Steam paid mods still under consideration at Valve: "We screwed things up in the details" | PCGamesN

Steam paid mods still under consideration at Valve: "We screwed things up in the details"

Steam paid mods

You can count Valve’s public mistakes on the fingers of one hand, but behind each is a story of deep unrest on our fair platform. The most recent saw the studio introduce paid mods to the Skyrim Steam Workshop, with the aim of allowing the most talented modders to work full-time on their creations if they wanted to. But they inadvertently plunged a community into civil war, and pulled the experiment from Steam just a few days later. At the time, Valve admitted they “didn’t understand exactly what we were doing”.

Now, they’re talking about some of the lessons they’ve learned. And how they might implement paid mods a second time with those mistakes in mind.

Want to spice up vanilla for free? Here are the 100 best Skyrim mods.

Speaking to Steamed’s Nathan Grayson, Valve business head Erik Johnson seemed convinced that there remained a good idea buried beneath the furore earlier this year.

“Robin [Walker] made Team Fortress when he was seven-years-old or two or something, in the bush in Australia with no electricity. On paper,” he said. “If you ask Robin in passing, ‘What do you think about people being able to pay for mods,’ his reaction is gonna be like, ‘That’s awesome! I wish I had that option before I was a professional working at Valve. I wanted to pay bills and have a customer base.’”

Of course, Valve “screwed things up in the details”. Johnson remembers the launch as one of the worst weekends he’s had working at Valve - spent picking through comments about the company’s perceived betrayal. He now thinks that Valve made a terrible mistake in picking Skyrim as their testbed, with its long-established community and complicated combo mods.

In the future, it seems possible they might begin that process again with one of their own games - where, through stickers in Counter-Strike or items sets in Dota, community figures are already making money.

“Our customers are more familiar with us and the way we work,” said Walker. “I think they understand our thinking.”

Valve still believe that compensating users for their work is important - so it’s unlikely that paid mods are entirely in the past. How would you like to see them integrated?

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Fattox avatarNinja Fried Rice avatarTovias avatarDaniel Mtanous - USA avatar
Fattox Avatar
2 Years ago

To me it feels like Valve are more interested in getting a chunk of change for themselves and the devs/publisher, who'll also (presumably) still take a cut.

People have been making mods for many years, mostly for free. I know aspiring game-dev friends who have done it for experience, fun, portfolio content, etc. Their motivation was not driven by money.

I think if you introduce the chance to make money, we'll see more low quality mods with people trying to cash-in (as with many indie/early access games). And many of the devs who would have otherwise made their mods free, in my opinion, will think "why not". Why not make some cash on something they would have released for free anyway.

Not that there's anything wrong with seizing an opportunity like that. I'm all for people getting paid for their efforts. But in this case it feels more like big business is sticking their rancid foot in to the well and poisoning the waters.

I'm probably biased, since i'm a consumer and not a dev. I'd be interested to know how some actual modders feels about it all. But, was anyone actually asking for this, other than maybe companies like Bethesda?

Ninja Fried Rice Avatar
2 Years ago

I hate to sound like a hipster I really do but when something just feels so true it's hard not to say it. The videogame industry has gotten to big. Everybody's looking to monetize every aspect every little piece they can. You said it well. Business is a cold festering corpse that is sucking the life out of are wonderful oasis.

Daniel Mtanous - USA Avatar
2 Years ago

Sounds like liability exempt employees. No need to pay their ACA or file them under taxes and all that other stuff...

Ninja Fried Rice Avatar
2 Years ago

I get a sick and angry feeling whenever I think about paid mods. I don't really know why. If somebody create something they should have the right to sell it. But paying for mods just seems like a perversion of their meaning, their whole existence. To me a mod is something driven by passion. A person or a group of people get together to create something for others that share a love for that game. I guess this is just another thing that makes me nostalgic for the past. Much like the new tomb Raider game having 300 pieces of paid DLC.

A world that has paid to win micro-transactions, $60 season passes, and enormous amounts of paid DLC. I don't want a mod marketplace.

Tovias Avatar
2 Years ago

Absolutely disgusting.

I remember Gaben's comment on reddit and I can only think that they will force their way with paid mods one way or another, no stopping the greed of companies.