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The popular virtual reality chat program VRChat is banning mods by adding Easy Anti-Cheat. According to a blog post, The VRChat Security Update is making several changes to make users more safe and secure.
According to the developers, people use modified clients to attack and harass other users. These events cause huge amounts of moderation issues. Beyond that, the developers claim even non-malicious modifications cause problems. Also, VRChat creators apparently can’t work on projects within the scope of the basic software, because modified clients might not interact properly with them.
Which, y’know. Fair.
Let’s be honest here. The creators of VRChat are well within their rights to make whatever changes they want. If what they want is to put the kibosh on mods, that is absolutely their prerogative. If they want to do it in the name of safety and security, they can absolutely make that decision.
Where things get a little iffy is that not all VRChat mods are problematic. There are a handful which exist entirely to improve the stability of the client. There are also some very specific mods which provide quite critical functionality for users.
A good example is VRC-CC. VRC-CC is a mod which adds closed captions to movie worlds. It’s specifically aimed at letting deaf and hard of hearing VRChat users join their friends to watch a film. With a full ban on mods that functionality is gone — it just doesn’t exist in vanilla VRChat.
There are ways to get closed captions to work with VRChat. But the feature is less robust and relies on individual movie world hosts setting them up. Even then, VRC-CC makes sure to keep things nice and synced between all users, while vanilla VRChat doesn’t.
It’s a little sad
I remember the early Internet. I remember how wild and untamed things were back then. Back before websites needed a certain level of quality to stand out. Back before there were guidelines, or guides.
The web is demonstrably better these days. But it’s missing something. There’s a spark of life that just isn’t present on the ‘net these days.
Things like VRChat almost have that. That Wild West feel of never knowing what kind of unbelievable thing is going to happen next. It’s not good exactly. Swarms of particularly racist Knuckles’ running around aren’t really beneficial to a game’s image.
VRChat taking steps to sanitize that stuff? In the long run it’s probably good for the software. But every time the Old West gets settled it’s a little sad. That’s just me being nostalgic about how I grew up.
The people losing access to genuine quality-of-life mods? They’ve really got something to complain about.