The most famous mod for both Fallout and Skyrim has to be Caliente's Beautiful Bodies Enhancer (CBBE), the enhancement known for making Bethesda games synonymous with naked ladies. You won't find it on consoles, however. There's a reason for that. While Bethesda made it clear that straight-up nudity mods would not be allowed on PS4 or Xbox One, CBBE can be used for more than just nudity: It also provides users with more robust body modification options. According to a CBBE mod update, Caliente, the creator of CBBE, was planning on porting a more "family friendly" version of the mod to consoles. That plan changed once Bethesda dropped the ball with console mods.
"If you've come looking for a console version of CBBE, I'm afraid you're out of luck," Caliente wrote on the mod forums. "I'm not going to even consider it until Bethesda institutes a reasonable, respectful policy with regards to the rights and time of mod authors."
"Up until now, I've been planning on spending a bit of time and doing what I can to get a clean, usable, and 'Parent-safe' version of CBBE onto consoles. It would take a bit of work, and I wasn't sure when I could get to it, but I was hoping to try soon... however, there has been a rash of theft from, and general disrespect of, content authors on the Bethesda site," Caliente said.
As you may have heard by now, the console modding ecosystem has been plagued with stolen mods that often don't even give credit to the original creator. Bethesda has taken steps to remedy this: Uploading mods now requires a Steam linked account, but mostly, Bethesda has simply suggested that users log a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice to get stolen mods taken down. As we've outlined before, a DMCA may eventually fix the problem for anyone that logs a complaint, but the process still puts a lot of the work on the mod creators themselves. Many mod creators feel that this is unfair.
"This is an unacceptable burden to place on unpaid content creators who just want to share the things they have created without having it stolen," Caliente wrote.
"Until that policy is changed and more is done to protect mod authors, CBBE stays Nexus-only," Caliente said.
Caliente is not alone in feeling frustrated. Last weekend, Nexus, the biggest destination for PC mods, put Bethesda on blast for not doing enough for its modding community. Specifically, Nexus dislikes that Bethesda does not seem to be invested in building a real community, nor does it have the infrastructure needed to manage complaints of theft. Nexus on the other hand has a team dedicated to managing its community and mods, as well as better moderation tools that enable them to quickly act on reports of theft. A stolen mod uploaded to Bethesda's site, on the other hand, might take weeks to be taken down from the site.
"Now, the DMCA system in general on the internet does work... however, the hope is that when you're running the official mod hosting platform for a series of games, that your moderation system is more advanced than 'send an email to this address," wrote a Nexus admin known as Dark0ne. "Heck, even a template/form system built in to the Bethesda.net site for the DMCA process would have been helpful."
"Coding a website is easy," Nexus admin Dark0ne wrote. "Anyone can do it... what's hard is spending the time to form an actual thriving community and trying to do right by that community so that they trust you enough to actually use your site.
"Doing right by that community requires countless hours responding to emails and messages, support tickets, moderation requests, generally conversing and actively engaging with your community and getting a feel for what the wants and needs of the community are and ultimately legislating if necessary so the community understands where you stand and what you expect of them. There's seemingly none of that with Bethesda.net."
Just to put this into perspective, while Bethesda seems to offload the responsibility of mod theft to others, Nexus itself is doing what it can to try to help the situation with its own tools. Users who upload mods to Nexus will now be able to flag their content with the following tags:
-I have uploaded my mods to Bethesda.net and they are available for console users. -I have not uploaded my mods to Bethesda.net for console users yet, but I will at some point. -My mods will not be available on Bethesda.net for console users. -My mods won't work on consoles or would not be acceptable on Bethesda.net according to their rules. -I give my permission for someone else to port my mods to console and for it to be uploaded to Bethesda.net by someone else. Please credit me, however.
If you select the top option saying you've uploaded your mod to Bethesda.net then you'll be provided with two text fields where you can provide a link to those mod pages on Bethesda.net. These will create mirrors on your file pages from which users can see and navigate to your mods on Bethesda.net and also tag the files with the "XBone version available" and "PS4 version available" tags.
If the modding community feels indignant about all of this, it's because they have been around for a long time, fending for themselves. Now that mods have blown up, however, to them it feels like Bethesda is swooping in to reap the rewards, without actually putting the work in to maintain appropriate community standards that would discourage people from stealing mods in the first place. Actually, the dramatic yet heartfelt metaphor Nexus uses is that of an absent dad.
Nexus feels particularly wronged here because it personally has come through for Bethesda in this realm too: When the Fallout 4 Far Harbor DLC was leaked, Nexus promptly took it down within a couple of hours, out of respect for the developer. To Nexus, it doesn't seem like Bethesda is willing to return the favour.
"Please let Bethesda know you're on the Mod Author's side, and the minimum legal requirement isn't good enough," Caliente wrote. "I furthermore urge all other mod authors to take the same stance... this is a community that can only succeed and thrive when creators' hard work is respected."