Allowing improvement mods made for PC on Xbox (Marketplace)?

Hi, a general question for MS / Asobo from a relatively new MSFS Xbox customer:

I understand that MSFS software is identical on PC and Xbox. I also have come to learn that some of the functionality of the default MS / Asobo planes is incomplete, and the gap has largely been filled by 3rd-party modifications “mods” that improve certain planes, as MS / Asobo are focussed on expanding the Sim. However, such mods can’t be installed on Xbox, because you can’t just drop files in a folder like on a PC, and the only way to install the files is via the Marketplace - but the Marketplace has no mechanism for free 3rd-party content, only commercial content?

So, that decision flow-chart leaves Xbox users (so far) with planes that don’t really work as expected, and unable to take advantage of the improvements you encourage 3rd party developers to make. That really isn’t the “same” nor “the same experience” as Jorg Neumann has stated. (I do understand the unique relationship between Working Title and MS / Asobo to replace the default G1000 NXi in the sim, with G3000 and CJ4 planned, but that’s not quite what I’m asking about…)

So my question is, why the decision to not allow 3rd-party improvements via the MSFS Marketplace on Xbox (assuming any submission would meet some QA and security testing)? If the software is the same, why is this different? I really want to understand, because I invested in Xbox for MSFS based on what Mr Neumann said in interviews. Thanks.

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You can’t fully reliable test mods for Xbox. You can create something that works on PC but can still break the Xbox version. Looking at the amount of mods available for PC we would have a galore of Xbox user running into problems.

A second problem is the update process. On PC a mod creator can fix something instantly and push an update. If needed multiple times per day. On the marketplace some updates need ages to be released.

Free mods like liveries would make payware livery packs for Xbox obsolete and MS would lose money.

Jorg has mentioned a couple of times that there are definitely plans to offer freeware mods in the marketplace, they just really built up a massive backlog on their marketplace approvals for the payware addons. It’s pretty clear that they wanted to focus on this first before splitting that attention with freeware mods that essentially lose them money. The last status that Jorg gave about this is that they were still working on some internal tools to speed up their processes.

That said, there are requirements to be fulfilled to make it into the marketplace. So don’t expect that every flightsim.to mod would instantly be published on the marketplace as soon as that opens up for freeware content. It is opt-in and the freeware modders need to be willing to fulfill the marketplace requirements. For example, the FBW A32NX Airbus already was in the marketplace, but they removed it because they would have had to change their current open-source license for legal reasons.

In general though, the xbox will always stay a closed platform and will be more restricted than a PC. That’s not a MSFS issue, as there are mods for a ton of PC games that I can’t install for the console version either, even though I can buy in-game items on both platforms.

I get all the points, but regardless, the software is the same, so it’s the process standing in the way, not sure if it is the Xbox team fearful of letting things in their walled garden, or a lawyer saying there is liability, or if there is some technical filesystem hurdle. I’m just a customer who understood that MSFS was the same on both, and assumed the improvements were available, to discover they weren’t - not fringe things, but the core functionality of core, stock planes.

I’m really glad WT improvements are being integrated and replacing stock G1000, and look forward to the G3000 and others, which will take time. At the same time, they have existing mods for PC that (for whatever reason) can’t be installed on Xbox, in spite of the software being the same. Just trying to understand those hurdles, since it’s not quite as advertised.

I’d say it’s a mix of everything you mentioned. You’re right that the software is the same, but the platform you’re running it on is not. The reason why there are still no wasm planes on xbox for example (even payware) is because the xbox team is very worried about running 3rd party code on the xbox. That code could compromise the security and rights management of the platform, which would have financial and legal consequences.

Native code aside, let’s assume every mod maker could just upload unvetted mods into the marketplace. Consider the PR and legal disaster Microsoft would be in if some kid downloads racist or pornographic mods into the sim from the official marketplace.

The PC is essentially an open platform and the user has the responsibility that it stays safe and secure. For the xbox Microsoft takes over that responsibility from you, with the caveat that you simply aren’t able to do everything you want.

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Out of the box the PC and Xbox version are the same. Same airports, same aircraft and so on.

The difference is 3rd party content and i’m not sure if Asobo ever mentioned that every add-on/mod for PC will also work on console. Just think about it. Content like AIG or the Fenix A320 need external software. How is that supposed to work on console? You can’t start an .exe and download stuff.

Another component is add-on management. On PC you can move files in and out of the community folder depending on what content you wan’t to use. On console you would need to delete and re-download all the time and that’s a goodby for everyone with data cap.

I’m not speaking about every add-on, I’m bringing it up because, for example, the stock avionics in stock planes are incomplete and/or buggy. Working Title has good modifications for the CJ4 and G3000 for PC - as an example. They are the only ones with a mod for PC that is also on the Marketplace for Xbox, for the G1000 NXi. My understanding is that WT’s mods are now being worked in to replace the defaults for stock planes and 3rd party planes that use the stock avionics… so that’s great.

My question arose from trying to understand what stopped WT’s existing mods for CJ4 and G3000 from being made available on Xbox via the Marketplace just as their G1000 NXi is. As an example.

I’m not talking about every mod, or fringe mods, I’m just trying to get stock aircraft that work, core planes, core avionics.

you haven’t really mentioned why you think the people making community mods on their PC would be interested in porting them and making them available for Xbox players.

I’m curious about reasons for that ( as a modder myself).

I didn’t know there were any extra / different programming to do to “port” a modification for Xbox, other than submit them to MS for availability in the MSFS Marketplace (which I assume does require extra work, some kind of licence terms, etc)

What I’m trying to understandstand are the hurdles / barriers to getting a functional, trusted, tested, desired mod on to Xbox if you so desired. I assume the motivation to make a mod is the same regardless of platform if the software is litterally the same (to improve the game, possibly to offer something for sale).

But I think I see it - the Xbox team doesn’t want 3rd party (unless it’s for profit) but MS / Asobo are sort of depending on 3rd party to fill the gaps in the functionality of their stock airplanes… so from a customer perspective, coming to this believing it was all the same, it’s a bit schizophrenic. I think I’m done beta testing and trying to get functional planes on Xbox for a while. I’m glad the WT G1000 is being included, and I’ll wait for the G3000 and CJ4 to also come from WT. Thanks for the feedback.

My main motivation is to make mods for myself to use and for the modding community.
I care about other people making mods first, then I care about those that donate and my home forum community.
I accept those that do neither and are not part of my ome forum community. But I would not do any extra step to make mods available for those. My mods are freely downloadable on fs.to and in my home forum as well sometimes. That’s all I will do.

MS could just make it possible to make Xboxes use mods from fs.to or the web.
If MS wants modders to come into their Marketplace just because they have the Xbox locked…ahem…the marketplace is such a terribly bad platform compared to sites like fs.to, so no thanks.

P.S.: I have an Xbox Series S myself and sometimes use it. For other games though, not for MSFS in months. I like consoles. It’s just that the whole modding thing is a community deeply routed on PC among like minded mod creators. It simply has no ties at all to consoles.

Just my 2 cents.

YMMV.

OK thanks for the insight - I’m not a programmer or until now a “simmer”, but I really do want to enjoy MSFS, it just seems to be a very bumpy road, and I’ve got some buyer’s remorse. Hopefully all the beta testing will result in improvements, othewise I’ll pack it in and sell it.

Flight sims were always connected with mods and 3rd party software.

If Asobo would have had the job to create all the things by themselves we would need to wait years for some content. Thousands of airports, a galore of liveries or aircraft (don’t forget the licensing) and so on. I would argue that the amount of extra content in MSFS is way higher than cars in Forza.