Beat Saber CEO Talks Hacks, Mods And Getting Artists Paid

by David Jagneaux • March 25th, 2019

Beat Games CEO Jaroslav Beck met with us at GDC 2019 to show Beat Saber on Oculus Quest for the very first time. We were impressed with how well the game played and how great the Oculus Insight tracking system performed with the headset’s two Touch controllers.

After trying it out, Ian Hamilton of UploadVR talked with Beck while I played it on Quest for the first time too.

A big focus of the conversation was about modding extra songs into Beat Saber.

“We need to pay those artists,” says Beck of the music they include with the game.

After the most recent Beat Saber update, a bunch of new features were added into the game such as a brand new user interface, new free songs on the PC version, the campaign mode on the PC version, and the first-ever purchasable song pack for all versions of the game. As a result of the changes, all mods were broken and no longer functioned. People got very upset.

“We weren’t expecting this [much hate], but the reality is that I totally get it when people are generally in that hate mode when you bring something that could be DLC into an early access game,” says Beck. “But, this is the only way to legally bring music in. We can’t support mods because bringing every song into the game is illegal. The only way we can bring new music in is through DLC because we need to pay the artists…we are also bringing free music as well.”

That policy doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.

“We, unfortunately, are not supporting mods officially,” says Beck. “Every time we update the game the mods will break and that’s just how it is. We need to develop the game because we want to bring new features and therefore mods will be broke.”

Beck said he appreciates that so many people care so deeply about the game that they want to build on it. Beat Saber clearly found a lot of success on its own merits, but the custom beat map community did a lot of work to help sustain and expand the game’s popularity.

“I personally and honestly admire that people care so much about our game. That’s amazing. I am extremely happy that people spend their time on our game, building on what we made. But the thing is, modifying the game, or hacking the game, we can’t check everyone.”

“Bringing that music into the game without a license is wrong. As a musician, it makes me sad because those guys should be getting paid or there should be some deal. For them being in the game it’s great because it’s boosting their visibility big time, and that’s good, but still we need to make sure we are doing things right. As one of the leaders of this industry we don’t want to give people a precedent to think that this is right. We need to explain to the community that this is not right.”

Based on these statements and what we know about side-loading content on Oculus Quest, we don’t think modding and custom songs will be possible on the Quest version, similar to how it’s not possible on the PSVR version either. The path to modifying program files of an installed app on those systems is just too difficult.

“We just can’t guarantee the quality that comes from the mods,” says Beck. “In a lot of cases when we see mods they are not that well programmed and there can be frame drops or things like that and people blame our game and giving us bad reviews because mods aren’t working right. It’s tough for us to accept because we simply don’t have anything to do with the mods.”

What do you think? Do you wish Beat Games could support mods officially? Do you think modding will be possible on the Oculus Quest? Let us know down in the comment below!

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