Any PC gamer worth his (or her) salt will know how much value mods can add to games, and PC gaming in general. The question is, are they essential? Should high-profile titles (Such as The Witcher 3, the Elder Scrolls series, etc.) have mod support by default?
Obviously, hundreds (If not thousands, if we include indie titles) of PC games release on a yearly basis, and many of them wouldn't stand to gain anything from having mod support. Games like Battlefield, Call of Duty, various adventure games (Point & click or otherwise)... These are all games that tend to be pretty linear (Outside of multiplayer), and it's safe to say that attempting to mod them would - for the most part - offer nothing to the playerbase, really.
Mods Are Powerful
But games like Skyrim, Fallout, etc.? Mods are extremely powerful in those games, and can add hundreds of hours of extra gameplay to the base game.
Even if the developers of said games aren't directly profiting off of these mods, they profit indirectly by keeping people talking about a game well past its initial spurt of interest and hype.
Heck, Morrowind and Oblivion both still have pretty active modding communities (Especially Oblivion) to this day - and Morrowind is well over a decade old!
Mods can accomplish everything from simply adding a couple overpowered weapons into the game to completely overhauling the graphics and gameplay mechanics of a game - when they are supported properly, that is (as they are by Bethesda in the case of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series).
Excellent mods can continuously bring in new players who may not have picked up a given game in its default state. Just look at Morrowind - that game looks pretty dated by today's standards, and thousands of people have only even given it a shot because of the vast number of graphical (And gameplay) overhauls available for it.
Mods Benefit Companies And Players Alike
The best part about all of this? It doesn't cost the developers a dime. All they have to do is give the modders access to a suitable set of creation tools. That's literally all they have to do, the modders do the rest. The playerbase creates sites like NexusMods to promote and distribute fantastic mods, and the developers don't have to raise a finger.
They get to sit back and watch additional (completely passive!) revenue roll in.
That's why it baffles me when companies don't provide these sorts of tools, or even support modders at all (In some cases, even going so far as to outright ban people from modding their game). I understand it's a bit of extra effort, and some companies are afraid of handing out access to their intellectual property, but it honestly seems like a no brainer to me.
Any company who has a game that could benefit from mods (Typically open world games like GTA V, Skyrim, the like) is basically leaving money by ignoring the sea of talented modders who are chomping at the bit to create content for their favorite games.
But that's enough out of me - I just wanted to quickly discuss this whole subject, as it had been on my mind recently. I want to hear from you guys!
What do you think of mods? Do you think they help or hinder a games success? Let me know in the comments!