The version of Skyrim on Game Pass is moddable—with limits

Skyrim Special Edition mod - Inigo follower

(Image credit: Bethesda, modded by Smartbluecat)

By default games acquired through the Windows Store, including those on Game Pass for PC, install to unchangeable read-only directories, making them impossible to mod. However, some games have a toggle to alter this, meaning the Game Pass versions of FTL, State of Decay 2, and a handful of others actually can be modded. And so can Skyrim Special Edition, one of 13 Bethesda games recently added to Game Pass, and a game that's improved significantly by mods.

However, it's not all good news. The Game Pass edition of Skyrim Special Edition has a different executable to the Steam release, and is incompatible with the Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE). Without SKSE, many of the most popular and ambitious mods won't work. According to the SKSE webpage, it may stay that way. "SKSE cannot support any potential Windows Store release of Skyrim", it says. "Windows Store applications are locked down similarly to consoles and do not allow the APIs necessary for script extenders to work."

So no SkyUI or Legacy of the Dragonborn then. There are still great mods out there that don't require SKSE, however, like those collected at If you've got Skyrim through Game Pass, you'll still be able to use Alternate Start—Live Another Life, A Quality World Map, Inigo, and The Forgotten City. Here's our list of the best Skyrim Special Edition mods to help you find more, or see what you're missing.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.