VRChat Mods, VRChat screenshot of players hanging out together

VRChat Mods Ban by Easy Anti-cheat addition Sparks Community Outrage

July 26, 2022

By: Samantha Plaisance

 
 

The ever-growing Virtual Reality social platform, VRChat, is implementing the use of Easy Anti-Cheat software, which will in turn ban the use VRChat Mods. This information has not been well received by the community, and with good reason. 

VRChat Screenshot, VRChat Mods

 

VRChat Inc.'s decision to add in the EAC system and ban mods is just not a great one, and the community has snapped back by review bombing them on Steam due to their choices, just as the player of Storybook Brawl did when a crypto firm bought out the devs, and consistently attempting to voice their opinions on the changes. The company claims they are only implementing these changes to prevent users from destroying their game from the inside, and keeping malicious content out of their Metaverse. While this may be true, it comes with several daunting repercussions to the community itself that VRChat Inc. refuses to recognize. 

Several accessibility features that have been modded into the game will no longer be available and mods will be taken completely away. One that is worth mentioning is the use of closed captions within the movie theaters, which allows those who are deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy the fun alongside their friends within the virtual world. Not only does this make for a more welcoming and inclusive environment, but it also keeps friends close who may not be able to see each other in the real world. This EAC system will completely eradicate the use of that mod, which in and of itself is just unfair to users who rely on it currently. 

 
 

We asked VRChat Inc. a few questions about the changes,  where we made sure to ask "Do you feel it is fair to ban mods that make a game functional for people?", to which they replied, 

"It's likely that users will be able to recreate many of the features they'll "lose" with both of these systems, and we’ve already seen some users in the community start to work on doing so."

We also asked the company why their outlook on the modders changed so drastically, compared to them being more open to them as of last year, to which they responded,

 
 

"As outlined in our recent blog post, we announced that we would be opening a line of communication with mod creators. We took their feedback seriously, and it influenced our production process significantly. As a result, we’ve been implementing features and additions into VRChat that had demand demonstrated by the creation of modifications. Several recent systems like OSC and Avatar Dynamics were influenced by these discussions. Of course, we’re far from done with this – we’ve got more on the way."

For those who don't know, OSC stands for "Open Sound Control", which is a feature within the game that allows players to build accessibility tools that they may need. Though this is a helpful feature, it doesn't go nearly as in-depth as some of the mods available for those with disabilities. The comparison between their feature and the mods is completely irrelevant, as they do not provide captions or other features to include any and all players. It's a first step taken by VRChat, but woefully inadequate for the situation that they have now created.

Rather than address the fact that players are losing out on mods that make the game more inclusive and more immersive, they've responded by saying that it is now up to the players to figure out a means of replacing these mods on their own. That seems absolutely preposterous and ridiculous to ask that of the players since they have already made those modifications to further include fairness into their gameplay. This response further proves their disregard for their community's feedback, as those with disabilities are begging the devs not to allow this change to go through. 

Not only will this change take away from the accessibility features, but it also takes away from the entire dynamic currently available in the game. Players have created mods that allow them to interact with other avatars in a way that is unavailable in the standard gameplay. What's more, most of the "cheats" that they are trying to prevent are not even relevant to the mods that are currently used, and realistically, it is almost impossible to cheat in the game as it stands anyway. A VRChat spokesperson says that this change is also to help provide more safety to the players, where they state 

"There, they share various bits of information: the mod user's name, what avatar they are wearing, what world they are in, and what other users are in their current world, just to name a few examples. This information can then be used to harass users and their friends, who have no idea that someone in their instance is using a modified client."

Even if they do decide to go through with this change, they should at the very least address these accessibility issues themselves, and not force that task upon the players within the community. More so, the ones who decided to speak out against this decision via the VRChat discord have claimed that they were banned from the discord once doing so. Hopefully, the company finds a happy medium for everyone and does the right thing here, but only time will tell.