Over $57 Million Paid Out To Steam Workshop Creators

It's the Steam logo.

$57 million US is a lot of money. So’s $58 million, but I mention $57m specifically because that’s how much Valve have paid out since 2011 to folks who made and sold in-game items for their games. It’s over $57 million dollars from hats, knives, guns, staves, and swords across TF2, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. And those last two games only sell cosmetic items. And that’s after Valve have taken their cut. Crumbs!

Now non-Valve games can join in. The first games opening up a ‘curated’ Steam Workshop bringing items to sale are Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and Dungeon Defenders Eternity.

That $57+ million was earned by over 1,500 contributors over 75 countries, Valve explained in a blog post, because one big number wasn’t enough. I’d be fascinated to see a more detailed breakdown one day, or perhaps find out the best-selling item, because I’ve heard staggering stories about friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friends.

Of course, some of those items are bought and sold to be a weird form of currency, even used for betting on pro matches. People buy and hoard items as investments. It’s all very odd and exciting and The Future.

Until now, only Valve games could have the ‘curated’ Steam Workshops where creators submit items for players to vote on, with the most popular being officially added and going on sale. Valve called this “an unfortunate consequence of the sheer number of challenges required in order to scale to a global audience of creators and players.”

Chivalry and Dungeon Defenders are only the start. “We expect more curated Workshops to become available for creators and players in various games over the coming weeks and months,” Valve say.

It’s a fine option to have, but is another that needs to be used carefully, adding to the list with Early Access, DLC, pre-orders, and goodness knows what else. Dota 2 and CS: GO only sell cosmetic items and still draw grumbles from some, while TF2 selling items with new abilities put a fair few folks off the game.

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108 Comments

  1. tormos says:

    The other thing to mention about the cosmetics is that they tend to be quite cheap. Christmas presents in my friend group (of broke college students) were mostly DOTA2 cosmetics this year. Several people got full new sets for heroes that they play regularly, and I went in halvesies with a friend for the 15 dollars to buy the awesome Lina arcana for our mid/support. (an arcana is a cosmetic that makes a complete graphical overhaul rather than changing one piece of the character)

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Quite cheap in comparison to what? How do you estimate the value of virtual clothes?

      • kalzekdor says:

        He was most certainly using cheap as a reference to absolute value, not relative value.

        Relative value example: Instead of buying a name brand item for $500, I bought a cheap off-brand item for $200.

        Absolute value example: The prices at this restaurant are cheap, only about $10 per person.

      • therighttoarmbears says:

        There is always the old axiom about spending your money where you spend your time. No sense remodeling the kitchen if you never cook, just put that money toward eating out, as it were. It all boils down to value being relative, as always, and each person’s preferences and habits being different. Perhaps tormos spends a fair bit of his/her expendable time and income on Dota2, in which case there is room for this attitude in a reasonable worldview (per my perhaps unreasonable worldview, anyway)

    • dontnormally says:

      How the shit is $15 a reasonable, let alone *cheap*, price for a set of virtual clothing?

      • Malarious says:

        For what it’s worth, many Dota 2 cosmetics maintain value very well. 6 months from now, you can put that $15 cosmetic on the Steam market for ~$15, and put it toward a computer game purchase.

    • Shadow says:

      I have 15 dollars. Should I get a whole full game or an entirely cosmetic skin for a single character of another game?

      Hmm.

      It’s astonishing how marketing succeeds at making people think paying such sums for something so insignificant is remotely reasonable, let alone cheap. I guess people are too dazzled by the big discount percentage (omg, 75% off!) to notice the actual figure they’re supposed to pay.

      But well, that’s how those on the other side of the fence collectively make $57 million over four years.

    • airmikee says:

      Is it sad that there are so many that think $15 is a lot of money?

      • Shadow says:

        Way to miss the point. It’s not about the sum itself but what said sum gets you.

        Would you purchase a single stick of bubblegum for 15 dollars?

        I can only assume you think a character skin is worth that sum, and therefore you only judge the price on absolute terms.

      • Distec says:

        Check your economic privilege.

      • tamccullough says:

        It is a lot of money! To me anyways. Maybe it’s because I’m old enough to miss the days when this sort of thing didn’t cost anything. I’m all for supporting creators ( I am one, though not on steam ) I feel like these sort of things could cost even less, and more of the profit could be passed on to the creators.

        It seems to me that VALVe uses most of this money to probably create the prize purses. Which is smart business wise, but it seems kind of nefarious too.

      • Dux Ducis Hodiernus says:

        It is a lot of money for something that ‘doesnt exist’. IMO. But yeah, I mean I ate lunch with a friend the other day and the bill for us two was $100, so i mean, in comparison to costs like that $15 isnt that much. But at least the lunch we actually got you know, real stuff. Food.

  2. Saii says:

    What Valve doesn’t say when bragging about its payouts to creators is the amount it’s making on these shenanigans. $160m for Dota 2 this year alone, $80m for TF2 in 2013/14, and it doesn’t even mention how much CS:GO makes. It’s a clever marketing ploy to big up the artists, but Valve’s no better than any other controller of a large media platform – its owners are sitting back and raking in much the largest chunk of cash produced by exploiting other people’s hard work.

    • MeatMan says:

      How is Valve exploiting anyone in this situation? If Valve had not developed and released this feature, those creators would have earned $0. Vavle is not exploiting these creators; Valve is enabling them to easily offer their creations for sale … on Valve’s platform.

      • Artist says:

        Ofc, ofc – Valve would NEVER exploit their customers, would they? I wouldnt like to switch with your perspective of how this things roll. The contributors add unbelievable amount of “shelf-value” to Valves game and in return they even take yet-another-part of what contributors work for. Lern about “precarious labour”.

      • Saii says:

        By that logic Meatman any “job creator” (ie. person with control over the means of production or distribution of a given item) should have the right to skim as much as they want off the labour of everyone else who is contributing to the process.

        I see a couple of flaws in that, namely in this case that just using the figures above, creators are getting $57m, Valve is getting $240m – so in total is seemingly taking home considerably more percentage revenue on every item created than most music labels would manage with their artists.

        Oh and on a secondary but related note – $57m spread across 1,500 creators is about $38,000 a year. Which isn’t too awful, as jobs go, but it’s not Wow Baby either, especially when you bear in mind that it’s payment by results, so some will be getting significantly more than others – kind of like a sales job with no safety net, redundancy or pension plan.

        • Artist says:

          Not to mention that Valve also outsources the risk having to invest into production. They rake in money while the “risk” (e.g. if the “product” is successful) if fully with the contributor. Thats a nice difference to the work an employee does for the employer. The risk is with the employer and so is the product. The employee usually gets paid for the work only.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            Bullshit they do. Who do you think created Steam, the Source Engine, and the games? Those were all substantial, risky investments. What risk is an item creator putting up with? A little lost time? Not even remotely comparable.

            What you’re proposing is tantamount to marching up to the world’s most popular retail store, demanding free shelf space, and justifying it by saying that you’re bringing more customers in with your goods! You take no risks, invest nearly nothing, and reap all benefit. Totally absurd.

          • Artist says:

            You totally misunderstood and misinterpret the value of invested labour. While the curated workshops indeed needed some investment to be set up it does not relate to the amount of money they make from it. Also you dont see how Valve gets paid multiple times in different “currencies”. By the sales, their share of sales from contributors AND the enhanced “shelf-value” of the game from the support of the contributors/customers.

            The big winner is Valve, not the contributor who sells his stuff on steam. And that can be considered as exploitation of precarious labour.
            If you want it in-deep: link to five.fibreculturejournal.org

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            No, I’m saying you aren’t making any sense because you’re ignoring the substantial risk and investment that Valve put forth in creating the games and systems that allow these transactions to happen. You’re trying to say that all the risk is on the creators, which is completely and utterly bogus. Who pays the server costs? Who made the storefront? Who invested tens, if not hundreds, of millions dollars into creating the games? Not the person who spent a few hours making a hat in blender. Hence the hefty fee.

            Now, is there some mutualism going on, where really good items can attract more players to the Valve games? Sure. But Valve does not gain nearly as many customers from having access to modders as modders gain from having access to Valve’s games and infrastructure.

          • Shuck says:

            @Artist: Exactly. In a traditional free-to-play online game, the game pays for itself through those same sort of cosmetic items, etc., except that it’s a process of constant risk. Each new content release is an investment, paying for the work of artists and designers and hoping that it will have enough appeal to players that the revenue will not only pay back that investment but also pay for continued operation and the original investment. Valve’s version is really risk-free in comparison.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            “Slightly less risky” isn’t remotely the same as “risk-free.” Unless you believe that the brunt of the costs come from creating microtransactions, not actually making the game itself. Which is a cuckoo crazy bananas argument, but one that’s political convenient for some people, apparently.

          • Shuck says:

            @ResonanceCascade: It’s not “slightly” less risky, it’s the total elimination of ongoing risk. It’s the difference of a precarious hand-to-mouth existence for an online game and setting up a marketplace and riding the gravy train. Since Valve have the number one PC game distribution platform, they were guaranteed a large enough audience to make this work, thereby eliminating most of their upfront risk as well. There’s no one else with the requisite resources to make this work out of the gate.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            What risk has been eliminated? The risk that people might not buy their microntransations? That still exists, though it is slightly diminished (as I said). That they are going to spend money paying people to work on store items instead? Valve is still making their own items, too, and the salaries of the people who would be working on them without this store are still being paid (those people are just doing other things). Again, the vast brunt of the risk and cost was in creating and maintaining the Steam infrastructure and the games that make this storefront space so desirable.

            Help me understand what you’re getting at here. Be specific.

        • kalzekdor says:

          By that logic Meatman any “job creator” (ie. person with control over the means of production or distribution of a given item) should have the right to skim as much as they want off the labour of everyone else who is contributing to the process.

          Uhhhh….. how about…. yes. It’s called profit, or markup, or margin. If I have a client willing to pay $X for a good or service, and I hire you to fulfill said need, then I can certainly pay you $X – $Y, keeping $Y myself for the client acquisition, customer service, and care. It’s called Subcontracting, and it is extremely common in the business world.

          Less specifically, what you’ve basically described here is employment. So… yeah….

          • Saii says:

            Uhhhh….. how about…. yes. It’s called profit, or markup, or margin.

            Yes I understand how profit works, thanks. You however don’t appear to understand the difference between subcontracting (where someone is paid to fulfil part of someone else’s contract, the clue being in the name), freelancing (working on specific tasks, again as a paid worker with attendant rights negotiated based on your labour, not on subsequent sales), and RRP vs unit cost (retail price vs. the amount it costs you to produce an item, usually negotiated based on an estimate of relative leverage between producer, seller and consumer).

            Less specifically, what you’ve basically described here is employment. So… yeah….

            What I’m describing is not employment, that’s the point, it’s retailing small-producer goods. These artists are more analogous to I dunno, the old home-weavers who used to produce back in the 19th century, than to paid employees. They have none of the rights or securities common to employees, being reliant wholly on whether their product will sell in the virtual shopfront. Valve dictates what percentage they get, which appears to be relatively little, and in a twist on that 19th century system, are paying relative peanuts to keep the shop open so are taking on basically no risk – unlike the artists, who are having to pay via equipment, training, hours worked, etc etc.

          • kalzekdor says:

            You should really read things more closely. No, the arrangement between Valve and Workshop creators is not employment. That should be obvious to anyone.

            However, the idea of making money from another’s labor, which is what you described in your post (“any ‘job creator’ … should have the right to skim as much as they want off the labour…”), is most certainly employment at the most basic definition.

            This is what I was referencing, your specific statement, not the relationship between Valve and Workshop creators.

            The relationship between Valve and Workshop creators is a business to business arrangement. One party (the content creator) creates content, which they then sell to Valve in exchange for a percentage of the future revenue Valve earns from said content.

            I really don’t know who you’re trying to protect here. The content creators are not being taken advantage of, they are selling their skills in a way that they so choose. 3D modelling and related skills are in demand, and they can (and almost certainly many do) earn a living as a freelance artist, or standard employment with a company in a design capacity.

          • subedii says:

            Go back about 15 years. The heyday of UT99 and Quake 3 modding.

            Modders made precisely… nothing. They gained experience which might have potentially benefited them in applying for jobs, and that’s it.

            Today they make items that they can sell. They learn, they earn money doing it, AND it’s incredibly valuable to have manufactured and sold items in your portfolio.

            That’s all IF they want to sign a contract with Valve to sell their mods on Steam (made using the tools that Valve provided, on the Infrastructure and Marketplace that Valve owns, and with the bandwidth / hosting that Valve are providing). Otherwise they can (and often do) simply release their mods for free for people to use on an individual basis (as in, not officially a fully integrated part of the game and as such not rolled out across the board to all game clients. Basically as things were before).

            Otherwise if they feel their skills are well developed enough to enter full time employment (as opposed to making mods for someone else’s game), they can most definitely do as kalzekdor said and go Freelance / Fulltime.

            I don’t have issue with this.

            EDIT: Crikey that reminds me. I remember the days of Jedi Outcast modding. LucasArts would literally C&D you if you made and distributed a level based on any of the film sets (or any other references for that matter). THAT was the glorious relationship they (legally I might add) had with you.

          • Emeraude says:

            they are selling their skills in a way that they so choose

            The idea that this is in itself a counter argument – that this is *inherently* a good thing is dangerous in and off itself. That hyper-focus on individual freedom mainly benefits the capital owners, because capital naturally aggregates, and the labor force can only have a significant counter-negotiation power if it acts collectively – that’s the only way they’ll scale the balance.

            What matters is the structural effects. So, the question, I’d say is: is this particular working arrangement globally creating better value once you’ve factored the opportunity cost of using another ?

            So far I would have said yes, but only in so far as it’s been so limited in scale. But its growth is necessarily worrying, I think.

        • Shuck says:

          “$57m spread across 1,500 creators is about $38,000 a year.”
          Except that I suspect most creators are actually making quite little, as, from what I’ve heard, a few are making substantially more. A friend at a large US game studio was telling me about some artist co-workers who are popular item creators for Valve’s games in their spare time. Apparently they make far, far more money from their item sales than they do as full-time, experienced game artists. (Enough that this means there are quite a few item contributors making next to nothing.)

        • The Godzilla Hunter says:

          You are right, $38,000 a year isn’t that bad for a job, but it isn’t great either.

          Good thing Valve are not asking people to work full-time on their submissions. How long does it take a person to make a hat for tf2? 10 hours? 20 hours? 30 hours? Because unless they are spending an entire job-for-a-year’s worth of time they are being paid amazingly well per-hour. Far better than most industry artists, I imagine.

          The real problem with the situation is that people are not guaranteed to get paid. But the actual payment? Amazing.

    • DrollRemark says:

      To think that only a few years ago I earnestly thought that the rise of all these new ways of providing content online, with the work of the middlemen so greatly reduced from previously, might lead to the original creators finally getting a worthy share of the money their product makes. Silly me.

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

      • kalzekdor says:

        Creators of Steam Workshop items receive 25% of the proceeds from any item they create. This is not an obscure factoid hidden in fine print of an artist contract. Every creator knows this going in. And, clearly, at least 1500 people have decided that this is an acceptable arrangement.

        Especially when you consider that Valve not only provides the marketplace that gives value to these creations, they also handle publishing, distribution, and sales. Try asking for 25% of gross sales as an unknown artist when signing with a major record label. They’ll laugh you out of the building.

        • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

          And yet Valve don’t take a 75% cut of games sold on Steam—why not? Their role in the publishing and distribution there is almost identical. Nor does Apple take a 75% cut of software sold on the iOS App Store. Nor does Google take a 75% cut of software sold on the Google Play store. Need I go on?

          Simply put, Valve’s 75% share of the money they take for workshop items is not fair to the creators of those items, even though the creators agreed to it!

          • Reefpirate says:

            It’s simple. The rates for selling on Steam are competitive with alternatives. You could sell your own game from your own website without paying Valve. Or, you could pay Valve and potentially reach a much larger audience.

            In the case of DotA 2 skins… You could make your own skins divorced from Valve’s game and take 100% of the money. Or, you could accept Valve’s rates and reach their absolutely massive DotA 2 audience.

            All the people trying to defend the ‘exploited’ artists in this case seem to be pretending that Valve hasn’t done anything to deserve their cut… Meanwhile they’ve had to invest who knows how many millions of dollars into developing the game, keeping servers running for the game, sponsoring international tournaments for the game, etc. etc.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            “Valve hasn’t done anything to deserve their cut”

            I think the matter of whether this 75% cut is fair is what is debated, not whether Valve has done anything at all. 75% is a lot when what is sold is, really, someone’s work. I think it is important to question that and improve conditions for the artists.

            I mean, if you do not want to argue about giving the artists more, why not argue about Valve getting 80%? After all, Valve has done so much, isn’t 80% more fair?

          • Reefpirate says:

            As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, pretty much whatever offer Valve wants to make is ‘fair’ in my books. So sure if they want 80% they should take 80%. It’s not like there’s many other markets for virtual hats out there.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            That sort-of implies that Valve is getting a heavily inflated % based on having almost a monopoly which allows them to pay what-ever they want. That you see no difference between 75% or 80% shows that it has little to do with what Valve needs to pay to run the game and more with optimising their bottom line.

            If OmniCorp own all business in the world, some would say they would still have to pay minimum wage; but you might say, of course, that they should be able to pay people what-ever _they_ want because what-ever they want to pay is ‘fair’.

            Then, I think what people here are saying is that we morally object against OmniCorp paying so little, regardless of whether it can get away with it.

          • Reefpirate says:

            And now we’re talking about trust-busting the virtual hat business? I’m sorry but this is all a little bit absurd to me.

            It probably doesn’t help that I’m skeptical of a lot of anti-trust and minimum wage arguments to begin with, but there’s no way I’m going to argue about how there’s absolutely no need for Congress to get involved in this issue.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            I think people can dislike and have some outcry over what they consider a company’s questionable behaviour without involving (the I presume USA) Congress, just like you can do the same without getting parliament to deregulate markets further.

          • Alegis says:

            “Simply put, Valve’s 75% share of the money they take for workshop items is not fair to the creators of those items”
            They made the games?

            No one would buy a .jpg of the artist’s skins/models. But they will buy the skin on a TF2 item.
            The artists would simply not be making this money were it not for the games; which they have not made.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            I don’t think anybody actually ever said “Valve hasn’t done anything to deserve their cut”, which is why it is perpetually between quotes.

    • Rizlar says:

      ‘Exploiting’ is probably a bit strong. It’s not one of those shady writing competitions where the prize is publication. These games offer to sell player-created stuff, players create amazing stuff, so long as they get a fair cut I don’t see any problem with this.

      The question of what is a fair cut is probably the one you should be asking. And as others have pointed out 25% is extremely reasonable as far as royalty rates go (at least in the area of which I have experience ie. not this).

      • Saii says:

        People often mistake “exploiting” to mean the absolute most vicious end of things – child slave labour in Brazil and the like. Exploitation happens to everyone who must sell their labour, because in order for bosses to profit they have to make more out of selling the item than they pay to produce it. The disparity can be greater or smaller, but exploitation is inherent in any capitalistic process.

        • subedii says:

          Exploitation happens to everyone who must sell their labour, because in order for bosses to profit they have to make more out of selling the item than they pay to produce it. The disparity can be greater or smaller, but exploitation is inherent in any capitalistic process.

          So literally all employment is exploitation, would that be the correct interpretation of your statement?

          I mean I’m excluding things like charities and NGO’s from what would be defined as “employment” here. Otherwise I’m having a hard time thinking of employment that is literally a zero sum game.

          If that’s right then… well at least I understand the root of your perspective now I guess.

          • Emeraude says:

            To a point it is though.

            Employment only happens if the employer can convince the employee to work for less than the actual value generated by the employee’s work, and can only force that relationship because it has control over the means of production. This is hardly ever a relationship between equals we have in those situations.

        • Rizlar says:

          I’m aware of what ‘exploit’ means, I took you to mean it in a very negative sense.

    • Jeroen D Stout says:

      I have to just say I am rather impressed with the ethical questions that come up every time now a news item such as this is posted. I am happy we have this discussion. Less happy that some of it consists of ‘but that is how capital works’ type of ‘that makes it all OK’ arguments, but still.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Have you considered that maybe that is how capital works?

        Its not like Valve isn’t fronting the vast majority of the costs for this whole enterprise, what with developing the game, keeping the servers running, facilitating world championship tournaments, etc. Or are we to assume that Valve should just spend all those hundreds of millions for the sake of some starving artists?

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          basilisk says:

          But they haven’t spent all that money to create a platform for artists, but to create videogame products that are monetised (each in a slightly different way), and highly successfully at that, making money hand over fist through multiple different avenues. This workshop thing is just additional revenue on top of that, which makes your argument nonsensical. All of that development, infrastructure etc. had to be in place already for this model to be even possible, and the costs of running the workshop system are quite negligible in the big picture. The profits, however, are not.

          • Reefpirate says:

            If the costs of running the Workshop are so negligible, I don’t see why the artists don’t do it themselves. You know, make their own DotA-clone with its own workshop and sell skins for 100%.

            It’s fucking easy, right??

          • Emeraude says:

            If the costs of running the Workshop are so negligible, I don’t see why the artists don’t do it themselves.

            Quoting the very post which you are answering: All of that development, infrastructure etc. had to be in place already for this model to be even possible, and the costs of running the workshop system are quite negligible in the big picture. Emphasis mine.

            The cost is negligible relative to the capital investment already done by the company. That was the point, yes.

            Have you considered that maybe that is how capital works?

            It aggregates naturally, and ends up in the hands of a minority of the population that can dictate how and when others can generate more capital to the majority of the workforce.

            (Isn’t it wonderfully grating, that way of addressing others?)

          • Reefpirate says:

            So once someone invests a whole boat load of time and money into an enterprise, they then need to give up the benefits of that infrastructure to virtual hat creators? Who gets to decide when enough time has passed, or enough revenue has been generated, to make your infrastructure free for the public to use? I’m guessing the artists get to decide when that time has come?

            The fact is that Valve is still at risk. I know it’s hard to believe, but Valve could go out of business this month. Or the month after that. Their servers would shut down and no one would be able to sell any more hats. Who would you take your grievances to in that case? I suppose you would start wailing away at the ether, or the ‘state of nature’, for being so cruel to virtual hat creators?

          • Emeraude says:

            So once someone invests a whole boat load of time and money into an enterprise, they then need to give up the benefits of that infrastructure to virtual hat creators?

            They don’t need to “give up”, but certainly, having recognized that there will *always* be a imbalance in power, in the potential to create and invest, we can try to make things fairer. And then part of the question becomes: how close is the current agreement to as fair as we can get ?

            (Going by your argument here, why should authors have been entitled to the benefits of intellectual property, it’s not as if *they* were the ones that set up the industries which produce and market their work.?)

            No, see, I *think* one problem is that you’re seeing this from the point of view of individuals. This is a structural matter. As much as we like to fancy ourselves in control – and I say that as a once employer myself – we don’t really matter, even in aggregates, as far as structural matters are concerned.

            What we need is legislations, laws, agreements – working enforceable structures between parties that can correct the natural unfair order of things IF and WHEN deemed needed (that is, in my opinion, as rarely as we can afford, because whatever we do we create side effects).

            Is the work situation here unfair ? Yes. Undeniably so – by definition even I’d go as far to say. Is it so unfair that it needs a correction from civil society ? I’d say no. So far I’d say it’s even been better than the existing alternatives that we had. Does it comes with potential risks attached that may and probably will later need some form of intervention or regulation ? I’m convinced of it, yes. And I don’t think there’s any harm in saying it, and giving it some thought before the situation actually gets ugly.

            I mean, I’m as anti-Valve as it gets, but I don’t mind saying they’ve been doing good on that front, but also that they raise an issue that is bigger than them, however well intentioned they may be.

        • Emeraude says:

          Have you considered that maybe that is how capital works?

          Have you considered that, maybe, the point of a civil society is to be a little less unfair than the state of nature ?

          Capitalism creates poor people as an externality of its process of creating more capital. Regardless of the merits of those that end up poor. That’s one of the things it does.

          That’s why we try to regulate it, to make it less unfair. That’s why we created, say, intellectual monopoly laws, because we understood that a completely unregulated capitalistic society was horribly unfair toward content creators, whose work could freely be abused by publishers for their own enrichment.

          That’s why we try to regulate other forms of work. With, yes original intent of trying to make things a little less unfair.

          • Reefpirate says:

            I was under the impression that in the ‘state of nature’ (whatever the hell that is) everyone is dirt poor and there certainly is no mass market for Valve skin creators to sell into.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Reefpirate

            Well, you were under the wrong impression then.

            As for the state of nature: purely unregulated capitalistic society in our conversation here.

          • Reefpirate says:

            I’m sorry I guess I did kind of miss your point there.

            What is grinding on me is how any of this arrangement with skin creators could be construed as ‘unfair’ simply because Valve wants money for publishing, distributing and marketing the art. Some people in here seem to think anything less than 100% is ‘unfair’ for the artists.

            You don’t seem to fall into that camp, but I think whatever Valve offers is ‘fair’ because if Valve weren’t there, if Valve hadn’t created and maintained the games in the first place then there would be no market to sell into. Every dollar that a Valve skin creator takes to the bank is a bonus, it’s excess or created value that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the investment and risks undertaken by Valve.

            If there is some value that exists sans Valve then I suggest anyone who feels they are being treated unfairly should take a gamble on some other, more lucrative virtual hat market.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            Let’s change a few entities in that description to see if you still agree.

            I think whatever tax the government wants is ‘fair’ because if the government weren’t there, if the government hadn’t created and maintained a stable society and economy in the first place then there would be no market to sell into. Every dollar that a citizen takes to the bank is a bonus, it’s excess or created value that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the investment and risks undertaken by the government.

          • Purdurabo says:

            VelvetFistIronGlove-
            You can’t compare a government to a business like valve. The 75% cut valve takes is because of copyright and licensing.Valve built dota 2. It owns the intellectual copyright of the game and any artist should be damned thrilled that valve is allowing them to ride on the coatails of their brand right into the massive market they have built up.

            A more apt comparison would be like you throwing a little extra flavoring into coca cola to change it’s flavor slightly and then expecting Coca cola to manafacture , distribute and sell it for you using their brand name to market it to their already well established customer base. And then still expecting to get the lions share of the royalties.

            You can also compare Valve to other artistic proffesions. Authors only make about 8-12 % of loyalties on the price the book is sold to the publisher at. Not it’s consumer market price. Musicians make about 10-25% of the price it is sold to the market at, not the price it is sold to the consumer. Valve gives a flat 25% loyalties on the price it is sold to the consumer market at, a great improvement on the other two industries i mentioned .

            It is deeply ironic that when Valve comes out with a revolutionary business plan that finally offers a way for modders to make money on what they used to have to do for free , and then offers to give them better royalties than even famous musicians and authors would expect, they are lambasted for how unfair it is and how they are just using people .

          • Emeraude says:

            It owns the intellectual copyright of the game and any artist should be damned thrilled that valve is allowing them to ride on the coatails of their brand right into the massive market they have built up.

            It “owns” it only at the leisure of the government though, if not for the government, Valve would “own” nothing on that front. It’s the government that decided that the situation was unfair and granted the creators a temporary exclusive rights to the making of copies for profit. It’s the government that has the duty to enforce it.

            And if the situation created by Valve become similarly problematically unfair – which it can grow to, the potential is there – then it will have to be regulated the same way. What’s so wrong with that idea ?

    • 2lab says:

      People who write books get 10-12%, Valve pay 25% to their content creators. Valve pay alot more than is required to get the work done.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      I thought it was obvious to everybody that Valve is making a ton of cash out of this. They wouldn’t be making a cent if creators didn’t think Valve’s cut was reasonable. We’re not talking about dirt-poort workers locked up inside a sweatshop here… people with that talent could be earning money elsewhere. Valve managed to find a successful business model and attract talented modders, I’m not gonna be a jalous asshole and I’m just gonna congratulate them.

  3. badmothergamer says:

    As someone who has spent hundreds of hours of my time making mods for free, I think it’s fantastic they are pulling in a 25% commission for their work. I know a lot of folks hate Valve for a variety of reasons, but this seems incredibly beneficial to both sides.

    And if the modders/skinners don’t like it, they can always go to another company that pays more than 25%. What’s that? There isn’t one? Nevermind then.

    I post my mods on Nexus mods, and while the owner of that site isn’t nearly as profitable as Valve, he is making money off the work other people are posting for free. This does not bother me one bit.

    The split on this article seems to be the same as every other article involving Valve. If you already hate them, you can work this into an excuse to hate them further. If you don’t, this system seems perfectly reasonable.

    • Saii says:

      As someone who has spent hundreds of hours of my time making mods for free, I think it’s fantastic they are pulling in a 25% commission for their work.

      As someone who paints in my spare time, I love it when art galleries pay professional artists a pittance and then sell on their work for hundreds of thousands of pounds.

      Fixed.

      • Llewyn says:

        As someone who also paints in my spare time, I would be delighted if any gallery wanted to pay me £50k for any of my pieces because they could create enough of a market to sell it for £200k. I sure as hell can’t create a market paying me at that level otherwise; if I could I wouldn’t be painting in my spare time.

        If you’re going to claim you’ve “fixed” someone else’s opinion, at least make an effort to do a decent job of it.

        • Saii says:

          I would be delighted if any gallery wanted to pay me £50k

          They’re not though, they’re paying you $38,000 a year with no safety net, based solely on how well your work sells. Hence “professional.”

          if I could I wouldn’t be painting in my spare time.

          Well that’s the crux isn’t it. You have no power in this process – you don’t get to choose to make a living off painting outside of their aegis. The relationship is not equal, and the profits are squirreled away at a far greater rate by one party than by the other. You may be okay with this, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair or right, it simply means you’ve got low expectations.

          • Llewyn says:

            pay professional artists a pittance and then sell on their work for hundreds of thousands of pounds

            I’m well aware Valve’s mean payout is $38k. However you pulled out the straw man above, which I responded to.

            Either make a decent point based on the facts here, or keep to your nonsensical parallels, but don’t mix the two and claim you’re fixing things.

          • Saii says:

            Speaking of straw men, where did I say $50k? I said pittance, and while art is not an exact parallel, the point being made was reasonably clearly that you were making a false equivalence between being delighted to get money for your hobby, and being a professional reliant on it for your living.

          • Llewyn says:

            You said “hundreds of thousands of pounds”. Giving you the benefit of the doubt and going for £200k at a minimum, that equates to £50k at the 25% Valve are paying. Which is what we were talking about.

          • pepperfez says:

            And as always with income statistics, mean is a totally worthless figure. Effectively no one is making $38000/year on the marketplace; a few are making much, much more while most are making almost nothing.

        • Emeraude says:

          @Llewyn

          The issue being, I guess, would doing this create a devaluation to the benefits of full time artists ? Would it end up in a general pauperization of the concerned workforce instead of just a raising in standard for its poorest members ?

          And, again, that Valve arrangement I think is decently good as long as it remains very limited in scale. The more it grows, the more worrying it becomes. Have we reached the point where the worries are warranted though ? I’m not sure.
          But it’s worth doing I’d say.

        • badmothergamer says:

          I’m not sure how many people out there are making CSGO weapon skins for a living, but the 25% they get from Valve is 100% more than they can get from anywhere else. The fact is people would continue making skins for these games and letting Valve sell them even if Valve took 100% of the proceeds. Most people skin/mod for the enjoyment and possible recognition of their work, not for cash.

          I’m not an expert, but as far as I can tell skinners/modders have two options. Option 1 is to make stuff for Valve products that pay 25% commission. Option 2 is to make stuff for every other game for free.

          • Saii says:

            Again though, this could have been said by anyone about any new industry at any point over the last 2,000 years. I mean before bricks were discovered there were no brickies. Does this mean people building houses should be grateful to get anything at all?

            If what you produce makes a profit then it’s your effort that should be rewarded – losing 75% of it to what amounts to a digital landlord is not acceptable. And if the producer’s making plenty already then its the consumers who are getting shafted. Either way, Valve’s minting cash at rates way beyond the effort it’s putting in.

          • Purdurabo says:

            The 75% is the licensing fee to use the tools and copyrighted material valve created to sell products into a market which valve created . If you write a book set in the starwars universe to sell to already established starwars fans don’t you think the copyright owners would expect a large portion of the earnings?

    • Martel says:

      I think you hit it right on. If you hate Valve this is exploiting modders. If you like Valve this is handing out cash to modders who would traditionally make $0. I imagine it’s somewhere in the middle.

      Considering that without this “profit sharing” setup Valve has, the modders would have made 0$ and 0%, so this has a positive effect. That being said, 25% is pretty weak compared to other creative industries (on the surface). But also remember that’s 25% of gross, not net, which I don’t believe even the top selling musicians get.

      So again, I think the argument right now falls along Valve and your emotional feelings towards them, since there isn’t enough data to say one way or the other.

      • Saii says:

        Thing is though I don’t hate Valve (they’re just a company). I simply have a perspective on what constitutes commercial fairness which doesn’t include applauding any firm’s right to grossly exploit a control position on a near-monopolistic form of distribution.

      • pepperfez says:

        For all intents and purposes, net=gross here, no?

    • Banyan says:

      An author tends to get 5-7% paperback and 10-15% of hardback royalties, based on revenue, not the cover price. A recording artist generally makes 10-25% for royalties. There’s currently an attempt to give 5% of revenue from art auctions to painters, sculptors, etc, who have always only gotten paid when they first sell a piece.

      People can certainly argue that middlemen take too much of a cut, but there’s no argument that the flat 25% royalty the Valve offers is totally normal, if not generous, compared to the normal percentage an artist can expect in other media and platforms.

  4. Saii says:

    You should really read things more closely.

    Try not to sneer darling, you’ll wrinkle. Not to mention it’s probably best to be a little less smug when you’ve only just finished failing to explain what a subcontractor does.

    the idea of making money from another’s labor is most certainly employment at the most basic definition.

    Again, no it isn’t. Hence explaining the difference between employment and retailing others’ work.

    The relationship between Valve and Workshop creators is a business to business arrangement.

    The thing is that this implies some form of parity of power which doesn’t exist here. These people aren’t Tescos, they’re individuals. Hence my earlier analogy. It’s quite probable consolidation will happen, possibly even producer co-ops (hope so), but they haven’t yet. What we have at the moment is one massive near-monopoly taking a massive profit at the expense of producers (and consumers, come to that – you think it actually costs £2.99 to call a skin off a server?)

    I really don’t know who you’re trying to protect here.

    Right back atcha. I would have thought I’m being reasonably clear here that what I’m annoyed at is Valve bragging about its payouts even while it squeezes massive profits out of casualised labour.

    they can (and almost certainly many do) earn a living as a freelance artist, or standard employment with a company in a design capacity.

    Last I heard there’s an increasing glut of artists looking for work right now, and it’s only going to get worse over the next few years.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Squeezes. Great weasel word.

    • kalzekdor says:

      Not to mention it’s probably best to be a little less smug when you’ve only just finished failing to explain what a subcontractor does.

      A subcontractor, as I stated, is a business or individual paid by a business to perform work that the paying business was contracted by a third party (the client) to perform. The business hiring the subcontractor will charge the client more than they paid the subcontractor, this is called a markup. As an IT Consultant for small businesses, I have both hired, and been hired as, subcontractors. This is completely accurate, and also completely irrelevant to the Valve/Artist dynamic.

      Again, no it isn’t. Hence explaining the difference between employment and retailing others’ work.

      You are really starting to lose me here. Are you saying that all companies must evenly split all income amongst the employees? If so, then I can only state that you have no knowledge of business matters. However, I’m going to give you the benefit of doubt here, and assume that there is a miscommunication. Perhaps you are again referencing the Valve/Artist dynamic? As I mentioned before, my first post did not intend to comment on that matter at all. I was pointing out a flawed argument, in hopes that you would reform it, and then proceed to debate on firmer grounds.

      The thing is that this implies some form of parity of power which doesn’t exist here. These people aren’t Tescos, they’re individuals. Hence my earlier analogy. It’s quite probable consolidation will happen, possibly even producer co-ops (hope so), but they haven’t yet. What we have at the moment is one massive near-monopoly taking a massive profit at the expense of producers (and consumers, come to that – you think it actually costs £2.99 to call a skin off a server?)

      Firstly, I’m not going to debate the validity of selling skins and hats for what are often outrageous sums. I don’t get it, I can’t defend it. However, clearly there is a market for it, and kudos to Valve for envisioning that market.

      Secondly, the idea that there is a disparity in power between Valve/Artists is completely irrelevant. The artists have chosen, of their own will, to engage in this business transaction (and your insinuation that only huge corporations matter is frankly offensive to a small business owner such as myself). They have decided that the arrangement was equitable. If they did not, they would not be participating in this marketplace.

      Thirdly, Workshop creators can submit items as a group, designating the percentage of each individual’s contribution, whereupon Valve will directly pay the contributors at a commensurate rate.

      Finally, the word you are looking for is “Monopsony”.

      Right back atcha. I would have thought I’m being reasonably clear here that what I’m annoyed at is Valve bragging about its payouts even while it squeezes massive profits out of casualised labour.

      As I mentioned, I was interested in the debate itself, so I initially sought to correct your faulty statement, in the hopes of avoiding confusion. I seem to have failed at that last bit.

      However, now that I’m entrenched as devil’s advocate (Personally, I don’t like Valve as a company for a lot of reasons. The arrangement they make with content contributors is not one of them.), I’m curious as to why you think Valve is squeezing these content contributors? There is literally no other provider of community content that goes as far as Valve, and I have always lauded them for recognizing and remunerating the value-add that community content creates. (Though at the same time disparaging the worth of said content, but, I digress.)

      The reason for the post indicating the amount they’ve paid to content creators is simple. Marketing. They are interested in bringing new creators in, and enticing them with examples of prior payouts is a sound strategy. If their marketing efforts annoy you, I must ask, are you a 3D Artist, or otherwise interested in creating like content? If so, then tell Valve about your concerns, stating your reasons for declining participation in the Steam Workshop. Perhaps they’ll address them, particularly if you have a portfolio to offer. If you are not, then this marketing effort was not directed at you, and your annoyance is, I’m sorry to say, irrelevant.

      Last I heard there’s an increasing glut of artists looking for work right now, and it’s only going to get worse over the next few years.

      Thankfully, Valve has provided new opportunities for said artists, that would not have otherwise existed. Thus, particularly for freelance artists, they are able to supplement their income during their famine. Being in a similar freelance capacity, I can tell you firsthand that the Feast or Famine cycle can be brutal, and having a steady stream of income (even if small) can work wonders. Without steady income, if the Famine phase goes on too long, then you might have to, *gasp* get a job. And really, who can go back to the 9-5 grind after being your own boss? I certainly would not be willing to do so, unless I had literally no other recourse.

      Anyway, speaking of Feast, I have a client I need to meet, so I’ll have to end this debate here for now. It was a pleasure talking with you.

      • Emeraude says:

        There is literally no other provider of community content that goes as far as Valve

        That’s as much a positive as it’s a negative, really, when you’re down to it. Depending from where you’re looking at it.

        • Purdurabo says:

          It is still an improvement to what existed before, no matter where you are standing.

          • Emeraude says:

            I’ve stated my position twice already on that, but again: it *can* be a good thing. It has been so far I think. But it’s not inherently a good thing, and we’re going to have to watch carefully how it develops.

  5. Mr Coot says:

    It seems a reasonable set up to me – if the 75% retained by Valve is considered a licensing fee plus a fee to use their sales platform. Valve is permitting creators to derive income from their IP, so it’s reasonable they keep a portion of the sale price from anything created from that. I will be expecting that when non-Valve games are added, the 75% will be split between Valve and the IP owners in the same way that trading cards sold on the Steam Market break down at approx 5% to Valve and 10% to the game creator. [Ed. So, 25% to Valve, 50% to IP owner, 25% to item creator.

  6. check engine says:

    I’m no Valve herald for greatness, but come on.

    If I make a mod for Fallout 3 can I sell it? No I can’t, not legally, at least not without permission from Bethesda Softworks. All these really are in essence are mods for Valve games that Valve is giving modders permission and a venue to make a little scratch off of. It’s completely within Valve’s rights to take a big cut off the top. It’s their games and items made for their IP. I doubt any of the creators are doing this as anything other than a lucrative hobby either.

    Seriously, all this holding hands and singing The Internationale. No one is exploiting the proletariat here.

    • Saii says:

      Surely though that’s an argument for greater flexibility when it comes to derivative mods in games, rather than an argument for the right of companies to retain permanent and swingeing controls over every aspect of their “intellectual property”?

      Seriously, all this holding hands and singing The Internationale. No one is exploiting the proletariat here.

      You mock, but yes they are, and more efficiently than practically any other skilled industry. Firms have for years now profited directly from vast quantities of free labour put in by fans, modders, forum admins, wiki handlers and god knows who else. Do you really think Minecraft would be worth $2bn if it weren’t for the fan communities which rebuilt it from the ground up, over and over again, for nothing?

      Valve’s programme here is simply an extension of that model to create a more solid base – and it’s worked a treat, as their vast profitability off the back of it for titles which would otherwise be long dead shows.

      • kalzekdor says:

        Valve’s programme here is simply an extension of that model to create a more solid base – and it’s worked a treat, as their vast profitability off the back of it for titles which would otherwise be long dead shows.

        Hello again.

        I’m sorry, but as you point out just above this statement, community contributors are more than willing to add value to a game even if not being paid. Your Minecraft example proves that quite elegantly. As such, you cannot say that TF2/Dota 2 would be long dead if not for the Steam Workshop value add. Most likely Valve would hire in-house personnel to create the content that would otherwise be outsourced via the Steam Workshop. Indeed, this is what they did in the early days of TF2 before the Steam Workshop rollout (shortly after it became Free-To-Play). Valve would release first-party items in their shop, selling them directly. Their relationship with the content creators was your standard Employee-Employer relationship. However, since then, they have amortized the content creation among all willing community contributors, thus lowering their in-house overhead.

        The Community produced items have indeed been a boon to Valve’s bottom line, but it is erroneous to say that the communities these games have amassed would not exist otherwise.

  7. Loam says:

    Correction: “TF2 selling items with new abilities put a fair few folks off the game” is quite untrue. There have been people put off by a whole mountain of things, many of which I can enumerate thanks to my past sojourns on several TF2 boards, but “selling items with new abilities” is not one of them. All items with unique gameplay abilities are available for free in-game if you want to RNG, or by trading two of your random drops (obtainable in 1-2 hours of play total) for the weapon you want.

    I would have thought it was a big enough game — and especially one with such a lauded F2P system — for such errors not to be made, but perhaps that’s partly myopia on my part as a formerly very intense TF2 player!

  8. airmikee says:

    WTF? $15 is a lot of money? $38,000 a year for making stupid hats inside video games means they’re being exploited? Did the majority of RPS readers suddenly turn into 13 year olds with no jobs and warped ideas of what money is worth?

    • Thoric says:

      They’re called anti-capitalists and their purpose in life is to let you know that the contracts you enter voluntarily with others are inherently exploitative. It doesn’t matter if there’s thousands in line to get the same deal, it doesn’t matter if the amount of profit is “seemly”, it doesn’t matter if profit is made at all. As long as any party has the gall to treat a productive platform as its own property, even if it built it from the ground up, it’s an exploiter that has to be toppled.

    • tamccullough says:

      Maybe I am an anti capitalist. But I had the same experience, and only one person benefits from all this.
      link to t.co

  9. P.Funk says:

    This entire comments section is being bombed by someone who appears to take the most unsophisticated implications of radical left wing views on labour. Its basically criticizing the entire system under which we labour via Valve, which is a strange thing to do because if you believe that the system under which we live is ultimately exploitative by nature (a perfectly fair conversation to have in the correct context) Valve is one of the least evil elements of the arbitrarily evil system. They give their exploitees a fair shake and they didn’t have to, not really. It makes it a bad example for your tirade.

    Its kind of like suggesting that the fairest and most decent and well run election in human history is a sham because you don’t like how democratic society works and think we should be living under a different more egalitarian system.

    Now in an Anarcho-syndicalist seminar setting I would be called probably a reformist or an apologist, but ultimately when you have such strong views on the world at large you need to accept the fact that people need to eat, otherwise you’re just throwing bullet points at people all day feeling self righteous. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for any self respecting anarcho minded person to actually understand how the existing system works, and that means beyond the scope of what people in your minority political denomination say about it.

    Ah well. It could have been a nice topic.

    • Saii says:

      Who me? I’ve only posted 10 times total (11 now), defending a simple position that Valve is making more than is seemly with a 75% take for selling items in its shop, against a rather larger number of responses (would 50 or so count as “bombing” in your view?) from people who seem to have a very strong attachment to the idea that getting paid properly for profitable works should be regarded as a privilege rather than a basic standard.

      Which is less an anarcho-syndicalist position than a basic trade unionist one, or a guild one, or indeed a view you might expect to hear from any group of professionals almost everywhere – except in gaming, which frankly has totally messed-up norms.

      They give their exploitees a fair shake and they didn’t have to, not really.

      No? You reckon TF2 and CS:GO would have made tens of millions in 2014 if they’d not been boosted with vast quantities of interesting tidbits for people to play with? Just because Valve initiated the programme doesn’t mean they are the only reason for its success – they rely on the contributions of the artists, otherwise their shop would be empty.

      Its kind of like suggesting that the fairest and most decent and well run election in human history is a sham

      Yes because that’s just what was happening. By claiming that Valve, a normal company acting in a normal company fashion by maximising its profits, was in fact not whiter than white, I was besmirching “the most decent and well run (company?) in human history.”

      • Purdurabo says:

        “or indeed a view you might expect to hear from any group of professionals almost everywhere – except in gaming, which frankly has totally messed-up norms.”

        You probably have no idea how clueless you are. Do you honestly thing musicians or authors get a better deal? Authors make about 8-12% loyalties on their books. Musicians make about 10-25% loyalties on their cd’s. And in both cases it is the price their cd’s or book’s are sold to publishers at, not it’s consumer market price. Valve pays it’s modders 25% loyalties on the price their product is sold to the consumer market. This is a far better deal than even the most famous authors and musicians would get even though modding the costume of a hero in their game is far far easier and requires far less creative effort than creating a book or cd……… And yet valve is somehow the bad guy even though it is offering modders a chance to make money on something they could only do for free before(Unless they wanted to flirt with the law) and is even offering them better royalties than authors or musicians could hope for.

        • Saii says:

          Do you honestly thing musicians or authors get a better deal?

          Hmm, well I do personally, does that count? I’ve published various different things, from books to mugs to posters to badges, and both wholesalers and retailers will give you better than a 25/75% split. Usually you’d expect about 50%, assuming you’re using a physical retail site which is paying business rates, full time shop workers etc, rather than a virtual one requiring little more than a bit of server space. For online comparison, Etsy will charge 3.5% on the sale price. As a more powerful general platform Amazon will average about 15%, or 45% when you’ve made something specifically for devices they own rights to (again, monopolistic economics at work there but still, 30% ;ess than what Valve wants).

          Authors make about 8-12% loyalties on their books. Musicians make about 10-25% loyalties on their cd’s.

          Do you know why? It’s because they have a middle firm, known as a publisher, which a) oversees the quality of what they produce, b) negotiates with the distributors and wholesalers, c) handles the physical production process (sub-editors, designers, printers or recording studios, audio technicians etc). And these firms, despite having big overheads along these lines, nevertheless have a well-deserved reputation for being massively exploitative (my mum’s a published author btw, you could ask what she thinks of the book trade but be prepared for an earful).

          Valve offers no comparable services, acting only as a retailer, but asks 75% anyway. So even though the route to sale is hugely curtailed and vastly cheaper, and the firm is gaining not only from the sale but from the extra value of retained custom on its gaming platform, the actual artists are seeing no added benefit from this.

          valve is somehow the bad guy even though it is offering modders a chance to make money on something they could only do for free before

          And yet again this odd canard, as though Valve’s doing a favour by charging money for a good and then paying the producer of that good. Paying people when you make a profit for something is how business works, it’s not some crazy bit of magic that only applies at the whim of the company.

          And again, I’ve not said Valve’s a “bad guy” – I’ve said it’s a company, doing what companies do, which is maximise profit, so presenting itself as some sort of wonderful bequeather of wealth upon the community is clever marketing, but misleading. It’s the difference between saying you’re wrong, and saying you’re wrong because you’re eeeevvvviiillll.

          • Purdurabo says:

            “Valve offers no comparable services, acting only as a retailer, but asks 75% anyway. ”
            B.S. Valve built Dota 2, it own the copyright to it, It built the tools you use to design your items, advertises your items to a market that only exists because it created it and offers an easy service for millions of potential customers to buy your items. An apt example would be if you took one of the lord of the rings books and only changed the description of the cloths of say Legolas , then wanted to sell that book riding on the coattails of the lord of the rings brand, do you think you deserve 50% or 75% loyalties from those book sales ?

            The reason valve is within their right to ask for 75% of the profit is because you need to pay for copyright and licensing to use their tools and brand name, not to mention market, to make and sell minor changes to their game.

          • Saii says:

            B.S. Valve built Dota 2

            And they make vast sums of money on it, $160m projected for the 2014/15 period. And their main vision for it appears to be as an Esport. Not to mention it brings people to their Steam platform and shores up their monopoly position as a gaming retailer (That super-cheap Orange Box they did in 2007? Same deal). They didn’t make Dota2 for the artists, they don’t offer any equipment or specific marketing or significant support for the artists, that revenue stream was just one of many pleasant results of the game’s existence.

            An apt example would be if you took one of the lord of the rings books and only changed the description of the cloths of say Legolas , then wanted to sell that book riding on the coattails of the lord of the rings brand

            An apt example would be if you charged every book owner £2.99 for a post-it with that new description and then got the professional who wrote the lines to take 25%.

            And incidentally, Tolkein would be the very last person to call for big companies to have untrammelled control over the properties they own – he himself noted in 1965 that he was certainly never made rich by his work on LotR. It was the companies exercising their monopolies which made the money, not the man whose vision they sell and repackage and sell again today.

          • Purdurabo says:

            Aaaah boohoo valve is making money . Do you know how they could have made even more money? By going the same root as Riot with LOL and whoever created smite. Yes the people who desinged the hats have good have decent jobs but do you think they saw anything close to 25% royalties from the hats sold that they designed? If dota 2 also took their hat designs inhouse they could pay their designers overall far less money than their current 25% loyalties .

            “An apt example would be if you charged every book owner £2.99 for that new description and then got the professional who wrote the lines to take 25%.” And what would be wrong with that? The 75% they take is because they own the already wildly successful intellectual copyright you would be trying to ride on to make some quick money.

            Sibnce you seem to know so much about authors if you had to write a book based upon anothers successful copyrighted work (say starwars) how much would the copyright holder expect in loyalties on everything you sell?

          • Saii says:

            Aaaah boohoo valve is making money

            Again not what I’m saying, no matter how much you seem to want it to be.

            Yes the people who desinged the hats have good have decent jobs but do you think they saw anything close to 25% royalties

            A $38,000 p/a job in games design? Yes. In fact the average wage for a 3D artist is $58,000. Plus benefits. And a contract. With redundancy pay. And the wage is set rather than fluctuating based on direct sales. And given LOL’s revenues, they could pay a damn sight more than that and still be making a stonking profit.

            And what would be wrong with that?

            Um… that you’re taking a 75% cut on someone else’s hard work? I’m not sure how much more simple that can be. 75%. 75%! Are you honestly saying that the fact you happen to own a brand is equivalent to doing three quarters of the work involved? Because if so then even Amazon doesn’t agree with you, and they’re hardly bleedin’ Marx.

            if you had to write a book based upon anothers successful copyrighted work (say starwars) how much would the copyright holder expect in loyalties on everything you sell?

            No idea, I don’t publish franchise and Ma wrote original works. As I understand it though they don’t get much, because IP law is frankly a real pisser. But this is kind of like arguing that because someone got kicked in the bollocks it must be okay to kick everyone else in the bollocks.

          • Purdurabo says:

            “A $38,000 p/a job in games design? Yes. In fact the average wage for a 3D modeller is $58,000. Plus benefits. And a contract. With redundancy pay. And given LOL’s revenues, they could pay a damn sight more than that and still be making a stonking profit.” Yep and that is for them doing a ton more work than simply designing a hat. But even with above average job salaries and doing far more work than simply designing hates i still bet you that as a whole the people who designed those hats saw nowhere near 25% of the profit riot made from selling them.

            “Um… that you’re taking a 75% cut on someone else’s hard work? I’m not sure how much more simple that can be. 75%. 75%! Are you honestly saying that the fact you happen to own a brand is equivalent to doing three quarters of the work involved?” Owning a well known and respected brand that guarantees sales to any half decent work merely by being associated with it is far more than 75% of the work involved. If you disagree then why don’t those designers try sell their hats outside of valve games and see if anyone will buy them? Their designs only have any worth because of the massive value the brand adds to them.

            “No idea, I don’t publish franchise and Ma wrote original works. As I understand it though they don’t get much, because IP law is frankly a real pisser. But this is kind of like arguing that because someone got kicked in the bollocks it must be okay to kick everyone else in the bollocks.”
            How would you feel if you were say Tery Pratchet and suddenly everyone else comes along and writes discworld books set in the universe you created using the characters you created in order to sell them to a fanbase you created and then expects to take most the profit from piggybacking off all your hard work?

          • Saii says:

            Yep and that is for them doing a ton more work than simply designing a hat.

            Citation needed

            the people who designed those hats saw nowhere near 25% of the profit riot made from selling them.

            Citation needed

            Owning a well known and respected brand is far more than 75% of the work involved.

            Lol sure, done much “owning a well-known brand” before have you? May I recommend you read Germinal by Emile Zola, for a historic take on how much hard work owning things involves. Poor old Bill Gates, I bet he’s just bowed under with all that weight from owning all the things :(.

            why don’t those designers try sell their hats outside of valve games

            Repeating yourself, and already answered.

            How would you feel if you were say Tery Pratchet and suddenly everyone else comes along and writes discworld books set in the universe you created

            Why on earth would this be relevant? Valve’s not a sentimental old man, it’s a company looking to make a profit. If you were asking how I’d feel if I was a multinational conglomerate and someone wanted to use the IP I owned though, I’d probably be saying “woohoo! Money! How much do you think we can get away with charging them?”

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Splitter!

      • Saii says:

        You’re thinking of the People’s Front of Judea, which was a group of freedom fighters espousing a sort of proto-nationalist sentiment centred around an anti-imperialist attitude towards the Roman occupation. Legend has it the PFJ was forced to simultaneously combat both Roman violence and the aggressive attitude of other sects across the city, most noteably the Judean People’s Front.

        They’re totally different from the famed anarcho-syndicalist commune of Arthurian lore, which made a glorious stand against the tyrant’s attempts to impose a dictatorship underpinned by both pagan and Christian theocratic appeals to the popular psyche, in particular via the tale of the Lady in the Lake. The true hero in that tale was a humble filth-farmer, who stood against Arthur’s cruel ambitions, and memorably ridiculed the wannabe king’s credentials as little more than “having a watery tart throw a sword at you.”

  10. tamccullough says:

    My hope is that this sort of paves the way for some kind of decent fan fiction type thing for Half Life and other VALVe story driven franchises.

    It would be nice to play story driven half life mods that move the story somewhat – think Minerva – and pay the creator for it.

    Sure VALVe makes a ridiculous amount of money, but at least we might get new iterations/takes/stories for fan favourite games like HL2.