Gabe Newell, Garry Newman Defend Steam’s Paid Mods

Last week, Valve launched support for paid mods within Steam, beginning with a select number of Skyrim creations. Alec deftly summarised the details, pros and cons over here. Since then, the discussion has continued via blog posts, forum threads, protest mods and with game creators, mod creators and Gabe Newell getting involved. On the off-chance you didn’t spend the weekend reading this stuff while hunched over your computer like I did, I’ve gathered the most pertinent Internet Opinions below.

Gabe Newell

Most significantly, Gabe Newell started a thread on Reddit to answer the community’s complaints and questions. Much of it was things we already knew: a pay-what-you-want function is coming; they think stolen content can be policed by the community; they won’t require Steam-exclusivity for mod support from game developers; “money is how the community steers work”.

If you had to read one part, I’d make it this exchange with Robin Scott, the founder of mod website Nexus Mods. Scott asks Newell about the “DRMification of modding,” or specificailly whether Valve would ‘put their foot down’ if developers decided to only allow modding through the Steam version of a game. That’d be a possibility if, for example, a developer wanted to make sure that no modding happened that they weren’t able to profit from.

Newell said that he wouldn’t it “goes against our philosophy to be dictatorial,” and so they wouldn’t stop developers, but that they’d “be happy to tell developers that we think they are being dumb.” It’s an interesting situation, because a world in which Valve dictates terms to developers isn’t any than the one where developers might decide to make modding exclusive to Valve’s distribution platform.

Counter-Strike mapper onefmp

A Counter-Strike mapper who makes a full-time living by selling his work through the Steam Workshop created a thread on Reddit to defend paid mods as a good thing for creators. A mod later deleted the original post for some reason, but you can read it here and the rest of the discussion still on Reddit here. Onefmp is essentially pointing out the most obvious counter-argument to the fundamental criticisms of paid-mods:

Modders going full-time means they don’t have to work on games they don’t care about, and work for bosses they don’t like, in order to survive and pay the bills.

Garry Newman, creator of Garry’s Mod and Rust

Garry Newman created Garry’s Mod, a mod of Half-Life 2 that let you play with the games art assets and physics to make your own toys, screenshots, and eventually your own mods. He eventually started selling it as a full-game with Valve’s permission. “I sold a mod once and everyone was angry that it was happening, until it happened and they got a much better product than they’d have gotten when it was released for free, then they seemed to calm down a bit. It has given me a carreer for 10 years. It’s bought me two houses, a bunch of cars. It’s created a company that has hired 30+ people.”

He is understandably in favour of the move, and outlines the reasons why he thinks people who are against it are over-reacting. Newman isn’t shy and I am fond of:


So find a way to pirate them. That’s what we all did when we were kids with no money. Valve’s job is to make it more convenient for you to not pirate stuff.

Also “Stuff is going to happen.” At the end, Newman answers the obvious question: will people be able to sell the work they create for Garry’s Mod? “IT’s something we’re interested in for sure.”


  1. Lacero says:

    Your pertinent internet opinions all seem to be pertinent in one direction.

    Here is a telling quote from gabe and a response
    link to

    here is the videostream from the tesrenewal people with them discussing it
    link to

    The modding forum for skyrim are going mad, this is modders themselves who are against it.
    It’s hardly surprising that modders who have transitioned into paid for games would support this, but the people who valued the community for what it was are having it taken away by people from outside that community. The atmosphere of free sharing just cannot exist in pc modding anymore with this hanging over everything. It’s a complex issue and money has long been part of modding, donations usually, but sticking stuff up for sale on steam like any other product is trampling the unique culture that already existed.

    • wu wei says:

      The atmosphere of free sharing just cannot exist in pc modding anymore with this hanging over everything.

      It has never been easier for a PC developer to sell their game and yet there are more free games available now than ever before.

      sticking stuff up for sale on steam like any other product is trampling the unique culture that already existed

      That “culture” apparently being “gimme shit for free or you’re a whore”, given how often that epithet has been thrown around since the announcement.

      • ReV_VAdAUL says:

        You can throw out whatever insults you like against people who support modding as collaborative and voluntary process but the fact remains plenty of modders hold this view, not just players getting stuff for free.

        Here is one of the lead developers of the very popular Star Trek Armada 3 mod explaining why he opposes paid for mods: link to

        • wu wei says:

          If the dev you linked to doesn’t want to charge for his mods, then that’s his choice. Why should his opinion deprive others from the choice to do so?

          • Emeraude says:

            Framing this into individual desire vs individual desire makes it sound rational.
            But this is not what we have here.

            Let me rephrase. If one individual wants to do something within his private life that will as a by-process damage the shared common property of the community , should one be unconditionally allowed to ?

          • Emeraude says:

            Framing this into individual desire vs individual desire makes it sound rational.
            But this is not what we have here.

            Let me rephrase. If one individual wants to do something within his private life that will as a by-process damage the shared life of the community as a whole, should one be unconditionally allowed to ?

      • Lacero says:

        There are some horrible things being done, the way the art of the catch guy was treated was disgusting.

        That said I’ve not seen any modders demanding “give me free shit” and it’s really the opinions of the modders who I care about in all this. Back when I modded this kind of thing would’ve been a disaster to the group I was working with and the wider community it was a part of.

        Modding is such an inherently messy pastime I think pulling up select mods and polishing them to sell is the only sensible way an upfront price tag can work. Otherwise donations after the fact are much better. Valve could beat patreon into the ground at this if they wanted too, and were willing to give up their sacred 30% cut.
        Book publishers get that and they actually do editing and layout work!

        Which matters, cos the flagship mods you can spend money on look like they’re actually pretty bad. The ones that have survived DMCA notices for sharing work without authorisation.
        link to

        • Baines says:

          Which treatment was disgusting? (Or do you just mean that everything combined was disgusting?)

          When Valve may have told him that free mods were “fair game” to include?

          When the community got upset at him for using said free mod without permission?

          When the guy decided to just take down everything in response?

          Or when Valve refused to accede to his request to remove his other mod from the Workshop?

          • Lacero says:

            The comment on his steam page are now hidden so I can’t link them. I think many were disgusting.

            I am also unhappy about valve offering some very self serving “legal” advice to a modder who trusted them.
            Them refusing to pull the mod from people who have already paid is fair, of course.

    • Ishbane says:

      Another tasty tidbit: link to

      Garry Newman flat out calling the majority of the modding community CUNTS.

      • AbsoluteShower says:

        Wow, Twitter really does catch the meltdowns! His profile pic is pretty apt too.

        I’ve never found the modding community to be anything other than helpful, decent people. Maybe Garry is seeing a bad side because of his treatment of them.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Well, that’s another gamedev out of the industry shortish, then.

        • pepperfez says:

          Is he even a gamedev anymore? I thought he had made enough money on his Mod to be a full-time Capitalist.

      • vahnn says:

        I almost want to make a twitter account to say: “Hey, Fuckface, I never would have touched your mod or given you a cent were it not for Prop Hunt.”

      • Dale Winton says:

        Found it hard to argue with his statement the other day

        Storm in a teacup

    • Smashbox says:

      “people who valued the community for what it was are having it taken away”

      It’s just such a ridiculous assessment of the situation, that I keep seeing repeated everywhere.

      • Emeraude says:

        How so ?

        What makes you think the arguments presented by some that this is poison in the well-water are not valid ?

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          Well, things like Greenlight and Early Access have made it even easier than it already was for someone to charge for their small game, and yet we still have people releasing games for free. Given that there’s historically been a lot of crossover between the modding world and game development, generally I can’t see why this would change things too much.

          • Emeraude says:

            I think an issue is that you’re seeing modders as working in a vacuum. As unrelated individual units.

            Which can happen.

            But most of the time the reality is that they collaborate, build in a context where the work of others exist and can be expanded on or freely modified, or sometimes even quite simply appropriated. And why shouldn’t they ? Everyone is in it together. The point of the crafting is the crafting itself.

            When monetary concerns enter the picture though, it becomes more muddled. You have a mod. You want to make its access dependent on payment. But the mod is actually relying on other mods that are free to work properly. What then ? Are its makers entitled to a part of your profit ? Should they feel inclined to do so, is it right of them to willful make their mod incompatible with yours, so that you won’t abuse their work ?

          • Lacero says:

            But of course we already know the answer to this. They deserve 40% for doing nothing :)

      • Horg says:

        People are pulling free mods off the skyrim-nexus so that other people cannot steal them and sell for profit. Free hobby modding is being destroyed by the existence of the steam store. If a modder wants to keep their work free, then they have to now remain vigilant over the steam store and issue a DMCA take down every time someone tries to make a quick buck off of it. Crap like that will kill the enjoyment of modding, and therefore the gaming community will lose out as fewer people put their work out for the public.

        • Premium User Badge

          Phasma Felis says:

          I don’t see how it’s Steam’s fault if some free modders are so paranoid that they’d rather burn down all their hard work than risk any chance that someone might try to pass it off.

      • Kitsunin says:

        No, it’s pretty correct. On the whole, I have been convinced that I do approve of paid for mods, because simply put, I believe modders do deserve to be paid for their work should they so choose. That being said, this change being made suddenly to a game which already had a thriving modding community has absolutely caused huge waves throughout the that community, in the short term, at least, near entirely negative ones, and it will be very difficult for them to recover from such things as SkyUI going paid.

    • Not_Id says:

      “Your pertinent internet opinions all seem to be pertinent in one direction.”

      Yes RPS, wtf! It isn’t journalism if it’s not covering the topic from both sides.

      • Lacero says:

        I actually think it’s a bit worse than that. Selling something for money is seen as “making it big”, like garrys mod and DayZ etc. The act of selling something for money legitimises the opinion of the person selling it, so of course we should look for the best opinions from people who sell stuff for money.

        When the issue under discussion is selling stuff for money this is both bad for the balance of the debate, but also shows how the well is poisoned by the change. If people who make money are seen as better than those who don’t the people who just mod for the joy of creating are now seen as less than the others. They and their mods get crowded out by the increased visibility, attention and respect afforded someone charging $2 for a really poorly made single item armour suit with no female model.

        Unless we argue against it.

        • ironman Tetsuo says:

          ….by not buying any of it.
          Seems like a pretty simple solution.

          I think 75% is definitely too big of a cut though

          • Lacero says:

            If only that had worked with the horse armour :(

          • Emeraude says:

            As with DLC: it doesn’t matter that you’re not buying it, it doesn’t matter that even the majority isn’t, as long as there are enough people who do so to make it worthwhile.

            “Vote with your wallet” doesn’t really work when the assumption is that you *won’t buy”. People who think in market terms will just flag you as out of the market.

          • pepperfez says:

            “Voting with your wallet” is no more a reason not to complain about business practices than “Voting with your ballot” is not to have political campaigns.

    • thehollowman says:

      Well, let’s be fair. The title of the post is “Gabe Newell, Garry Newman defend steams paid mod’s” It’s a post about people defending it, so yes its quotes about people defending it. I’m sure RPS will have another post about people attacking it. Or at least I hope.

  2. Chris Cunningham says:

    That there’s been any backlash at all to this demonstrates that gaming is still dominated by screaming, self-entitled manbabies.

    • Cryptoshrimp says:

      How, exactly, does this demonstrate that?

    • AbsoluteShower says:

      Of course, manbabies. Now if you’d thrown in ‘mom’s basement’ and ‘neckbeard’ we’d have the trifecta of lazy internet stereotypes.

      • robby5566 says:

        “What if a mod I paid for is broken by an update, the modder’s already abandoned the project and I can’t play something I spent money on? Skyrim is kinda stable, but Valve are gonna want to implement this with more partners. A 24 hour refund window isn’t sufficient protection for the customer, people down the line could be getting screwed.”
        “What are you, a manbaby?”

        “I think, since modders are the one putting in all the time and effort, their share of sales is pretty shameful. It seems the primary focus here is generating income for Beth and Valve on someone else’s hard work, not supporting the modders.”
        “What are you, a manbaby?”

        “Now that money’s involved and takedowns are in effect, asset sharing is going to shrink enormously. And the community probably won’t be able to continue abandoned projects. I’m not sure that’s great, the open nature of modding allowed for some great projects.”
        “What are you, a manbaby?”

        But I’m glad we can have an actual conversation about this. Instead of, you know, calling people names because they think this system isn’t magically perfect right out of the gate. That would be silly!

    • Not_Id says:

      @Chris Cunningham:
      We buy a £40 game on Steam.
      The developers then sell dlc for their £40 game.
      Gamers create free mods for the £40 game.
      Valve now want to make money from those mods.

      25% of the sale goes to the modder.
      75% to Valve and ip owner.

      Now ask yourself:
      Why are Valve monetizing free mods?
      Why are Valve making money from a mod that isn’t even for a Valve game?
      And why is it a greater cut than the modder?

      No, nothing to complain about there Chris…

      • Not_Id says:

        Edit: I’m guessing that it costs quite a lot to run Steam. So maybe Valve are looking at ways to cut costs. This isn’t the way to do that imo. What’s next, a Steam Subscription?

        • FriendlyFire says:

          Newell actually said in that reddit thread that it’s cost Valve orders of magnitude more money to put out all the fires this has started than they’ve gained from sales. I think he said it was on the order of $100,000 in gains, which is essentially nothing to a company the size of Valve.

          • skalpadda says:

            That would be a valid argument if Valve were doing this only now, with only these mods for this old game and only profiting from it for these few days. But they won’t and they’re not, so that’s just bullshit.

      • Synesthesia says:

        There’s definitely a conversation to be had, mainly about, yes, the cuts. Valve can’t control how much the game decides for it’s cut, but from there onwards, it can push for a larger cut to the modder.

        But yes, a conversation, not the wailing man-babies again.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Yep, modders themselves saying they should be free are a bunch of manbabies.

      Blah blah blah, Gabe can do no wrong, blah blah blah.

      • pepperfez says:

        Not Gabe particularly but hypercapitalist domination/appropriation/destruction of the commons can do wrong. I mean, if you don’t pay for it then it’s not worth anything, everyone knows that.

      • darkhog says:

        No one forces modders to put on pricetag on their work. They can just enter $0 and be done with it.

    • Ethaor says:

      Modding is a pillar of the PC community and a core component of that culture that is built on the pleasure to work with a community and share content with each other to improve and expand all of our experience and continue enjoying with each other games that we love.

      Cashing in on that just hurts it and will attract people that has nothing to do with modding, it has nothing to do with not being willing to pay for it or being cheap “cunts” to quote Garry. What’s next? Should I ask people to pay me a few dollars for contributing to that debate? Or helping a fellow member of the PC community with a technical problem on forums? Paid Fanart? Where does it stops? I might have improved the atmosphere of a party the other day by playing some guitare, should I be asking money for it? Modding is about sharing with each other for the pleasure of it, if you feel your efforts and work put into it must absolutly be paid by everyone else and that you won’t be spending any of your time on “modding” unless someone pays you for it then you just don’t fit into the modding community and what need is a job. By all means sell your products and market them as paid DLC’s and see if people wants it, but stay away from the modding community as these are two very different worlds that mix about as well as Mantos and Coca-cola.

      Of course the few expectional individuals that managed to build their whole career on the success of one lucky mod are going to support it to no extent, but the success stories of individuals such as Dean Hall or Garry Newman are incredibly rare, not to mention that their success comes from mods that were “free” to everyone, I doubt Dayz or Garry’s mod would have went viral and so popular if these mods had been behind a pay wall at the time would it? Nor Dean Hall nor Garry might be where they are today. Such lucky individuals aren’t by any means the most relevent and pertinent source as they are deeply drown into conflicts of interest.

    • Distec says:

      Go fuck yourself. Ta.

    • RobF says:

      Oh hey, I just wrote about exactly this attitude. I’m not normally one for this but it’s easier than writing out a hefty comment. link to

      tl;dr, quit with the manbaby crap, it helps no-one.

      • Emeraude says:

        If your first response to complaints from people who’ve just had their world changed without any say in the matter is to call them entitled, call them rude names or whatever, or to try and make a circular business case to shut them up (this is OK because this is business and a business can do this so it’s OK), is it any wonder people get angry or upset? Especially when a lot of those angry and upset are kids! Kids! What are we doing there?

        Something I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while now: is there any other (entertainment) industry where the business side and the consumer side visibly hate each other as much as with the game industry ?

        Because for these past years that’s how bad it’s looks like to me. Locked in a reciprocally scornful and abusive relationship.

        • RobF says:

          I think we’re the most open about it to the point that it permeates everything but it’s certainly not that unusual to see elsewhere. I guess the main difference is we embrace it?

        • Dare_Wreck says:

          > is there any other (entertainment) industry where the business side and the consumer side visibly hate each other as much as with the game industry ?

          While it’s the entertainment delivery industry, and not strictly entertainment, the U.S. cable television industry springs to mind.

        • joa says:

          Seems pretty natural. Most gamers are whiny children — even the ones that are adults. Most game developers are just those same whiny children who never grew up and have managed to make their hobby into a job. And on top of that they’re resentful that no one takes “video games” seriously.

          • MellowKrogoth says:

            So I take it you’re not a gamer (if so why do you waste time on this site?) or you’re one of the few, the elite gamers who are not whiny children? Yet you definitely seem to be whining about other gamers, hmm…

        • P.Funk says:

          I think its because the gaming industry is horribly anti-consumer on so many levels but its also permeated with horrible consumers. Its a recipe for bitterness and resentment.

    • icarium says:

      So very glad to see I’m not the only one that thinks this entire thing has been blown way out of proportion.

      What’s worse is seeing everyone that opposed this idea congratulating themselves as if they accomplished something important.

  3. John Connor says:

    So the “most pertinent” internet opinions are only people who agree with the policy?

    Very balanced.

    • skalpadda says:

      I don’t even care if it’s balanced, I like it when RPS has opinions and I’d be fine with an RPS writer saying they love and support paid workshop mods wholeheartedly. However, presenting the issue this narrowly seems more than a little intellectually lazy and echo-chambery at best, and unpleasantly dishonest at worst.

      How about putting in some actual effort and time into thinking about and gathering opinions about how modding – a hobby from which every RPS writer has championed and benefited from for decades – is being irrevocably changed by the actions of one company with a near monopoly stranglehold on the entire platform?

      • skalpadda says:

        Also, can we have our edit button back please, RPS overlords?

    • pepperfez says:

      They are the most pertinent because they’re the only ones with a say in how the program will work going forward.

  4. Clavus says:

    I’d also like to throw in this Gamasutra article which contains far more informed discussion than most gaming forums: link to

    • Emeraude says:

      But for most players, especially ones who have only ever played other people’s mods, of course this probably seems terrible to them. What was once always free may now cost them money.

      As I was saying previous thread, I think that’s a position that’s kinda missing the point. The worst issue isn’t the paying itslef, it’s the whole social dynamic change. Perceived or real.

    • Dinger says:

      I did some large-scale modding back in the day, and I have a pretty good idea what would have happened if we charged for it: we’d probably have seen a much smaller circulation and made very little money. On the other hand, in my experience, appeals to the “community” are like appeals to the “fatherland”: you hear them when someone wants you to do something for them.

      Pay-for mods is the rotten apple that Notch tossed in. Minecraft became so huge that modding/servers became a secondary market posing a ton of problems. Microsoft is running that game now in part because they are willing to deal with that (and were willing to part with a ton of overseas change rather than pay taxes repatriating it). As they develop a framework for third parties to charge sell services and modifications build on their game, everybody else rushes to do the same.

      What the effect will be all depends on access. If the paid mods get privileged access to the players (as Google Play has privileged access to Android Users), then you won’t see much of a free mod scene for anything. And what exists won’t be worth paying for. If, on the other hand, the paid mods are just there alongside the others, then they’ll have to be really good to gain traction. That Horse Armor better be pretty good.

      As for the 25%/75% split, that’s just another reason why mod building will remain an amateur activity. It’s a ton of work doing middleware development. The work done is absolutely and completely dependent on the business and software actions of the developer you’re on. Their bug fixes can break your work, and then you will get blamed. It’s kinda like iOS development, only worse. Actually, it’s more like developing for a specific Android phone: you target a version that’s released in time, that may or may not receive radical updates, and you limit your development to a small subset of the existing market.

      25% of the retail price is in line with what developers get from the traditional brick-and-mortar setups. Here, the distributor gets paid and the game developer gets paid, and modders are allowed to sell derivative works via the distributor.

      So, like it or not, this is where the industry is at the moment. How they execute it will affect what the “mod scene” looks like. If this provides a motivation for companies to release with mod tools and support, great. If companies use this to promote exclusively paid mods, they’re doing themselves and their customers a disservice.

      • jezcentral says:

        While I disagree with you, I have to admire your beautiful use of the rotten apple metaphor. Very elegant.

    • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

      Wow, I’m not sure that Gamasutra article could come off more smug and self-righteous if it tried.

      It sure did a great job of ignoring the problems of the whole Paid Mods fiasco surrounding “responsibility” and “avoiding theft of assets” and “big corporate fat fingers in the cookie jar taking their cut”.

      But no! Capitalism solves all problems! Here, it’s solved the problem of Valve and Bethesda not making money from mods.

      And lord knows that before Valve did this, there was NO WAY anyone could make any money from mods. It was literally impossible for people to have, say, a Paypal tip jar for their mods before. LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

      • EhexT says:

        I mean mods making money is unheard of. There will never be a team of modders making games based on the strength of their mods. Oh wait, that is everywhere. Killing Floor and Red Orchestra devs Tripwire, Garrys fucking Mod, Natural Selection 2, etc.

        But hey in the new system these people get to give 75% of their money to someone else for the privilege – and they have to invest considerable time and money into making sure their assets and code isn’t stolen by someone else – because it’s not like that’s Valves job I mean they’re only taking 75% of the money for doing no work – and they have to constantly reinvent t the wheel because the entire modding scene will the closed off and no advances will be shared. After all they are now potential monetary assets. It’s basically all the worst parts of the US patent system forced onto a previously well growing ecosystem in the name of unrestrained capitalism.

  5. mf says:

    So far the justification for this has been pretty shit. Not even talking about gabes funny understanding that “money steers community” when all the years up to now has proven him wrong.
    Im never going to pay for any mods. Pure and simple. The reason being that there is no QA from valves side (community seems to be the magic word here. community will policy, community will steer, community will do the QA etc) and if the mod stops working with a patch or doesnt work with other popular mods, then there is no refund. And no responsibility. I could potentially sell the same mod for all patch levels right? How fucking stupid is that?

    And no need to tell me about the “community” here. There are millions of gamers on Steam. Even if every 10000th of them buys a shitty mod once, its enough revenue for the author to keep pulling that shit.

    In its current form its utter bollocks.

    • Horg says:

      With the amount of lifting the ”community” would need to do to make the mod store not suck, you would think they deserve a cut of the profit.

    • wengart says:

      There is no consumer protection here at all.

      You buy a mod that only the creator has any responsibility to, and the only way he is held responsible is essentially that he will feel bad if it stops working. It is just complete insanity.

      As you buy more mods you become more limited in what other mods you can purchase or install. Maybe that $2 mod breaks your $5 mod. So you have to return the $5 mod or disable (throwaaway) the $2 mod, and that only works if you discover the problem within the 24 hour period. Otherwise you have to choose what paid mod you use.

      There are just an insane number of ways for mods to break or interact poorly with the game or other mods. Be that the mod actually breaking a part of the game or just unbalancing it or destroying immersion. A few of the current mods for sale actually just give you 1 hit kill weapons within the first 5-10 minutes of gameplay. There is no sense of how any of these mods will really fit into the game, and traditionally you would say “fuck it, I’m uninstalling this”. In this environment though you’ve paid money, and unless you rush straight for the mod content and complete it you won’t know if what the store says is actually accurate in time for a refund.

      Then there are possibilities of modding divas getting pissed and intentionally breaking their own mod.

      You have modders, like the CS:GO guy, who are currently making money and see this as a positive, and I wan to be clear I don’t have a problem with modders making money. However, once you start selling a mod as a product you have a certain amount of responsibility to the consumer. Which happens in CS:GO, or Dota 2, or TF2 because Valve acts as a wrapper for the mod.

      Mod -> greenlight -> Valve picks it up (refine, polish, officially fitted into the game) -> released in the Steam store as a Valve product

      You have a very clear path where Valve is a partner with the modder to make the content official. The consumer isn’t buying from the modder, but Valve and Valve maintains the responsibility of selling the mod as a working product.

      What is happening here is pure fucking insanity. It will create so many support tickets and so many witch hunts. You know the modder has his name on the product and he stops updating after selling lets say 50,000 units (super popular mod) . The mod breaks and the modder doesn’t want to deal with it (the bug is too big or he just doesn’t feel like it. whatever) one of those pissed of consumers posts something to a few forums, and voila we have a witch hunt.

      • Lacero says:

        Yes, comparing dota2 or csgo modding to skyrim is very misleading. dota2 and csgo have no modding really, they have external contractors only paid if their work is good enough.

        Honestly any serious labour laws would tear the practice apart.

      • wengart says:

        Can;t forget that Garry totally ignores this in his “you are overreacting post”, so does everyone linked up there.

        They are either blatantly ignoring this problem and hoping it just kinda gets lost in the shuffle or are idiots. Probably the former since Valve’s FAQ thing says something to the tune of “If the mod you bought breaks go ask the modder to fix it (make sure you say please)”….

      • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

        And that dynamic is one of the reasons I think this is garbage.

        No QA, no refunds if it breaks down the road, no responsibility to fix it months later.

        I’m not buying something that may break later with far less “hey developer, fix your stuff” responsibility than say … WB Montreal (to pick a bug-dodging dev).

        I’m not buying a mod that Valve and the Devs are going to take the lion’s share of the cash for.

        Valve, you keep disappointing me. And every new time, I am far less surprised.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Very well explained. It’s disappointing to see Gabe Newell blind to how fundamentally broken his new system is.

        I guess some idiot had to try it and it’s him and his pals at Valve. Once it all goes to shit nobody will try it again. And perhaps it will make customer protection laws regarding games evolve.

  6. nrvsNRG says:

    No surprises on RPS’s position on this. We need more sharing and decentralization in the world… man!

    • almostDead says:

      Well Steam featuring RPS as one of their ‘news’ sources, made RPS a thing. They aren’t exactly going to bite that hand are they.

      • Not_Id says:

        Couldn’t agree more with those comments.

        • Premium User Badge

          Graham Smith says:

          We criticise Valve all the time and the only opinion we’ve expressed on paid mods was for and against in different ways and included criticism of Steam, Steam Curators, Steam Greenlight…

          • Not_Id says:

            So all of RPS are both for and against Valve’s premium mod service? Really Graham?

          • jezcentral says:

            Yes, except for the ones that aren’t.

          • Horg says:

            What makes a man turn neutral, Graham? Lust for gold? Power……..or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?

          • Ethaor says:

            RPS isn’t for or against paid mods, quite the opposite.

          • pepperfez says:

            So all of RPS are both for and against Valve’s premium mod service?
            This isn’t actually an absurdity. I’d imagine a significant part of the gaming public is both for and against it to varying degrees.

          • Alexspeed says:

            This is most likely the worst article i have ever read on RPS.
            You cant cover only one side of an issue and call it a day.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            That’s true, Graham. It’s just a shame that only one side’s arguments are being shown. Which is kind of.. one-sided. Of course, how you write your articles ifs your prerogative but I’d hoped that RPS would have tried to pick out sensible arguments on both sides rather than just the one.

          • Sin Vega says:

            Uh… yes, you can. “Man defends decision” doesn’t require “other man re-attacks decision”. At some point you’ve got to trust that your audience can read and understand words.

          • simontifik says:

            “At some point you’ve got to trust that your audience can read and understand words.”

            One day you must take me to thus literate utopia of which you speak.

          • MellowKrogoth says:

            W…words? Un… derstand?? My head hurts.

  7. Not_Id says:

    Crates, keys, hats, pdlc and now pmods: And some are still supporting Valve!

  8. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Wow there are a lot of missing words in this piece, could probably have done to go through another draft. Then again there’s a complete lack of any dissenting voices so perhaps it is all intentional.

  9. Wulfram says:

    I think half the problem is that it was dumped on the already “mature” Skyrim modding community, and is thus disrupting something that was working fairly well.

    • povu says:

      Yeah some weird shit is going on. Midas Magic introduced random pop ups in its free version urging people to buy the full version. People are pissed.

      And the quality of the debut pack mods isn’t exactly great link to
      Seriously, how did they select some of these modders? The Shadow Scale Armor has to be added to your inventory manually through a cheat/console command. No crafting, no quest, nothing. And the view of the model in the inventory is messed up.

      • Horg says:

        From the consumers perspective, that is the biggest flaw in the entire system; most of this crap isn’t worth paying for. The grand launch selection for the store has set prices comparable to premium DLC from established professional studios, but with none of the oversight, quality control and consumer protection to justify the cost. ”Wet and Cold” for example, is notorious for corrupting save games. It’s a cool mod concept and very popular, but hell would freeze over before I put down money on that. The price of these mods simply cannot be justified when you compare what you could get for the same amount of money elsewhere on steam.

        • LionsPhil says:

          ”Wet and Cold” for example, is notorious for corrupting save games.

          Hunh. And I was quite enjoying the ambience of squelching fur boots after getting caught in a downpour, and the little puffs of breath in the snowy mountains.

          Oh well, I save in new slots. I’m long since used to Bethesda games corrupting the living dickens out of themselves even without mod help.

        • MellowKrogoth says:

          Sshh… we all know that modders are awesome and make much better stuff than shitty Bethesda!

      • Christo4 says:

        Oh wow… How did that even get put on the front pages along with the fishing mod is beyond me.
        I guess the best mods are still on the nexus.

    • brokeTM says:

      I agree, suddenly mods you’ve enjoyed for months or even years have been locked behind a paywall overnight. Even if it’s an update/new version.

      It would be a different story if it were launched for a brand new game, or simultaniously with the release of a game’s modding tools.

    • LionsPhil says:


      A cynic may say that’s because they felt if they introduced it with a new game without a mature modding community, they’d strangle it from developing one in the first place.

  10. Ham Solo says:

    I wouldn’t mind paying for quality mods (something like Skywind/Moonpath to Elsweyr), but I would also like some assurance that the mod will be updated if a game update breaks it, and that it doesn’t interfere with any other mods, or at least informs me which those are.

    • Smashbox says:

      Burn him!

    • fitzroy_doll says:

      Game updates that break mods are sometimes hard to overcome. During the great mod massacre of 2012-2013, when Valve updated their games to Steampipe, many mods were rendered inoperable and would need ground-up rewrites to work. My own mod, CSS SCI FI, was one of these, and it was heartbreaking because I was just about to release a major update and now need to rewrite the entire engine, which I’ve never found the time to do. What if people had paid money for that? People would be out for blood, demanding returns.

      Having said that, one of the reasons I never continued working on the mod after it was smoked by Steampipe, was that I didn’t own the product and couldn’t do anything with it once it was released. Some small financial return might have made a difference, but with no guarantee from Valve that a future update won’t break things again, it’s hard to justify the time, effort and obligation to the community that would come with charging money.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Well you put the finger on one of the reasons that Steam is bad for modding despite being overall very handy. Forced updates with no possibility of reverting to a prior version. You paid for the game and would like to stick with the old version to play the old mod you love? Valve makes a big smile and extends the middle finger.

        I guess it’ll take paid mods to wake people to that fact.

    • bleeters says:

      And that’s the problem: you don’t have any assurance of that. Even if the developer/s of the mod want to provide ongoing support and fixes in the event of future compatability issues or the like, there’s no guarantee they even can, especially with regards to compatability between multiple other mods. And if there is some problem, our only recourse is to ask nicely for them to fix it.

      What really bothers with this whole discussion is that if the content being sold was officially developed but still had such blatantly lacking consumer protection, Valve would be being nailed to the wall right now. They get away with far too much.

  11. tofusheep says:

    it seems interesting that the main REAL problem everyone is having with (and rightfully so SHOULD HAVE) is rarely mentioned directly.. it should be the MAIN thing to point out that there is nothing wrong with a modder wanting to gain some money… the problem is: why would they only get friggin 25% for a skyrim mod?!

    99% for the modder. the rest for Valve for providing the platform. the pubslisher of the game deserves nothing, since they already got payed… from the modder buying the game and the person who wants to use the mod in his purchased version of the game.

    this is just another money grab by greedy companies.

    • wu wei says:

      Try coming up with a product and then ask major retailers to sell it, giving you 99% of the sales price. See how hard and long they laugh when you suggest this.

      • Emeraude says:

        If you’re starting to think of mods as products, you’re reading things using Valve’s framing, and they’ve already won the debate, you’ve granted them the premises from which the argument was born.

        • fish99 says:

          Paid mods have been around since Doom.

          • Wisq says:

            I seem to recall that a lot of them were legal gray areas, though, and were always at risk of being taken down at any moment. Typically once they got big enough to be noticed.

          • fish99 says:

            Not really, I mean I can remember quite a few level packs and complete overhauls that made it into boxes on shelves. Dunno whether they were id endorsed, doesn’t really matter, the point is paying for 3rd party content isn’t new.

          • Emeraude says:


            Which is besides the point, because mods, as a whole, still weren’t considered as a product.

            Certainly people have sold mods. Certainly full-fledged commercial products have grown out of mods (just ask Blizzard what they think about it). But as a rule, mods were not products. That’s nit what they were being produced for nor how they’ve been perceived.

      • Wisq says:

        99% is too high, yes, especially when you consider that merely accepting payment via credit card entails giving a couple of percentage points to your credit card gateway.

        But yes, 25% is too low. Valve and the game publisher already got their cut when the customer purchased the game in the first place. You could perhaps make the argument that Valve is still hosting the content and deserves some of the money for that, but that’s tempered by the fact that they’ve been perfectly willing to host Steam Workshop all for free in the past when the product was also free.

        So, okay, sure, we can give Valve and the publisher a little extra. But 25% and 50% respectively? Way too high. That basically reeks of using mod developers like your own little sweatshop DLC mill.

        Now I get that Valve probably just approached this as “let’s get our cut, then let the publisher choose their cut because otherwise we’ll never get them to agree to this”. But maybe setting a limit would’ve been a good idea. Going 25% Valve / 25% publisher / 50% mod creator would’ve been a lot easier to swallow, and reducing the first two to 20% or even 15% would’ve meen even better.

        • Wisq says:

          I should clarify that last bit (yay lack of edit):

          I think Valve would’ve been better served (in the long term, via public perception / reputation) if they had gone the “our way or the highway” approach, and put fair limits on what publishers could do with the paid mods plan. Accept those limits, or stick with the existing free mods system.

          Maybe this is easier to see in hindsight than in foresight, but it seems like most people are directing their fury at Valve and not Bethesda, even though the low payout is mainly due to the latter.

        • Emeraude says:

          A thing that really bugs me about the numbers (even if they’re the least of my problem so far) is that Bethesda is is already being paid for mods in the form of increased sales: the market value of Bethesda game is increased tremendously by the knowledge that its modder community exists in the first place.

          Hell, I’d love to have solid data on how many people would not have bought Skyrim at all if not for the existence of its modding community.

          • Distec says:

            I’ve owned all Bethesda games since Morrowind on console and PC. Usually I’ll have a roommate that buys them for console on release day. I’ll play on the Xbox while I’m waiting for a PC upgrade or a reduced price on Steam.

            All of them would be non-purchases on PC if I didn’t have a community that was willing to fix the broken crap, make a proper UIs for a PC, and has been exceedingly generous with with extending and customizing my play experience. The credit for parting me with my money goes entirely to the mod community; Bethesda couldn’t seem to actually give a shit.

            I could soften up to the idea of paid mods if Valve fixed – uhh – every other part of this stupid system they’ve rolled out. But I’d be pretty resentful of having to fork over any more money to a company that hasn’t done jack to earn it outside of providing the base product I already paid for.

        • MikhailG says:

          Thats the thing tho, that’s what happened. Valve took their cut and asked bethedsa how much they want.

        • MellowKrogoth says:

          I agree that the cut is unjust, but isn’t it at this point that market forces should come into play? If modders find it’s a paltry amount they should just boycott this new system until Beth/Valve give them more or cancel the experiment. Not sure if the latter are smart enough to see that they’re not attracting the best content to their pay-for model, though.

  12. Ham Solo says:

    What I forgot: Modders should really get at least 75% of that money, not Valve. I know they’re providign the platform and have to police all paid mods for stolen content and such, but still…

    • jezcentral says:

      Valve are just asking their customary cut (30%).

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I seem to recall hearing that the publisher (in this case Bethesda) dictates the percentages.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Valve don’t police the mods. They put that job on the community too.

  13. Jack-In-Office says:

    Imagine being a top publisher who releases a functionally-light (i.e. knackered) game onto an unsuspecting public. Instead of trawling through all that broken code, why not outsource the work to the same chumps… and get paid for the fix!
    Actually that sounds cynical. I like mods. So many of them of varying quality and usefulness. But at least they are easy to uninstall when you don’t want them anymore, or they simply don’t work. So what if you now have to pay for them? I mean, it’s pretty easy to get your money back from Steam, right?


  14. wyrm4701 says:

    Much of the support for this relies on a very idealized vision of a free market that doesn’t seem to exist in practice. Somehow, the Valve/Bethesda monetization of community content is supposed to let the market correct itself and theoretically include consumer protection. This seems wildly impractical, especially for a company noted for a decade of abysmal customer service.

    The current reality for Skyrim is that a mod considered by most to be an essential fix (SkyUI) is now paid content, and a countless number of other mods require this UI fix. Put another way, Skyrim now requires customers to purchase fixes from third-party vendors. Given the issues we already have with publishers releasing buggy, broken games, it’s a bit surprising that this isn’t part of the conversation.

    It’s a ridiculous situation for Valve to have put themselves in, and it’s looking really bad for their customers. It also defies belief that the response to this is a surprise to them. For a company that promised to ‘do better’ at customer service a scant two months ago, this is not an encouraging development. I’m coming to the belief that they really can’t be trusted with my money, if this is indicative of the gulf between their words and their actions.

    (Also, can we please keep the name-calling to a minimum? Taking the time to insult people concerned and upset over this is just a waste of everyone’s time, at best, and it doesn’t reflect well on anyone)

    • Lacero says:

      The library functions for other mods are in the free version of SkyUI which still exists and will be kept up to date. The paid for one includes their own new crafting menu.

      I think it would have helped a lot if they had just made a “SkyUI Crafting” mod and charged for that.

    • Emeraude says:

      Much of the support for this relies on a very idealized vision of a free market that doesn’t seem to exist in practice.

      Yeah, that’s what I get about from too. The comment of Mr Newell especially:

      Think of money as information. The community directing money flows works for the same reason that prediction markets crush pundits.

      The comment seems to to hint at a belief that markets can somehow always advantageously replace another form of social structure.
      There seems to be a complete lack of awareness that, yes, you can think of money as information, but it will be multivalent and the reading you make of it will depend on your decoding, which will be informed by the social structure. And it won’t be positive to all, because it will be destructive to some.

    • thehollowman says:

      This is the best reply on this. I don’t have an issue with the ethical or moral arguments for artists receiving money. Of course people should be able to get paid for work they do.

      The issue I have is with everything else. There is nothing in this that is good for the consumer atm. We have to pay more money for things we didn’t have to pay for before. When i calculated the value of skyrim when I purchased it, free mods were part of that equation. I specifically got the PC version for that fact. Suddenly I’m going to need to pay for things I didn’t before? Isn’t this Bait-and-Switch?

      And this is on top of the fact that Valve is aggressively shitty for consumers. They’ve got time to develop ways to make more money (for effectively doing nothing) but they still haven’t started complying with the EU refund laws? And you’re surprised people are mad?

      So yeah, paying for mods, that’s fine. Paying $5 or whatever for something I consider integral, that I’ve used for years? Yeah people are pissed. The fact I can’t get a refund easily if it breaks? The fact I have only 24 hours? The fact most of these are not worth $5?

      It’s just a shitty system, and anyone arguing about the moral or ethical arguments of paying for mods is not talking about the right thing.

  15. SanguineAngel says:

    I don’t remotely mind the concept of paid for mods. I think it’ll be cool to have great modders earning a living and making better mods.

    I suspect we’ll see a lot more people trying to cash in with weak products so it’s going to be a case of buyer beware.

    My bigger concern is really, is this a bit of a gateway for publishers and developers to get a stranglehold on the modding community. Once they start getting a share of those mod sales that puts them in a competitive position against mods not charging. Or if modders are accepting donations externally, as they have done in the past, would they view that as revenue theft?

  16. Viroso says:

    I think the end result, if this takes off, will be:

    People selling shitty mods because there’s more of an incentive to make shit money than there is to see your mod being played. There’s no cost to selling a mod, compared to distributing it to free, there’s only potential gain.

    The store will be flooded with shitty mods. This creates an incentive to create really good mods, which will tap on the potential created by the shitty mods. That is, not many free mods available, too many shitty mods not worth it, people will still be interested in mods though.

    So, the end result will be less diversity of worthwhile mods. As in, mods worth your money. Because right now it’s easy to get any old mod and not care, it’s free after all.

    So we’ll just be playing our games with fewer mods, but hopefully better ones or about as good as the good ones we have now.

  17. Laurentius says:

    Hillarious, corporations as a godsend, wow. Truth is that whereever those pricks put their greedy fingers there is only going downhill form on. “things will be better for modding community and customers” my ass, only defilement and divide will come from this, suiting corporations intrests. Screw Valve, screw M$, screw their lapdogs.

  18. GernauMorat says:

    As others of said much of the support for this relies on proveably untrue notions of the desirability and capabilities of free markets.

    Not to mention the fact that Steam is about as far from a free market as I can imagine.

    • pepperfez says:

      Steam is in fact the very definition of a free market to, at the very least, American economic conservatives: Entirely dominated by the biggest owner of capital and capable of receiving labor at sub-minimum wages, with money coming in but no real product going out.

  19. DThor says:

    I have yet to see a single convincing argument against.
    Will there be mayhem with the typical Steam “here gamers, fight over this and btw here’s our percentage kthxbye”? Of course there will. Much different than what already happens with virtually every other Steam venture? Not really. How is Steam doing, btw? Gangbusters, thank you very much.
    Will there be lies, stealing and other nefarious dealings? Yup, just like pretty much every other community based marketplace. Ever visit turbosquid to buy a 3d model and wonder why the apparently same model can be purchased at various price ranges? It’s the wild west, people. A Turkish bazaar. Pick your cultural reference.
    Will it self-regulate? Probably, after many tears are shed, killer reddit accusation threads wiped and lots of ****’s on the Steam forums. Much different than 75% of the regular game threads? Not really.
    Gamers have many whiney, greedy, snivelling excuses for humanity amongst their lot. Not at RPS, of course…

    • Emeraude says:

      I have yet to see a single convincing argument in favor.

      • DThor says:

        If you want to keep your mod free, you can.
        If you decide to actually earn a living making something the community loves and supports, there’s an option now.
        If you’re a sleaze bag looking to rip people off, there’s a whole community out there watching you.
        If you’re naive, and dare I say, stupid enough to blindly buy every mod without checking out the community reaction, well, perhaps you’re due for a life lesson, anyway.

        There’s a bunch.

        Downside – my shit ain’t free anymore! Waaa!

        • Emeraude says:

          You haven’t presented a single positive trait here, but mitigations of negative ones.

          • DThor says:

            If you poured a job’s worth of time into an asset, you now have the opportunity to make a meagre income off of it.

            You can’t get more positive than that.

            Pretty much everyone who complains about this hasn’t actually made anything and shared it. Nobody will force you to sell it. People are making a fortune on hats for TF2. Are they “the bad guys”? What about twitch broadcasters pulling down $100K a year playing other people’s games? Bad people?

            Really, honestly, I think the underlying complaint is” I don’t want to pay for stuff”. You don’t have to.

          • Emeraude says:

            If you poured a job’s worth of time into an asset, you now have the opportunity to make a meager income off of it.

            You already could with a simple donation button. The vast majority of mods will probably make more money that way too.

            Of course there is a very significant change – with very real implications – in the social framing of the act. And that’s a good part of where the whole dispute here is coming from.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            How many modders will make $400 off their creation? Because that’s the minimum required for them to see any money from it.

            I’m going to bet close to none. Most people will just dream of money and end up with nothing but a mod without an audience and a bad reputation.

        • pepperfez says:

          If you decide to actually earn a living making something the community loves and supports, there’s an option now.
          This almost certainly isn’t true, though. Basically no one (There’ll always be a Notch or a Garry, of course.) who sells mods will be able to count on it as a sole source of income, and very few will see anything like a fair wage for the hours they put in. Who’d take a job that required them to give most of their (non-guaranteed) profits, and rights to their work, to companies that provide no security, support, or material assistance?

        • mattevansc3 says:

          Modders can already get reimbursed for their work via donations and Patreon. What this provides is a monetisation method whereby the modder makes the least money out of all parties involved.

          • fish99 says:

            You can’t possibly prove that since the system just launched. Personally I’d be amazed if modders made more than a pittance from donations, and I could see something like Skywind selling by the bucket load for say £10 on steam.

          • RobF says:

            But even if it does sell by the bucketload, under the terms of this deal the modders *do* make the least out of all parties involved. It’s absolutely provable just by looking at the cuts between each party.

    • gunny1993 says:

      You literally just gave an argument against the whole venture, then gave evidence supporting that argument, whilst trying to say that the entire thing is an argument in the opposite direction.

      That’s amazing.

    • skalpadda says:

      Your entire argument for having a market hinges on the assumption that there is a market in the first place, which for the last couple of decades, up to a few days ago, there hasn’t been. You’re basic premise fails even a cursory logic check.

  20. SparringLlama says:

    I feel one of the real problems, beyond all those mentioned by everyone else, is the Steam Workshop itself. Lets face it, it’s shit. I mean, until this whole ‘paid-mod’ thing there was a 100mb limit on mod sizes. There is also no personal control over the mods themselve. Mod update breaks the game? if you use Nexus you don’t download it. Workshop doesn’t give you a choice; new is always better, amirite? How about subscribed mods not being detected by the game itself. Tough luck i guess. We may as well be burning money at this point.

    Final note. Regarding steams 24-hour returns policy. Leave aside the fact that it refunds to your steam wallet -_-. You buy a couple of mods. They break the game, aren’t any good etc. etc. You decide to return it. Under their current system, refunding a mod locks you out of the workshop/community for seven days. So you can refund one of the mods. Stuck with the rest because by the time you regain access the 24-hour grace period has passed. blallalalaaaarrrrrrghghghghghhghg

    • Lacero says:

      Also it’s near impossible to stop steam updating a game, so if any game update breaks a mod you’ll have a week or so after an update where nothing works. This is a lot worse when you’ve paid for everything.

    • Horg says:

      A valve employee did confirm that they plan to remove the 7 day lock out when refunding purchases in the mod store made through steam wallet, but not through credit cards. It’s still crap, of course, as they force you to commit to store credit and will never authorise a cash refund.

  21. Christo4 says:

    The way i see it, modding is like voluntary work. You shouldn’t be payed for it, it’s out of passion for a certain game.
    If modders want to get paid for the work they do, then they might as well launch their own game, just like killing floor and others did.
    But of course, Bethesda and Valve don’t get enough revenue from the sales on Skyrim and other games that basically are only kept so popular by mods, they have to monetize voluntary work as well, with the people who actually do something only getting 25% (if i’m not mistaken, in Apple Store the dev gets 70%).

    • Emeraude says:

      Let’s be honest there: I don’t think it’s so much greed (at least from Valve) as a utter faith in a given social paradigm that cannot seem to see beyond itself – or is utterly convinced of its superiority.

      From Bethesda’s point of view here I think the control is a lot more interesting than the money.
      There’s been that metaphor of the Internet as the wild west that’s been doing the rounds for a while in software creators’ interviews, and what the owners want is a gentrification of the place.

    • Horg says:

      As someone who has done years of voluntary work in his life, you are dead right. There is an argument that all work should be compensated, but when you look at voluntary work, if compensation had to be found then most voluntary projects simply couldn’t happen.

      People mod for much the same reasons they volunteer in society, because they have time to spend and want to make something better. From fixing a simple bug to making a sweeping epic quest line, new item models and textures, NPCs with voice acting, etc, it’s all done out of passion for the game.

      I lament the loss of mods that will never get made if paid modding becomes dominant, and money poisons the creative well.

      If Bethesda thinks it’s worth commercialising modding, would it not have made more sense to accept pitches from talented groups and individuals, give them an advance to work on their project then split the profit of an officially sanctioned premium mod? You know, just as the publishing industry works in pretty much every other media market? They could give them professional help that way, and support to keep the mod project up to date with the base game. It would turn paid mods into a proper commercial product, instead of the half arsed amateur dross that currently populates the mod market, masquerading itself as premium content.

      • Laurentius says:

        “I lament the loss of mods that will never get made if paid modding becomes dominant, and money poisons the creative well. ”

        Absolutely. Looking through all these great mods that I’ve seen over the years, if this corparate driven, paid for mods model had been dominat, simply many of these endevours that led to their creation wouln’t have been taken.

      • SuicideKing says:

        If Bethesda thinks it’s worth commercialising modding, would it not have made more sense to accept pitches from talented groups and individuals, give them an advance to work on their project then split the profit of an officially sanctioned premium mod? You know, just as the publishing industry works in pretty much every other media market? They could give them professional help that way, and support to keep the mod project up to date with the base game. It would turn paid mods into a proper commercial product, instead of the half arsed amateur dross that currently populates the mod market, masquerading itself as premium content.

      • SuicideKing says:

        If Bethesda thinks it’s worth commercialising modding, would it not have made more sense to accept pitches from talented groups and individuals, give them an advance to work on their project then split the profit of an officially sanctioned premium mod? You know, just as the publishing industry works in pretty much every other media market? They could give them professional help that way, and support to keep the mod project up to date with the base game. It would turn paid mods into a proper commercial product, instead of the half arsed amateur dross that currently populates the mod market, masquerading itself as premium content.

        That’s actually a very well though out idea.

      • pepperfez says:

        Except of course no company wants to professionalize more of their workforce. Much better to let a bunch of hungry amateurs compete for scraps and not pay anything out of pocket.

    • drewski says:

      So…nobody should get paid for a job if, in your opinion, it is “voluntary”.

      The people who want to mod voluntarily for free still can. The people who want to mod for work now have a much easier path to do so. You don’t get to deny other people the right to fair pay for fair work just because you want their work to be “volunteer”. If they don’t want to volunteer, that’s not your decision to make, is it?

      • Devan says:

        First off, that’s a strawman argument regarding: “nobody should get paid for a job..”.
        Calling it a job implies employment. I don’t think anyone’s arguing that employees should not get paid for their work.

        Secondly, no matter how this situation resolves, modders always have and will continue to have ways to receive money (either through professional employment or via donations as an amateur).

        On the face of it, having more ways to make money sounds like an essentially good thing. However, the changes Valve are making will change the nature of mod-making significantly and will have long-reaching consequences. I think it’s important to consider those consequences when evaluating whether this is a good move or not.

        In my perspective, this move changes the modding community from a mostly-cooperative nature to a fully competitive one. That’s a very different environment; it attracts different people and will result in differences in the quantity and quality of mods produced. I believe that a cooperative modding community will produce better-quality content than a monetized one, and the process will be more enjoyable for both the creators and the users.

        The reward for a volunteer job is pride and appreciation from friends and strangers, as well as seeing the positive difference you’re making in a domain that you care about. That is a healthy motivation, and it’s the basis for a lot of important work that is done around the world.

        Modding is traditionally an amateur, volunteer activity. It’s not Christo4’s opinion that makes it that way, it’s the enormous majority of mod creators who have been sharing and collaborating without the expectation of a payback. And there’s a very good reason for this. Modding often requires specialized knowledge of the inner workings of the game, which is usually undocumented. Modders share knowledge; they make tools and share those too. In advanced communities like Skyrim’s, they have a whole modular ecosystem where numerous mods can make use of other mods and the features you end up with are more than the sum of their parts.

        That collaborative environment will be significantly harmed or destroyed by the introduction of this monetization system. That’s why people are arguing that modding should stay as a volunteer activity.

  22. noodlecake says:

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    I got tyhingy thing thing
    thingy thing thing
    thingy thing thing
    thing. Cars!

    Doopd dee doop! Doop dee doop!

  23. Skeletor68 says:

    I would be happy to throw a few bob to a modder if their work is worth it. If it helped something like Skywind stay on track, or let me keep playing or expand on classics like Bloodlines then sweet!

    Perhaps a pay what you want system would have worked better. The profit share doesn’t seem high enough for the modders though. 50% to them and 25% each to the IP holders and Valve feels a little more fair. Giving them such a small cut smacks of unfairly monetising other people’s passion and hard work.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      I meant to add that the pay what you want or a tipping system may take some of the pressure off people feeling they are paying for a feature complete product which may break on updates or not be as stable etc.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I just don’t see why the developer get anything if I’m honest – they’ve already been paid by all relevant parties.

  24. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    One thing I’ve not seen mentioned is the effect on DLC. A paid mod is pretty similar to DLC, it’s just that the creator is different. Possibly having paid mods directly competing with their DLC will prompt game developers to produce DLC that people want to buy, or perhaps they’ll stop putting any effort in at all, waiting for the community to fill the gap, and knowing that they’ll make money either way.

    All I know is that the Skyrim modding community has got a lot less pleasant since I last looked.

  25. drewski says:

    People who work should have the choice to be paid for that work. I fail to see why some nebulous idea of a “mod community” should allow anyone to demand that other people not be paid for their effort, skill and creativity in a situation where it is agreed between all relevant parties that it is agreeable.

    • Emeraude says:

      I’ll repost this from the other thread:

      Way to miss the point.

      Valve wants to change a community of hobbyists – of amateur enthusiasts producing for the sake of producing and for their and other amateur enthusiasts’ enjoyment – into a marketplace.

      They want to turn fandom into serious business.

      And it seems like they are unwilling or unable to understand that not all content produced is meant to be marketable. Some things are meant to be shared, and directly deride their value from the sharing itself.

      Sure, as much as other modders, there are modders to whom I’d love to give money (have too in the past). But not for their mods as products – if only because by then I would be their customer and that’s a completely different relationship, one where one is expecting and entitled to *results* from the other – but as a purely symbolic “thank you” gesture, in absence of the interpersonal context that would make a more properly individualized present possible. And I would never have paid for their mods in the first place. They were taken freely because they were given freely, in both sense of the word.

      I’ve been saying for some time that Valve has been killing from the inside the old PC community, and here it’s just another blow: the approach they are taking leads to still more professionalization of the old DIY PC crowds, and at best to self-cannibalization and division of the community. Which is a loss for us all.

      In the long rung maybe this will create a sustainable new modding community, but it will be one fairly different from the one we know now, and in my opinion lessened from it.

      • drewski says:

        Sorry, but I find that to be sanctimonious drivel. Fandom into “serious business”? What does that even mean?

        The content that is not “meant” to be marketable (in the Platonic ideal, perhaps!) will not be marketed. The content that the creators want to be marketed will be marketed. People who want to share will share. People who don’t now have an alternative option. Your preference for how modding should operate is just that – your preference. You shouldn’t get to decide for the entire globe that nobody can be paid for work just because it doesn’t fit your “preference”.

        If Valve’s new mod marketplace is not sustainable, it will fail. If it succeeds, it allows people who work hard to create content to be fairly rewarded for that content by consenting buyers.

        • Emeraude says:

          The content that is not “meant” to be marketable (in the Platonic ideal, perhaps!) will not be marketed

          It already has though.

          Your preference for how modding should operate is just that – your preference.

          I never claimed otherwise. It is also just as true of any other person’s preference.

          You shouldn’t get to decide for the entire globe that nobody can be paid for work just because it doesn’t fit your preference

          I *alone* ? Certainly not. I as part of the collective that wants things to remain such ? Totally if it’s that the collective want overall.
          Conversely, should a minority of people that wants to get paid be allowed to destroy the community of those that don’t ?

          Two points of contention I see is that you seem to think individuals prevail over the group, and that the two paradigms aren’t mutually exclusive – or at least competing in such way that one just has to exist to make critically devalue the other one.

          • drewski says:

            I don’t think you* get to force people to stay in your group, no. I don’t think you* get to demand other people work for free or not at all, no. I don’t think you* get a monopoly on coercion, no.

            *you as in the free modding community, rather than you as an individual.

            In general I would say that the right to be paid for work is so fundamental a human right that it can only be usurped in extreme circumstances. The survival of a modding community is not that circumstance, especially when that community is in no way whatsoever limited in it’s continued existence by the fact that some individuals may leave it by choice.

          • pepperfez says:

            We’re not talking about a right to get paid for mods, though. It’s very explicitly a conditional privilege granted by Valve and Bethesda for as long as it suits them. If you’re arguing for a universal right to sell derivative works, then we’ve got something to talk about; namely the entirety of currently existing IP law, which would need to be torn down and rebuilt.

          • Emeraude says:

            I don’t think you* get to force people to stay in your group

            No, you don’t, but you do get to ban those that don’t contribute – and are actively harmful – from it and the fruit of its work. If anything there is no good answer, and whatever happens the mod community will be lessened for what happened.
            But even daring to say so seems to make the other side irate.

            There is a dispute in what should be considered “work” and what shouldn’t (and the very idea that not everything can or should be considered as work). What is happening here is one of the forms those disputes can take in the public space. You’re perfectly free to put your mod for sale. Other modders that don’t want to do it get to tell you why they think by doing so you’re changing the whole value proposition of what they’ve been doing for the worse as far as they’re concerned. And they get to not include you or help you. And again this is a loss for everyone involved.

            The thing is, what is at stake is bigger than that. We’re talking about a top down enforcement of a by default marketplace paradigm by people who have control of the means of production (original game code and assets) and distribution.

            In general I would say that the right to be paid for work is so fundamental a human right that it can only be usurped in extreme circumstances.

            There is no such right (or I guess only in the sense that one has the right to be an idiot: legislating against it makes no practical sense). Supposedly there is an obligation for an employer to pay for the work (as in time/effort) commissioned from you (but even then, interns…) but that’s not the same thing. Hell, since we’re down to it, copyright isn’t a right, its a temporary privilege granted by the social body – supposedly for the very reason that there is no such right in the first place, and that content producers needed their work (as in the product of their effort) to be protected from publishers (kinda failed its constitutional mandate on that one). And the social body thought it was fair trade of, even if a loss for it, and legislated in favor of it.

    • Horg says:

      If modders cannot bring their work up to a professional standard with proper consumer protection, then no they bloody well shouldn’t. Besides, no one demands mod makers make mods for free. Mod makers make mods for free, and people enjoy them because they are free. Start charging and people will demand a quality standard that the vast majority of hobbyist modders cannot hope to achieve.

      • drewski says:

        If a mod is not of sufficient standard, I would suggest you not buy it, not that all paid for mods should be banned just to be safe…

        Mod makers who want to mod for free can still mod for free, no? People who enjoy free mods can still have free mods, no? People who demand a standard of mod that hobbyists cannot achieve will simply not get to have hobbyist mods, no?

        • Horg says:

          Assuming that the paid mod store will not negatively impact the free modding community is willfully naive. It’s already happening. People are pulling free mods down so they can’t be stolen. Mod interdependency is suddenly a commercial risk. As for the ”just don’t buy it” line of reasoning, forget it. I’m arguing that most of what’s available shouldn’t be up for sale because it wont meet the basic quality control standards we would expect form any other market. We have consumer standards in law for a reason; to protect customers from unwittingly buying shoddy goods, and to positively regulate the quality of the market. Why should mods be exempt from that if they go commercial? They shouldn’t.

    • Urthman says:

      Are you a libertarian? It’s really depressing how many people can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that a community is a real thing that can be harmed by interactions that seem fair when looked at only on the level of individuals.

      • drewski says:

        I hold a great many philosophies, but I think most true libertarians would raise a strong eyebrow at the idea that demanding fair work for fair pay is a libertarian ideal.

        • drewski says:

          *fair pay for fair work, obviously.

        • pepperfez says:

          One of my, and I think many people’s, main objections here is that Valve’s system doesn’t provide fair pay for fair work. It provides some pay for who knows what kind of work as long as the marketplace rewards it. And “rewarded at the whims of the market, with an uninvested party taking the greatest share” is no reasonable person’s idea of healthy employment.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          25% pay for 100% of the fair work is hardly fair pay though.

          • joa says:

            To be fair, the amount of work that goes into making a mod pales in comparison to the amount of work required to create modding tools (on the part of the developer) and the amount of work required to maintain and money needed to fund the huge content distribution system that is Steam.

            If people are going to demand that developers create modding tools — which is likely many months work for a large team of people — then why is it unreasonable for the developer to expect recompense?

          • RobF says:

            “To be fair, the amount of work that goes into making a mod pales in comparison to the amount of work required to create modding tools (on the part of the developer)”

            You are joking, right?

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            I don’t think any of that is relevant to cutting 75%. The mod tools is one of the selling points to the game.
            The cost already covered by user generated content and Youtubers keeping the game up in the top sellers on Steam for 2.5 years.
            Steam was likely covering its operating costs of the Workshop without problems before, as a feature driving additional sales and users to the platform with easy mod installations.

            There is also a bonus in the fine print to the “fair” 75%: Until your mods make more than $400 (if at all) from sales you will earn $0 and Valve/Bethesda will keep 100% (60% to Valve and 40% to Bethesda) of the proceeds.

          • joa says:

            No of course I’m not joking. Do you know how many people are employed by game development studios for developing tooling alone? Tools for creating game content don’t just pop out of thin air — these are highly complex software projects in themselves.

            Not only do modding tools require an entire tool pipeline for the game to be built from scratch (because the internal tools will be too tied into the company’s development process and probably encumbered with lots of proprietary technology), but they also have to be made simple enough for public use. Add to that documentation, lots of legal implications, and so on.

          • joa says:

            I should note that I am sympathetic to claims that this monetization of mods might be detrimental to the community — I am just responding to the idea that developers and Steam are doing no work and simply profiting from modders here, which I don’t think is true.

          • RobF says:

            When people say “do no work”, they don’t literally mean “oh look, mod tools land in your lap from magic mod fairies”, the meaning here is “once they’re out in the world”. Stop being obtuse.

            Comparing building a toolset (something that any game developer will be doing internally regardless, tidying it up for the public is, I agree, an entirely different matter) within a large corporate structure with what’s likely to be a small team putting together stuff in their part time is ridiculously absurd. You might as well say “well, games cost a lot of money to make, much more than mods do”. Building modding tools is something you factor -into the games development budget-. It becomes part of the development process. And you don’t do this out of the goodness of your heart, there’s a strong business case for doing so, right?

            And developers, when this system works like it very much has done for Skyrim, profit greatly from free labour. Masses of it. Hour after hour which benefits the community and benefits the bottom line of games companies. Without extensibility, Skyrim would not have the long life it has. There’s more people creating mods for Skyrim than the entire staff of Bethesda, yeah? Large and small contributions abound. It’s just a stupid thing to level here and I’m boggled that you felt the need to bring it up in the first place and it’s even more boggling to use it to somehow justify creaming off a large percentage of someone else’s profits for work long done and finished.

          • Devan says:

            Games companies who release mod tools do it because mods mean increased replayability, increased engagement and increased viral interest in the product, resulting in increased revenue. I’m not saying it always pays off for the developer to do this, but it’s not an unmitigated cost.

            Because of that and the fact that most games don’t even get official modding tools these days, I don’t see it as holding much water as a justification for the monetization of mods.

    • fitzroy_doll says:

      There is a disturbing trend in popular culture that the makers of creative content should not be paid for their work.

      • pepperfez says:

        There’s an equally disturbing trend towards treating all human activity as actual or potential commerce. AND ALSO a disturbing trend of powerful incumbent corporations demanding to get paid for things they didn’t make.
        It’s disturbing trends all the way down!

        • fitzroy_doll says:

          It’s up to the mod makers. It’s not unusual for someone to spend hundreds of hours creating and supporting a mod over a period of years. If they want to be paid for that then they should.

          • pepperfez says:

            What if they want to get paid 100% of their earnings? What if they want to get paid for their dong mods? I’m just having trouble with the notion that a fundamental liberty interest is at stake in allowing very narrowly constrained commerce on the non-negotiable terms of powerful rights holders. Again, if the policy were to allow mods to be sold anywhere, with any content, with a nominal fee paid to Bethesda, we’d have an entirely different conversation here.

          • joa says:

            Modders are using a game engine, artwork and assets developed by Bethesda at considerable expense to them. Why should modders expect to dictate the terms?

          • P.Funk says:

            joa, you just put a fine point on the problem with the whole ‘meaning of production’ issue.

            Except, what you claim that the developers had to make they got compensated for already, in the price of the game. When they make the game knowing the output of the modders will increase the value of their product then why are the modders the ones who must eat shit to get a share?

            Oh, because the system is fucked, fundamentally unfair, and idiots say shit that makes it sound like the developer is bleeding cash to fuel the community with mod tools and is a wounded puppy that deserves to rape the commons for its due.

          • P.Funk says:

            And thats supposed to be ‘means of production’, stupid lack of edit.

          • MellowKrogoth says:

            The way the industry works right now is, you want to use an engine to make and sell your own game, you have to pay rather substantial license fees usually in the thousands of dollars up front plus profit sharing. I don’t think that anybody would buy your argument of “I paid 60$ so I’m entitled to make commercial products with this game i.e. use the game as an engine”

    • Synesthesia says:

      You hit the nail on the head. Thanks.

    • P.Funk says:

      Because turning the free sharing of creative output for its own sake into commerce is toxic. Injecting money into that dynamic will shatter what existed before and whats worse the entity thats driving this is taking zero oversight to ensure its not an abusive system.

  26. James says:

    As a student of philosophy, this whole thing is making me cringe. I have sampled the arguments and cranked out almost 9000 words on just how bad the debate has been, and why modding ought to be free (please note that I am not against a paid user content type thing, I explain it all in the piece)

    I’ll publish over on the Dtoid blogs as soon as some people get back to me for comment, or in 13 days, whatever is sooner.

  27. Urthman says:

    I’m really disappointed in RPS with the one-sidedness of this article. If you’re just covering one particular voice, say GabeN’s reddit thread, fine, but when you turn it into a roundup of various people’s opinions, it really sucks that they’re all from one side of the issue. Bad reporting.

    • simontifik says:

      The article is titled ‘Gabe Newell, Garry Newman Defend Steam’s Paid Mods’. It does a fine job of conveying the views of these two men. To qualify as ‘good reporting’ would it need to include Reddit user #3546 says ‘Dis sux man’.

  28. Bookbuster says:

    Modding will survive this. The question is: will the modding community survive in its present form?

    I think the answer to that is no, and there are two reasons for that. The first is that it’s being driven by forces external to the community. It’s not about rewarding modders – if it was, the base payment would be higher – but monetising fan labour and potentially diffusing development costs. For Valve and Bethesda, it’s a way to make money with zero effort. Hell, some of the most popular mods for Skyrim are bug and UI fixes. The same is true of other games. Bethesda effectively gets paid for other people fixing their game.

    The second is that the introduction of money – potentially serious money – into the equation is fundamentally disruptive to the open sharing of ideas, and makes the process of building communities harder. Garry’s Mod? Made by one guy. Onefmp? One guy. So no issues there. But what if you’re a ten-person modding team, spread around the world? How do you split the profits? What happens if someone leaves or joins the project halfway through? Do you need to pay the voice actors, if you go down that route?

    I’m not opposed to the idea of paying for mods, but it should be community driven.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Modding in general will definitely survive this because a lot of games will never move to a pay model. I think Skyrim’s modding community has however been irreversibly damaged.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I agree; this is a point I brought up in the first RPS article about this. It doesn’t matter so much for the solo modders. They’ll either take advantage of this or not, and the people using their mods will make their own cost-benefit decisions.

      But this could destroy modding teams. It will also severely limit solo modders who are talented at pulling together “supermods” by collecting and integrating smaller mods by permission. Some simulations like the Silent Hunter sub series have been kept alive for years on the backs of the modding community and the “supermods” that extend those games. It’s the only reason SH5 is playable at all, since Ubisoft left it in a crippled state on release. It’s hard enough to deal with the rivalries and infighting that happens in modding teams. Injecting money into that environment will only make it worse.

  29. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    Valve took everything they didn’t learn from Early Access and Steam Greenlight and built an app store inspired by Google Play. Good luck.

  30. mr.earbrass says:

    So what’s the difference between a paid mod and DLC? Besides the creator obviously.

    • Horg says:

      Generally, we expect DLC to meet a minimum of quality control standards, remain officially supported by the developers for the entire lifetime of the games active development process, and pose no compatibility issues with any other official content. Mods, as they are currently being sold are amateur works that charge comparable prices to official DLC but have none of the quality control standards or responsibility to customers.

  31. int says:

    This pear. So delicious.

  32. Tayh says:

    RPS blindly supporting and endorsing anything valve puts out.
    How utterly non-surprising.

    • Wisq says:

      Honestly, a lot of gamers support and endorse anything Valve puts out. They’ve arguably done more for PC gaming than any other company in recent memory, and they have a pretty good track record of getting it generally right … eventually. So if RPS is on-side with them, it’s only because so are most PC gamers.

      Still, this decision is one of their more questionable and controversial ones. Particularly the percentages involved, if nothing else. It’ll be interesting to see if they stick to their guns on this one.

      • DrManhatten says:

        DRM-Laden $team was the biggest pile of shit that ever happened to the PC gaming community. And goodbye RPS I had enough of your Pro-Valve/Pro-$team articles. From now on I get my news from unbiased sites.

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          ‘kay bye!

          Before you go – did you notice the title of the article? Did you notice how it specifically mentions the people whose viewpoints are being represented, and even foreshadows what that viewpoint will be?

          Anyway, good luck with the new forum, wherever it might be!

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Okay, seeing a whole lot of this, surprisingly, and now I’m ticked off.

      RPS isn’t ‘supporting’ this move at all. The only opinions RPS have voiced have been equally balanced for and against, in a separate article. All this is, if you actually read it, is a bunch of links. Links to positive takes on the argument, yes, but again, they already made their own feelings clear, for AND against. And I don’t doubt there’ll be more articles on this before it’s done.

      It’s all ridiculous anyway. If they HAD stated a purely one-sided viewpoint they’d be yelled at for having an opinion, if they stay fully neutral they get yelled at for having no opinion. That’s the way things are, of course, and fair enough, journalists know what they’re getting into, but you and quite a few other people are taking it quite a few steps further, all the way across the line into good old “making stuff up” territory.

  33. Five_Ahn says:

    I agree with Valve that this is a great move for the modding community, if by that you mean the people who’ve before now never touched Skyrim but can now make money on swords for it in addition to the TF2 hats and Dota whatever they were already making.

    For the SKYRIM modding community that until now has modded because they love the game, freely sharing assets and ideas with each other, it is shit.

    • Lacero says:

      This is really true.
      Homogenising the mod scene on the pc by making all the modders have the same values would be a terrible waste of a wonderful part of pc gaming.

  34. Five_Ahn says:

    I am also disappointed that “pertinent” apparently means “comes out of the mouth of a rich person”. My image of RPS, it is shattered.

  35. mutanteggs says:

    So, who gets the bigger cut? The person that made the game or the person that modded it? I vote for the people that actually made the dang game.

    • Five_Ahn says:

      Didn’t the people who made the game get their cut already? From, you know, you buying the game?

      • pepperfez says:

        The people who made the game get nothing for mod or game sales. They were paid a salary and probably fired after release.

  36. JayG says:

    So maybe instead of bullying the likes of peter molyneux or endlessly droning on about how horridly sexist some games are RPS can actually make some kind of a stand here. Maybe try asking Bethesda about actually making their games function well on PC as a platform rather then making people pay for an outside UI. And for that matter if a mod breaks a game, as a paid component what will they do to fix it? I’ve been buying their games since Arena, and gone back to a lot of them as a result of Mods. And I am basically the type of buyer they are looking for after spending way too much on MMO’s, PC games, etc. I would have no problem paying for decent mods. But most of the that goes to the same sods selling broken games. This is the same company that destroyed Human Head, made sure Obsidian didn’t get their bonus as a result of 84% on metacritic, and now wants 40 % on mods that fix their broken games. But I guess they ain’t a easy target, so this is what we get. Far cry from what RPS once was.

    • Phier says:

      Thats just it, Elder Scrolls games without modding are buggy, poorly thought out, and usually kinda boring. Without mods most are not worth my time, and now with this… no.. just no.

  37. DrManhatten says:

    I’ve got pnly one thing to say to Gabe: Make HL3 and leave the rest of us alone with your $team platform.

    • pepperfez says:

      Didn’t you hear? Half Life 3 will be a series of paid mods to Counterstrike chosen from the best of the community. Because of the value of the HL brand, though, Valve will be keeping all revenues.

  38. airmikee says:

    It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve logged into Steam, just been too busy after picking up WoW:WoD. Valve caving in to pressure from hate groups to release murder simulator Hatred instead of having the testicular fortitude to let haters sell the game on their own and now trying to profit from a free market that has existed for decades without any corporate support. I don’t see any reason to log back into Steam or spend any more money in their store for a while. And where’s all the GamerGate people that wanted to bring ethics back into video games? Oh, that’s right, none of this is being done by a woman so there’s nothing for them to protest.

    • Distec says:

      1) Valve didn’t cave into any hate group regarding Hatred’s Greenlight status.

      2) What makes you think GG (or at least some segment of it) is not bothered by this development? Is it a lack of death threats or what? Any way, classy move bringing that into the discussion for no reason at all.

  39. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    As I said before, I am very much for people being rewarded for work they’ve done. However, there are quite a few reasons why the way Valve’s going about it is not the way to do it.. or at least to question the way they’ve chosen to do it. It’s very easy to call those who aren’t imemdiately in favour of this cheapskates, it’s also a way to paint those people with the same brush and ignore their arguments (whatever they may be).

    It is therefore with disappointment that I read this article, as it highlights only the pro-Valve side. Now, I never really had any reason to particularly trust Valve (Maybe it helps that I’m a mac gamer and didn’t play any Valve games prior to Portal and therefore don’t have any particular attachment to Valve). The way they’ve treated Early Access or certain titles which were clearly selling a broken product, their stance against refunds and their stance on game ownership.

    No, I see this move as a move by Valve to make money and to further tighten their grasp on the modding community (and, as follows on those gamers who enjoy modding). Maybe that’s a particularly cynical view, but when modders don’t receive more than 25% of the money paid for a mod while Valve gets a 30% cut and there’s no reason to assume they’ll do anything to deserve that cut (for example by quality control and making sure people can’t buy mods which are fraudulent) it doesn’t seem that unlikely to me.

    Therefore, I have no reason to believe any promises Valve makes toward making this new feature of Steam worth it for the community or the modders themselves. And while modders will have opportunities to make some money, that’s not enough for me to shut my eyes to the flaws in the system.

  40. Flavorfish says:

    There are some very legitimate questions about Valve’s execution on tgis, but the rancid ignorance of basic economics that permeates this thread reminds me of why I have such little trust in democracy.

    • pepperfez says:

      It’s not ignorance, it’s a difference of values. “That’s how the market works” doesn’t answer “This is not a good place for a market.”

  41. EhexT says:

    It’s really just plain sad that I can now say “I was there when modding died”. For all the good Valve has done, they have done so many bad things, but nothing so far has topped this atrocity.

  42. alsoran says:

    I honestly cannot remember anyone asking for what Valve and Bethesda has done and it appals me to read how people are trying to placate them and meet them half way. “Gabe, at least just give us a Donation button!” some say. The geezer must be choking on his cornflakes with laughter.

    The facts of the matter are that the modding community were getting along quite nicely until Valve and Bethesda rode straight through the camp and destroyed it. This is the way the native American people were treated. It is also a fact that we were lulled into a false sense of security thinking they would allow the situation to continue.

    You have we want and we can take it. They can too, the IP is theirs and its a simple thing to coral mods into a walled garden with a Paywall gateway. They may have made a mess of it for now, but they will get slicker.

    The steps taken in the last few days pave the way for total control over IP and mod content. I think their new games will be officially modified only by those people who sign up to the workshop tools and all. Anyone creating mods outside of the system will be hounded by lawyers if they release them. A La music industry style.

    I wonder whether games that are enabled for Mods in future will just be scat which their pet modding community will slavishly fix. It seems to me a win, win situation for the big boys. Make a game, have content modified for nothing by monkeys who get peanuts and collect all the way to the bank and beyond. Customer pays again and again.

    Its brutal, I’m scared and looking for alternatives to the Steam party.

    • alsoran says:

      I expect that they think that they have the winning hand and probably don’t see the need to compromise. Asking them to give a concession is like asking an invading army to be nice, it would only flatter their vanity but I doubt that anything major will change. That’s how I feel.

      • gamma says:

        Army is in retreat now (check below). For the time being something already changed.

  43. Fredward says:

    If things stay like they are right now everything is copacetic from my point of view. Mostly. It’s evil, evil capitalism but it’s as good as it’s going to get. Everyone gets a slice of the pie. Not an equal slice, maybe not a fair slice and the pie didn’t even exist before so no one really missed it but overall? Not total suckage.

    The potential problem? The framework for the total subsumation of modding into corporatism is here. Imagine the next Elder Scrolls or Fallout is announced, it’s Bethesda so a toolkit is a given, except this time there’s a monthly subscription fee included for totally reasonable, completely coincidental reasons ofc. What then? It would become less of a question of ‘modding: hobbyist or semi-professional?’ and more of ‘where can I pirate all the new shiny mods?’ Not saying it WILL happen, but it COULD. Apparently only 14% of total Skyrim sales were on PC, would Bethesda decide that the outrage/loss of sales would be worth the sweet, filthy lucre?

    And, lastly. Not to sound like a total ingenue but this was so damn MEAN. It almost reminds me of colonialism. The natives are being being all happy and untamed and content and stuff, backwards maybe but happy. But the superpower’s see untapped potential. They’ll ‘help’ the backwards people! Drag them into the light (the light is stacks of gold)! So they just muscle in. Throw money around, replace values, break up communities, appeal to primal, visceral desires that used to sublimated and obviated by tribal ties and rituals but now have been re-appropriated, channeled in a new direction. The natives never stood a chance. They weren’t organized. They lived simple lives. Simple, content lives devoid of weird goals where the only way to win is to never stop grabbing stuff. ~sigh~ I’ve been listening to Colors of the Wind a lot, sorry.

    There was no need for this. The companies did not need more money, it’s not like they’re in financial trouble. They make disgusting amounts of dosh. The modders didn’t need this, they modded because they WANTED to, because they loved it or they liked the tribal approbation but it was never a need. It was never a must. Now it could very well become one.

    This was done out of greed, pure, unadulterated greed. The greed might be recast to appear more noble (“we’re doing this for all those hard working modders, they should get something for their work!”), to make it easier for the greedy ones to swallow. But it’s horseshit. You don’t get to play the noble party when you introduced the very framework that necessitates your beneficence.

    • Lacero says:

      I was reluctant to use the word above, and I’m glad I didn’t in the first comment cos it’s a bit distracting, but yeah colonialism is exactly what it makes me think of too.

      The natives are free to choose not to trade with the europeans!

      • Fredward says:

        Embrace the melodrama!

        It’s OTT maybe but it’s also accurate. The major ructions this has caused now that the colonial powers have pulled out slots in too. For the companies this was an embarrassing booboo, maybe even just a temporary setback. The Nexus though? And other sites like it? The amount of caustic vitriol being hurled around there is gonna leave some permanent scars and divisions.

  44. Dread Quixadhal says:

    Money isn’t really the issue. I don’t think very many people REALLY mind that people are making money from mods. What *IS* an issue is the lack of vetting by steam, or the game developers.

    Literally, I could grab somebody else’s paid mod, change the name, re-publish it for $0.01 less, and sit back and collect the dough. Sure, the community would be upset with me, but every person who clicks buy on my cheaper rip-off version is FREE money for me.

    Steam needs to do SOME policing of what ends up on there. Their early-access program let a lot of garbage into the system, and this will do the same. As the signal to noise ratio gets worse, steam will be shooting themselves in the foot.

  45. Rikard Peterson says:

    “A mod later deleted the original post for some reason”

    I found that funny.

  46. Atrak says:

    Another interesting element to consider is that some mod developers who sell their mods might actually never get paid for them. As from what I understand there is a minimum amount that you need to earn via the Steam Workshop to actually get a payout.

    I’ve heard it’s $100 but then you would need to sell 800 Swords, or Armour sets or whatever selling at 50 cents a piece with your 25% cut to make the minimum $100 payout figure. So the possibility exists that you can do the work expecting to get $$$ now but be left with nothing.

    Just something to think about.

    (Note I’ve only heard people talking about this being the minimum, then again I’ve also seen people mention $400. If anyone want’s to chime in on the exact value please do).

    I wonder really if this is a test for Bethesda, I mean Valve apparently wants to make modding more accessible and get modders some money which is noble. What does Bethesda want though? Obviously their next game will have modding support, maybe they are trying to get the kinks out of the system before the next game releases off the bat with paid mods. I wonder also if setting the bar at the %25 minimum for the developer (please god let that be the minimum!) was initially to gauge how much it could get away with in that regard. People accept it, awesome, People get angry and not many mods sell, well maybe their next game comes out with a little higher percentage.

    Who knows, I guess I just like wondering. :)

  47. Bereil says:

    As of very recently Steam removed the pay-for-mods:
    link to

    Basically, the Skyrim modding community made a big enough uproar to make them back off.

  48. Distec says:

    Wow. I’m surprised they actually yanked the whole thing back (unless I’m missing something). I figured they would tough it out until people get used to paying for mods.

    Am I allowed to give Valve a little credit for reacting relatively quickly? Y’know, even as a reaction to their own extremely ill-thought idea?