Paid mods were added to the Steam Workshop last week; The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim was the first to have this new feature as a way to test and see how the community responded. Shorty after the feature was added a mod was removed due to it containing another mod without the original creators permission and refunds were given to buyers.
The Skyrim modding community was not happy. Within a few days a petition against the new paid mods reached over 80,000 signatures making it very clear what the community’s stance was. To try and explain the new feature and why it was a good thing Gabe Newell CEO of Steam hosted an Ask Me Anything post on Reddit about the recent change; the response was strongly negative with many of his responses being downvoted heavily.
Yesterday Bethesda took to their blog to try and explain why they believed paid mods were a good thing; part of their belief was that only 8% of Skyrim players used a mod and 1% had ever made a Skyrim mod which was far too low of number and they wished to encourage new modders. Bethesda confirmed that they had the final say in the revenue split and though 45% to them would be best as it is industry standard and it was usually successful in both free and paid games.
There are things we can control, and things we can’t. Our belief still stands that our community knows best, and they will decide how modding should work. We think it’s important to offer choice where there hasn’t been before.
According to Bethesda’s post yesterday they only wanted to encourage more support from modders and players for Skyrim however they did acknowledge not all mods will be money worthy so they know this is a difficult topic.
Bethesda updated their blog to announce that paid Skyrim mods would be removed from the Steam Workshop as it’s not what the community wants.
Even though we had the best intentions, the feedback has been clear – this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you.
A Steam blog post has confirmed the removal of paid Skyrim mods; anyone who bought a mod during the time the feature was running will be refunding completely and Bethesda agrees with this.
Steam explained their thinking behind having paid mods; they wanted to provide mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time and encourage developers to provide modders with better support. They recognise that many great Steam games have been born from mods, Dota and Killing Floor for example, and wanted to help other mod makers move into developing their own game.
Steam has admitted that using Skyrim was a bad move since the modding community is years old and well established; Bethesda commented in their blog that other games will be receiving this feature in the future.
We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.
This seems to be the end of paid mods for now; Valve is looking at the feedback from this and hope to come to a better solution for both the community and developers.
Do you think paid mods are a good idea if some changes are made or do you think they should look at another feature? A donation button for example.