Valve Ends Steam's Controversial Paid Mod Program

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Valve Ends Steam's Controversial Paid Mod Program

Skyrim Mod

Valve backs away from an enraged modding community.

A mere four days after allowing mod creators to sell their work on Steam Marketplace, Valve has done an about face and removed the feature from Steam. Following a discussion between Valve and Bethesda, users who have already purchased mods for Skyrim, the first (and seemingly only) game to have featured paid mods, will be receiving a full refund for those purchases.

The decision to create a paid mod marketplace was met with considerable criticism from mod creators and users alike, with concerns ranging from fear that capitalizing mods would damage the mod community to the profit share which saw creators receiving only 25% of revenue from sales. A Change.org petition collected more than 130,000 signatures from people opposed to Valve's move over the weekend.

The announcement was made by Valve's Alden Kroll, who explained some of the logic behind the decision to offer paid mods, noting the company's prior success with revenue sharing programs for community creators in their own games. Kroll states that Valve, "underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim's workshop," noting that, "stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating."

Of course, that statement does leave the door open for other games in the future. Kroll also comments that Valve, "believe there's a useful feature somewhere here," which likely means community created mods for a price could yet return to Steam at some point, but they seem to have learned their lesson about getting involved in an entrenched community such as the one Skyrim has.

Source: Steam, Bethesda Blog

Permalink

All I have to said is....

bitching and moaning does work, we need to do more bitching and moaning

What I bunch of fucking cowards. I've lost all respect for Valve.

...

Seriously though, I'm happy about this.

tf2godz:
All I have to said is....

bitching and moaning does work, we need to do more bitching and moaning

The thing is, this was a unifying cause. There will always be people bitching and moaning about the crap Ubi, EA, or Activision tries to do...but there's just as many people who just don't really care about micro-transactions or DRM and don't see them as a big deal. Messing with the modding community - on Skyrim, of all games - was clearly a line that should not have been crossed. As I said: it united the community which made the backlash swift and merciless.

I still say that modders deserve to get paid for all the time and effort they put into creating things we all enjoy, but the system Steam had set up was absolutely atrocious. Try it again with a "tip jar" system so people can support their favorite modders - if they so choose - by tossing them some money in appreciation would be better...but even then, there's still the legal can of worms that gets knocked over by the very premise of getting paid for mods.

Dang. I was hoping they'd keep the store and just improve on its weaknesses. Alas, we remain in a silver age of modding. I hope they consult with the community in the next few months and bring a version of it back, perhaps with a more progressive implementation.

Daymn, I hope Valve didn't go and break their ankles doing all of that backpedaling.

Hopefully now, without the actual implementation of this system looming over our heads, people can have a discussion about paid mods with a little less knee-jerk. Being totally real, there *are* some modders that definitely deserve to be paid. They put in hours and hours of work, and coding, and everything else, into making a game better and more feature-rich.

There are also mods and modders that definitely do not deserve a dime.

The biggest issue with this whole thing was the fact that Valve has shown themselves completely incapable of policing content on their own service. There's really no real way to ensure that only worthy mods get to go premium, and that half-assed, predatory cash-grabs don't flood the system like they do with early-access and Greenlight.

Also, the fact that Valve and the game dev get a combined 75% cut only incentivizes price gouging. Any cut steam and the gave developers get should not exceed 20-30%, and I personally feel 30% is too high. The game maker already got full retail for their product, they aren't entitled to most of the derivatives profit from it as well. And, at the end of the day, Valve just runs the service. Their take should be minimal. If the service takes off they will make their bank through volume alone.

I was almost losing faith in the Glorious Gaben, but I knew in my heart that the messiah would not truly betray us in the end.

Sardonac:
Dang. I was hoping they'd keep the store and just improve on its weaknesses. Alas, we remain in a silver age of modding. I hope they consult with the community in the next few months and bring a version of it back, perhaps with a more progressive implementation.

I think if this happens, it needs to happen on the modder community's terms, not Valve's. (In other words, their own storefront) since it'll just always cause issues once corporations get involved..

That being said, yay! I'm happy that it was reversed. I'm sure some mods are now lost for ever because of it when nexus authors brought their mods down, but I suppose that's better then fucking up the Fallout 4 community before it even gets started, and I can once again look forward to it with bated breath. C'mon, E3 fallout 4 announcement

RJ 17:
Try it again with a "tip jar" system so people can support their favorite modders - if they so choose - by tossing them some money in appreciation would be better...but even then, there's still the legal can of worms that gets knocked over by the very premise of getting paid for mods.

And this a fantastic idea. I would love to donate to modders. I usually have no credit card or debit, so I can never donate to them, but I can always get my hand on steam wallet funds either by selling various items in trading, or by activating steam gift cards.

Guess they'll wait till the next Elder Scrolls and do it on launch. Always silly to do this sort of thing so many years in, will always get someone's back up.

Thanks for that Valve, I needed a pick me up after Silent Hills got cancelled.

Fuck you for trying in the first place though.

It's good to see they came to their senses. I do wish to see modders being compensated, but the system Valve offered was flawed in too many ways.

Road to hell

Valve "Let's let modders get paid for their work, quest mods and stuff deserve it. Surely this won't get spammed by half-assed asset stealing creations like Greenlight was. is."
Bethesda "We want the biggest cut"
Modders "I made a mod with horse genitals and am selling it for $100"

Well it looks like "we" won although I have no clue who we is at the moment but as long as valve drops this blatant scam I'm happy.
Oh and...


hehe...

Phew, there IS a god!

And his name is Gaben!

Signa:
Phew, there IS a god!

And his name is Gaben!

Pretty su're their names are Twitter and Social Media.
Besides Gaben has already made it clear there won't be a Second Coming.

Well, that was an exhilarating week. Maybe EA and Ubisoft will see what happened here and, next week, reverse some of their inane nonsense...

well, that was quick

now, if only they'd be this quick about fixing Greenlight...

Signa:
Phew, there IS a god!

And his name is Gaben!

They made it clear their still will be paid mods one Steam on day, just not for Skyrim.

StraightToHeck:
well, that was quick

now, if only they'd be this quick about fixing Greenlight...

This is the equivalent of removing one bad greenlight game, they are still planning to implement a paid mod system.

This isn't over yet. they will find another way. But now we know it's coming and they know to be less idiotic about it.

And there was much rejoicing. I was really worried that I'd have to spend 3 hours sifting through every good mod on ES Nexus and archive them for when I finally get around to playing Skyrim again.

RJ 17:
I still say that modders deserve to get paid for all the time and effort they put into creating things we all enjoy, but the system Steam had set up was absolutely atrocious. Try it again with a "tip jar" system so people can support their favorite modders - if they so choose - by tossing them some money in appreciation would be better...but even then, there's still the legal can of worms that gets knocked over by the very premise of getting paid for mods.

If not a "tip jar" that uses a user's Steam account for donations, Valve and other publishers could at least never bother any modder who asks for Paypal, Patreon, etc donations, if the user like the mod. I can see some execs at Zenimax getting angry about not being able to do anymore cash grabs and taking out their frustrations by picking on talented modders, who do deserve a little something every now and then. There's also all of the copyright lawyers of other forms of media, who now have an eye on the modding community's pontential to make money off of other random IPs.

Edit: Doh' I forgot to add this to the OT: With the original Xbone DRM backpedaling and this backlash, it's good to see someone taking on stupid corporate decisions that could hurt the industry. We will still have to be vigilant about a company changing their minds about either issue, though.

Honestly, just include donations to mod makers through the steam wallet.

That way Valve still gets a cut and the modders can still make money.

Requirements for a future "paid mod" system:

- Don't call it "paid mods". Because its no longer a "mod" if you're charging for it. "Mod" has certain implications associated with it. Call it "Community DLC". Because really that's what it is. Its a product someone has made as an addition to the game. The moment you start charging upfront its a business transaction, not a community project.

- Some damn accountability for the quality and stability of the mod by someone, anyone. I don't care if its Valve, the modder, the Publisher or the original Developer. SOMEONE has to have responsibility for the product being sold. Which means it needs to be QA tested and ongoing future support. Unfortunately this would also mean Valve would have to sort out their shocking community support.

- Some actual curation of the stuff that's going to go up there. This follows on from the above point but if you just dump any damn thing on there as paid you're going to have a mass of junk which people have made and thrown up to make a couple of quid quick. DOTA2 gets around this because items have to go through a process of being selected and then tested by Valve themselves, so you're less likely to get garbage and/or stuff that's been stolen. Having a totally open market on this is absurd.

- Paul Tassi over at Forbes did a very good article in which he suggested an "audition process" whereby you need to submit several free mods which are downloaded by significant numbers of people and/or are highly rated before you can submit paid mods.

Alternatively don't do paid mods and instead have a "tip jar" on each creator's page that people can send money to if they like their mod (NOT a "pay what you want" system because that implies paying before you've decided if its any good).

In any case I'm delighted this thing has been brought down for now. But have a rather ominous feeling we'll be revisiting this for Fallout 4 and TES6.

Conrad Zimmerman:
"stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating."

So they'll probably try harder when TES VI or Fallout 4 come out. Bethesda may even make some sort of sneaky drm for the Creation Kit that only allows you to upload to Steam workshop, along with Valve forcing mods on the workshop to be paid for.

Then again, I may just be too cynical for my own good. Can you blame me when something like paid mods came into existence?

Denamic:
I was almost losing faith in the Glorious Gaben, but I knew in my heart that the messiah would not truly betray us in the end.

Don't go at it with this attitude.

GabeN and Valve fucked up. Big time. Don't congratulate them for doing the right thing; you shouldn't be rewarded for doing what is expected of you. Just let it die, but always keep this affair in the back of your head.

And never let them forget what they tried to do.

RJ 17:

I still say that modders deserve to get paid for all the time and effort they put into creating things we all enjoy, but the system Steam had set up was absolutely atrocious. Try it again with a "tip jar" system so people can support their favorite modders - if they so choose - by tossing them some money in appreciation would be better...but even then, there's still the legal can of worms that gets knocked over by the very premise of getting paid for mods.

Modders dont "deserve to be paid"... because at the end of the day what they are doing is suposed to be a hobby

HOWEVER: They do "deserve to be supported" and that includes giving them money, after all they do share their hobby with everyone.

But by demanding pay... you turn a hobby into a business... and businesses play by other rules then mere hobbyists that share their passion with a community. Suddenly sharing assets between teams becomes a economical foolish decision, suddenly everyone needs working contracts to make sure no one runs off with your teams trade secrets, suddenly everyone wants a cut of the money the mod makes and you have to deal with who gets what share of the revenue in a legally binding way (aka working contracts... you actually need to HIRE people now)

Then there was the issue of absolute ZERO quality control... those "pending review" mods? They would have gone through aslong as no one disputed them... and looking at the sheer number of crap being uploaded... who has the time to sift through thousands of 1 dollar mods? It didnt work for greenlight.. and it didnt work for early access. Also people stealing from each other left and right, not giving credit to original creators and the cherry ontop: Steam saying that you can take what you want for your mod aslong as its not on steam workshop and was freely available on the net.

Valve learned a valuable lesson this week:

Even they cant bent over gamers like this. We have endured alot of bullshit from big publishers, but this was definatly a step to far.

You know what they should do, and this might sound ridiculous, but let you "tip" in Steam items.

Got a freebie game that's tradable? Tip-it. Got a few digital cards? Hand 'em over.

Most of those items have some real-world value, with many cards floating around ~30 cents or so. It would be enough for the dev to buy themselves a cup of coffee every now and then, Valve would still get their cut, AND it wouldn't require gamers dish out cash if they can't afford it, they can just give the cards they get from playing away.

Of course, that would require Steam to develop an inventory and Marketplace that doesn't interact like trying to sell molasses in Alaska.

Well to their credit i knew when they fucked up and boy did Valve fuck up. Greenlight is fucked but its a good start they just need to police it, or at least make it a point to make sure ppl dont just buy shit willy nilly really look into a game before buying it. I mean real mods will always stand out from the shit and if they get to a point like Black Mesa for example they are able to sell their mod on steam when they complete the last few stages. If they feel the need to someway pay modders then a donate button would be best. And have lay it out in such a way that shows you whats had the most donations you shud get a good idea of whats worth you cash.

SlumlordThanatos:

Denamic:
I was almost losing faith in the Glorious Gaben, but I knew in my heart that the messiah would not truly betray us in the end.

Don't go at it with this attitude.

GabeN and Valve fucked up. Big time. Don't congratulate them for doing the right thing; you shouldn't be rewarded for doing what is expected of you. Just let it die, but always keep this affair in the back of your head.

And never let them forget what they tried to do.

You don't get to dictate how or what I should feel or do. I'll go at it with whatever attitude I please. I will show gratitude when they do the right thing. But I will also boycott and campaign against them should they betray the status quo like this. I will even praise EA should they stop being cunts, but until then, I will keep boycotting them.

People yelling "PRAISE GABEN" like this wasnt his fault to begin with. Dont flock back to being a mindless Valvedrone because they got called out on their bullshit because that is exactly what they expect.

The flock decided they had enough of being buggered by the farmer so they started rebelling until the farmer said "Ok fine I'll stop for a week." Then suddenly they decided they were fine with it for some reason.

Dont get complacent and certainly dont think Gabe is done with this idea, He and Bethesda are probably thinking up Paywall 2.0 as we speak.

Well I'll be darned, they blinked. Still, paid mods cough*3rd Party DLC*cough are something to be wary of in the future. After this debacle I'm definitely going to try and buy purchase games from sources other than Steam, I've lost a lot of trust in them.

see valve you always wanna start with "just the tip" when you're about to starting dicking people over.

Moments like this make me wonder how we expect people to fix things if we say that we hate something, then criticize the people for listening to us and changing their policy.

On a side note, damn, that was quick.

AstaresPanda:
lay it out in such a way that shows you whats had the most donations you shud get a good idea of whats worth you cash.

I disagree. Any donations should be kept private for 2 reasons. 1 is the reason you mention and that will cause a new mod to be a failure even if it is better than any of the ones similar that came before it, we had the same thing On Nexus with the endorsements and people refusing to try a mod because it had few. And that causes the mod to not get endorsements because fewer would play it, donations would cause that same problem. 2 is if the author made the best mod the world has ever seen and he has a few hundred dollars worth of donations someone could see that and decide not to donate because "clearly he is making allot of money" even if the last donation was a year ago and 5 updates has been done since as well as being the best supported mod.

Plus he or she isn't a corporation so any income doesn't have to be made public and shouldn't be for general privacy reasons.

Now THAT community feedback responsiveness.

Very nice. Smart move on Bethesda pulling out. It was never a bright idea to do this when there is the widespread belief that you let your modding community fix all of your games. Now I've got to go find the dance thread on infinichan.

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