“Building the Perfect Game – An Empirical Study of Game Modifications” accepted for publication in the EMSE journal!

Daniel’s paper “Building the Perfect Game – An Empirical Study of Game Modifications” was accepted for publication in the EMSE journal! Super congrats Daniel!

Prior work has shown that gamer loyalty is important for the sales of a developer’s future games. Therefore, it is important for game developers to increase the longevity of their games. However, game developers cannot always meet the growing and changing needs of the gaming community, due to the often already overloaded schedules of developers. So-called modders can potentially assist game developers with addressing gamers’ needs. Modders are enthusiasts who provide modifications or completely new content for a game. By supporting modders, game developers can meet the rapidly growing and varying needs of their gamer base. Modders have the potential to play a role in extending the life expectancy of a game, thereby saving game developers time and money, and leading to a better overall gaming experience for their gamer base. In this paper, we empirically study the metadata of 9,521 mods that were extracted from the Nexus Mods distribution platform. The Nexus Mods distribution platform is one of the largest mod distribution platforms for PC games at the time of our study. The goal of our paper is to provide useful insights about mods on the Nexus Mods distribution platform from a quantitative perspective, and to provide researchers a solid foundation to further explore game mods. To better understand the potential of mods to extend the longevity of a game we study their characteristics, and we study their release schedules and post-release support (in terms of bug reports) as a proxy for the willingness of the modding community to contribute to a game. We find that providing official support for mods can be beneficial for the perceived quality of the mods of a game: games for which a modding tool is provided by the original game developer have a higher median endorsement ratio than mods for games that do not have such a tool. In addition, mod users are willing to submit bug reports for a mod. However, they often fail to do this in a systematic manner using the bug reporting tool of the Nexus Mods platform, resulting in low-quality bug reports which are difficult to resolve. Our findings give the first insights into the characteristics, release schedule and post-release support of game mods. Our findings show that some games have a very active modding community, which contributes to those games through mods. Based on our findings, we recommend that game developers who desire an active modding community for their own games provide the modding community with an officially-supported modding tool. In addition, we recommend that mod distribution platforms, such as Nexus Mods, improve their bug reporting system to receive higher quality bug reports.

See our Publications for the full paper.