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You Can Transfer Your 360 Skyrim Characters to PC

A vast world of improved texture detail awaits you.

After playing Skyrim for several dozen feverish hours in the course of the review process, I figured it must be the mark of a truly special game that I immediately wanted to sink in several dozen more hours as soon as I had the time. It's just that good.

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But the release-day discovery of the low-quality texture bug on the Xbox 360--the first version we got in for review, and the one I spent the bulk of my time with--gave me a good reason to hold off. One of these games only comes along every few years; might as well ensure it looks as good as it can while I see everything (else) it has to offer for the first time. I wasn't about to abandon my level-30 character to restart on another platform, so I grudgingly decided to wait for the issue to be corrected, which may still be as much as two weeks away from happening.

In a strange twist of fate, it seems like I might not have to wait after all, now that users over on Reddit have posted a set of easy steps to extract your save file from the 360 version of Skyrim and bring it directly into the PC version. I verified that the process only took about five minutes before I was up and running with my old Imperial mace-and-shield fighter from my original playthrough, except this time with a mouse and keyboard instead of a controller.

While the need to change platforms is probably rare, the PC version looks and runs dramatically better than its console counterparts, and of course features the much-ballyooed support for mods that's already yielded a Skyrim Street View feature, among other novelties. Due to those distinct advantages, some players might find themselves ready to try the PC version in a few weeks or months, maybe after the inevitable Steam sale.

The Xbox 360 is such a closed platform that the very idea this even works is sort of magical to me. Granted, the necessary tools can certainly be put to a more questionable purpose than this one, but like hardware mod chips before them, this seems like the rare situation where console modification lets you do something that's unique and ethically sound at the same time.

If you've heard about a way to do something similar with the PS3 version as well, I'm sure some readers would appreciate it if you posted your info in the comments.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+