Topic of the Week: Could paid mods ever work on the Steam Workshop? | PCGamesN

Topic of the Week: Could paid mods ever work on the Steam Workshop?

Topic of the Week: Paid mods

Last night, Valve announced that it would be removing paid mods from the Skyrim Workshop. The experiment was short lived and divisive, with Valve acknowledging that they didn’t really know what they were doing. But Valve’s been working on this for at least two years, which makes it hard to believe that paid mods on the Steam Workshop are gone for good. 

So for our Topic of the Week, we want to know if you think paid mods could ever work, and if so, how? What would make you comfortable with their inclusion in the Workshop? Let us know in the comments. 

I’ll get the ball rolling. 

I think that premium mods are incompatible with the philosophy of mods that's developed thanks to decades of free content. I personally don’t care if a modder wants to sell their creations (though I’d never buy one because the lack of quality control and the likelihood of compatibility issues make them dodgy investments) but I don’t see how Valve are going to be able to sell mod users on the concept. “Here’s a thing that was once free and now costs money” is a shitty sales pitch.  

The main argument for paid mods is that it supports the modders. It’s not about buying a product, but helping a creator out. In the case of the Skyrim mods, though, the modders were getting very little, while Bethesda took the biggest share, but not so big that it made any difference to them. 

If it really is just about supporting the modders, then Patreon and donations seem like a much more transparent way to go about things. It might not earn a modder as much, but then it really is just about support, rather than selling something of indeterminate value. 

Alright, enough from me. Do you think paid mods could ever work on the Steam Workshop?

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[PWNY] Fluttersnipe avatarhuldu avatarMackles avatarTovias avatarMountain_Man avatarShriven avatar+2
huldu Avatar
2 Years ago

It's a huge difference in quality from a person who creates a mod made out from the love of the game compared to someone who creates it to make some money. This is why I seriously doubt "pay2play" mods aren't going to work in the long run. Of course you'll have a few mods that stands out from the rest in quality, but overall it's going to create a feeling of degradation of the game itself. I think minecraft is a perfect example. You don't need to charge people for your mods, if people like them they will make donations to you.

Shriven Avatar
2 Years ago

What made this worse for them is retroactively applying it to a title. If this was for a brand new game, I think the whole thing would have been a none event.

[PWNY] Fluttersnipe Avatar
2 Years ago

They went too big too fast. Elder scrolls has a long tradition of mods for free with the option of donating money through nexus to the authors. They bit off way more than they could chew by jumping onto such a large community.

Elder scrolls should have been end game.

Mackles Avatar
2 Years ago

Isn't an important question whether people who are not content creators should even have a say on this topic? Beyond voting with their wallets.

Mountain_Man Avatar
2 Years ago

Sure, paid mods could work as soon as gamers get over this misplaced notion that they have a moral right to free mods. Why shouldn't mod creators seek compensation for their work?


"But Bethesda is taking a larger cut than the mod creator!" Well, isn't that between Bethesda and the mod creator? If nobody is putting a gun to their head, and they willingly put their mod up for sale under those terms then I don't see where there's a problem.


"If I'm paying for mods then I expect a minimum level of quality!" Fair enough, but who's job is it to make sure mods meet a minimum standard before they're put up for sale? Do we expect GameStop to ensure the quality of each game they sell? No, so why should we expect Valve or Bethesda to ensure the quality of third-party work that they have no control over? As long as there's a reasonable refund policy in place that protects consumers then I think word of mouth would be sufficient to keep quality in check.


In summary, yes, I think paid mods could work, and they could probably work quite well with the right system in place.

Kingslayer Avatar
2 Years ago

Valve's refund system for games is abysmal, to the point where legal action has been taken against them in several countries. Honestly, tell me how likely you think a “fair” refund system is going to appear for mods, something that can break easily and at any time due to updates and mod conflicts, when Valve can't even produce a fair refund system for games?

Belimawr Avatar
2 Years ago

some mods should be able to charge, but then you make it so all mods can go pay you devalue a lot of the mods and make the entire system worthless.


really the better solution would be for the developers to pick out higher quality mods and officially licence them as user made DLC, this way the high quality mods get the recognition they deserve, other modders can still charge through third parties (as they do now) but it still leaves the modding world open with the majority of smaller ones remaining free.


but as soon as you make it easy for every mod to become a paid mod in the main place people will get mods from all you will do is saturate the market, good mods will get buried, in games like skyrim where people run a boat load of mods people will be put off using them as if you think if in skyrim you have 50 small mods and each of them goes for $2 thats a quick extra $100 on the price of the game.


in a perfect world everyone would be compensated for their work, but with mods the main games that use them use that many it's just not really possible to start charging for every mod without making a lot of people ignore a lot more mods as people will start only going for the "must have" mods making the majority of them redundant ultimately discouraging low level modders who could become the next big indie dev.

Tovias Avatar
2 Years ago

Work? It sure can. Anything can work if enough morons support it, and what Valve has plenty is blind supporters.

The real question is, it is the best for the community? I don't believe so.

Money corrupts anything, modding is no different.

Just like you said, if you want to support someone, allow them to start Patreons, look at the Ex-SimCity guy, that's nice, why not allow modders do that instead of drowing them with cease and desist?