-off called Age of Ice).
Legal status of mods Edit
See also: Copyright and video games
Copyright law, as it relates to video games and mod packs, is an evolving and largely unsettled legal issue. The legal uncertainty revolves around which party is legally the ‘copyright owner’ of the mods within the pack—the company that produced the game, the end-user that created the compilation, or the creators of the individual mods. Video games are protected by copyright law as a “literary work”. In the United States context, the mechanisms of how the modder gets into the code of the game to mod it may violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act or even simply the end-user license agreement (EULA). Most EULAs forbid modders from selling their mods. A particular concern of companies is the use of copyrighted material by another company in mods, such as a Quake “Aliens vs. Predator” mod, which was legally contested by 20th Century Fox.
Some regard the fan use of copyrighted material in mods to be part of a “moral economy”, and develop norms about the reuse of this material, often settling on a system of shared ownership, where mods and code are freely shared with the common good in mind. It has been argued that total conversion mods may be covered in the United States under the concept of fair use.
Modding can be compared with the open-source-software movement.
In 2006, part of the reason that Second Life generated interest was how user-generated content (mods) was central to the experience, and how the intellectual property rights remained with the creator-player. This was developed by the publisher into a market.
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