The popular modding tool, Open IV, was shut down by the developers, Rockstar, and their publisher, Take-Two Interactive, meaning players will no longer have access to the modding tool nor any of the software associated with these modding tools.
Rockstar sent a cease and desist letter to the modding software owners Force Hax, Lexicon and Menyoo, telling them to shut down all of their operations and donate any revenue they earned to charity organizations. Each of their websites now features the following statement:
“After discussions with Take-Two Interactive, effective immediately we are ceasing all maintenance, development, and distribution of the [Lexicon / Menyoo / Force Hax] cheat menu services. We will be donating our proceeds to a charity designated by Take-Two. We apologize for any and all problems [Lexicon / Menyoo / Force Hax] has caused to the Grand Theft Auto Online community.”
The publishing company released a statement on its website taking a firm stance against the modding community, saying the single-player mods could affect GTA online, even though Rockstar Games has had no problem with using single-player mods in the past.
“OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody,” it said of the much beloved modding software. “We are working to figure out how we can continue to support the creative community without negatively impacting our players.”
A heavy backlash from fans has damaged the reputation of the developer and their publisher in several ways.
For one, this destroys channels who dedicated much of their videos to content that needs these tools to be made. Many YouTubers have built their careers off of playing crazy racing mods or spawning hundreds of cars just to blow them all up using a modded rifle that shoots explosive rounds.
The people aren’t happy. In an act of rebellion, many people have taken to the games’ store pages to give horrible reviews to the titles, resulting in overwhelmingly negative recent reviews and depreciating the overall reviews of both games to “mixed.”
An online petition was also started asking Rockstar to allow OpenIV to be used again by the tens of thousands of people who loved messing around with it as a hobby.
It’s not clear if any of the community’s efforts will do anything to Rockstar’s firm stance on the issue, but it’s the best they can do, and we’ll find out soon enough if these efforts are in vein.
As boggie2988 said, Rockstar seems like its following in the footsteps of Bethesda by making moves to start monetizing on the modding universe. If this were to happen, they’d lose a lot of their loyal fans and many more current mod developers who do it as a hobby would be shut out of their favorite sidejob.
Corporations cutting their devoted fans away from their modding passions is a recurrent theme in the gaming scene, like when Nintendo threatened the Project M developers and when Bethesda first tried to add paid mods to the Steam Marketplace
A big benefit to this is that it puts more money in the hands of the developers who make the mods, but a downside to this is that most modders make them to have fun and aren’t in it for the money. A better alternative would be to showcase free mods and allow the community to donate money to the modders, with a portion of each donation going to the game developers.