Aspiring modders will now be able to charge money for their hard work, albeit, with 75% of it going to Valve and the publisher.
Are you a Skyrim modder? Have you poured hours and hours of your life into your HD Realistic Flower Physics mod only to realize that all you got out of it was an increase in your video game development skills and Internet fame? Well, now its time to cash in on your hard work as Valve has just announced Paid Workshop Content, beginning with one of the most mod-heavy games of all time: Skyrim.
How does it work? First up, modders have to specify whether or not their mod is paid. This means that they can still create free mods if they wish. They then set their own price for their mod, and put it up for sale on the Steam Workshop. As a consumer, you can purchase a mod in pretty much the same way you purchase official DLC. There's also an option for modders to set up a Humble Bundle-style "pay as you like" system.
To kick things off, Skyrim will also available to play for free this weekend, until April 26.
While this sounds pretty rosy for creators and consumers alike, there are of course a fair share of caveats with the system. Firstly, creators only receive 25% of the revenue from mods, with the remaining 75% to be split between Valve and the game's publisher (in this case, Bethesda). Furthermore, Valve will only pay out its creators once there is at least $100 to pay them, meaning that mods will have to make a minimum of $400 before their creators see a cent.
From the consumer side of things, anyone who has ever played World of Warcraft will know the pain of a game releasing an update that breaks all of your mods. So what happens when a mod you paid for gets broken and the developer has abandoned it? According to the official FAQ, you're on your own, buddy. Valve will only offer a refund for paid mods within the first 24 hours, after which it suggests you "post politely on the Workshop item's page and let the mod author know" about your problems.
What do you guys think about this? The reaction on forums and online communities has been pretty negative, based mostly on the fact that Valve doesn't really have a good track record with customer service, and this initiative seems like it would generate a lot of complaints and requests.