6 Things You Need to Know about MODs & Modding

Last modified: December 08, 2019 | by getmod.app

The size of the global mobile app market is continuously expanding, so is the mobile gaming app industry. According to AppBrain data, for example, the number of Android apps currently distributed via Google Play has already exceeded 2 800 000 apps, and is increasingly growing each year.

However, among such an astounding multitude of options, a vast majority of apps and games don’t quite fit users’ requirements and preferences, i.e. a game variation might lack an immersive story, an app may be simply rigged with annoying bugs, etc.

Well, for many users, this is when modding comes in.

What is MOD?

What is MOD?

In brief, a MOD (a short form of “modification”) implies the alteration of a particular app or game, aimed at small fixes, slight improvements or significant changes, which can even result in the development of an entirely new product.

In gaming specifically, modding usually refers to alterations in one or more game aspects and ranges from minor tweaks and gameplay changes to its complete remake that often extends players’ interest, hence increases the game’s value and often boosts sales of the original.

A game MOD may enable a player’s use of advanced weapons, specific vehicles, or change a game character model, for example, but a range of options is virtually limitless.

What is MOD APK?

What is MOD APK?

A MOD APK (also: modded APK) refers to a modded, i.e. modified version of the original app for Android devices (an .apk file), which enables unlocking a paid feature and/or expands its initially available functionality.

What is MOD pack?

What is MOD pack?

A MOD pack is a set of MODs, available for download as a single package, often including an auto-installer, too.

Types of MODs

Types of MODs

The market is currently filled with a vast selection of versatile types of MODs, some of which include:

Total conversion
A Total Conversion refers to a major app or game alteration that in fact replaces the core design and/or functional aspects of the original.
In gaming, in particular, a Total Conversion can essentially become a brand-new, standalone game, apart from being a variation of the original.
Overhaul
While Overhaul MODs aren’t known for going as far as a total remake of an app/game, these also imply adding some significant changes in terms of graphics and functionality, usually aimed at improving the original.
When it comes to gaming, Overhaul MODs mostly offer a new take on the gameplay, along with the substantially modified visuals or even OST.
Add-on
Unlike a Total Conversion and an Overhaul, Add-ons are MODs that only include slight improvements or an extra feature added to the original app or game, e.g. a new weapon, a new vehicle or some additional content, etc.
Unofficial Patch
This type of MODs can include bug fixes, which haven’t been released in the original app or game, or help unlock some features or content, included in it, yet somehow unavailable to end users.
In many cases, advanced MODs can compete with original apps (games or not) in their complexity and require a considerable amount of time and effort to develop.

Benefits of Modding

Benefits of Modding
Benefits for Modders
Why would a person spend hours creating e.g. a game MOD, you’d ask? Is it profitable? Well, the answer isn’t that simple.
Some of the dominant motivations to MOD an app, especially in the gaming industry is one’s self-expression and a sense of community it may bring. Another one is, perhaps, modders’ desire to patch the game, for various purposes, which may, of course, imply some financial interest, too. Finally, quite a lot of enthusiasts hope to eventually build a career as a professional game developer someday.
Benefits for Publishers of Original Apps
While end users, obviously, find a vast array of benefits unlocking advanced app features and functional capabilities, as well as exciting gameplay twists and variations, - in game MODs, the question is, can publishers take any advantage of modding?
The truth is, they can, and they actually do.
First and foremost, using a MOD often requires an initial purchase of a licenced copy of the original, hence modders can act somewhat as the voluntary brand ambassadors.
Secondly, if a game MOD, for instance, really gains track, the entire community can become a free, yet rather efficient marketing channel that helps a publisher to engage and retain loyal end users worldwide, without any extra investment.
Last but not least, it’s the global modders’ community which has already become a powerful driving force that sparks creativity and innovation in the mobile app industry.

Legal Status of MODs

Legal status of MODs

A concept of modding unfortunately remains an unsettled legal issue in many aspects, especially in terms of the copyright law. Is modding in a whole considered a violation of the law? Essentially, no, but the line between what’s legal and what’s not is vague, to say the least.

Who is a copyright owner of MODs in a MOD pack, a publisher of an original app or a modder? What about overhaul MODs and total conversions, is this a different case? What about the distribution of MODs, is it legal to enable end users download game MODs legally, for example?

Most of these questions remain unanswered even today.

Most court rulings in the US, for example, would state that an app or game mod (at least in case with add-ons and mod packs) is a “derivative” (i.e. creator of the original app/game owns the copyright of the mod, too). At the same time, it’s being argued that a case with total conversions may be covered by a different legal concept, that is, a concept of fair use.

The way how a modder gets access to the app/game source code and further alters it, in the U.S. context at least, may violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and/or even the terms of the End User License Agreement (EULA).

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