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Valve kills Steam's paid mods feature after receiving strong criticism

By Scorpus ยท 23 replies
Apr 27, 2015
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  1. Just four days ago, Valve launched a feature that allowed mod creators to sell their content through the Steam Workshop, a decision which drew strong criticism from gamers that previously had access to all mods for free. Today, Valve acknowledged that wasn't the right move, and has removed the option to sell mods from Steam.

    Valve says they pulled the feature because "it's clear we didn't understand exactly what we were doing." Anyone who purchased a mod through the Steam Workshop will receive a full refund, and all mods for the only affected game (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim) have returned to being free.

    Valve had hoped that by allowing creators to sell mods through Steam, the quality of mods overall would have increased. However this wasn't quite the case, with many creators publishing mods that protested against paid mods, which quickly became some of the most popular.

    The company has since acknowledged that "stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating."

    Two of the more controversial aspects of Steam's paid mods feature haven't been addressed by Valve. Some users had complained that mods were being sold without the creator's consent, while others were annoyed that 75 percent of mod revenue went directly to Valve. Of course now that the feature has been canned entirely, it's unlikely Valve will explain their reasoning behind these decisions.

    Although Valve believes they "[missed] the mark pretty badly" with the original rollout of paid mods, the company hasn't entirely closed the door on the feature. They believe "there's a useful feature somewhere here", and whether or not that will lead to a rethought and revamped version of the paid mods system remains to be seen.

    Permalink to story.

  2. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,437   +862

  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,618   +2,353

    First off, how could Valve even get away with doing this legally? In the past almost everyone who has tried to monetize third party content for games has been sued by the publishers. There's no way Valve could've gotten them to go along with it unless there was a secret revenue-sharing scheme with Bethesda and other companies. That alone would be reason enough to protest the selling of content that was originally provided for FREE by modders.
    spectrenad, H3llion and SantistaUSA like this.
  4. SantistaUSA

    SantistaUSA TS Addict Posts: 106   +27

    Those were exactly my thoughts and I get the feeling some companies got in touch with them stating they would be required to share the profits.
  5. @psycros @SantistaUSA I've sensed another problem besides what you guys mentioned. What about paid mods made with free modding tools?
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +3,183

    The mods are made with free modding tools. The creation kit is provided free with purchase of the game and in no instance is the user warned about publisher fees.

    The only reason Skyrim still sells for so much is because of all the mods. If it wasn't for the PC modding community, they would not make a fraction of what they do.

    Valve failed because of not only the impending legal issues but also because of the insulting amount of money they were offering to modders. You get 25% and in return they get 75% (between valve and bethesda), distribution rights, and most importantly free publicity. Not only are you working for pennies but you are building upon their own success, not yours.

    I don't expect any but the biggest of mods to really make much money either. All the guys making niche mods would have made nothing because they aren't trying to appeal to a large audience like SkyUI and Midas Magic (Which by the way, implemented pay me screens thanks to steam workshop). Of course, I'm a niche mod maker, so I'm a bit biased.

    Speaking for myself, modding isn't about the money. It's just great to see that I can fix and improve upon a game I like.
  7. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    I would hope they canned this silly idea, the only ones who could've really benefited from it money wise would've been Steam themselves with the modder getting a bit of a chop and the gamer seeing their butts without the help of a mirror.. Greedy pigs.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,877

    This is borderline to telling an Auto Paint Shop, they can't make money changing the factory color of an automobile. And if they do a high percentage of the profit belongs to the maker of the automobile.
  9. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 3,917   +1,156

    I think it was an 'interesting' experiment and I am glad somebody tried to do 'something'. Mods are fun, but I find the process of finding and installing more than a bit strained.

    Who made the mod? Is it malware free? Does it work properly? How do I install it correctly? Some of the sites devoted to mods help greatly, but I am still uncertain about how my concerns are addressed.

    I would have strongly supported a Steam implementation which addressed ALL of my issues. Having this on Steam would have dovetailed with my library and made things easier.

    It didn't.
  10. What are you even talking about? A "secret revenue-sharing scheme with Bethesda"? They did have a revenue-sharing scheme but it was never secret.


    It is simply astonishing how people will not even perform a Google search to find out the truth anymore. And without getting into this argument too much, the mods might have been provided for free but it is sill Bethesda's IP. The whole thing went in ridiculous ways but the part where Bethesda should get some of the revenue (maybe not 45%) is not really crazy.
  11. You know what IS crazy? The fact that Bethesda would have no incentive to fix the load of bugs that comes with every Elder Scrolls release, because mods like USKP and SkyUI would do it for them, and they would still get even more money out of the sale of those mods/fixes.
    The simple fact that USKP needs to exist is already a problem on its own.
  12. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,142   +1,304

    I somewhat disagree.
    Valve is allowing it on their platform.
    THEY own it, not the modders.

    Sure, modders do all the work (sometimes modding games isn't that hard with todays tools anyways), but thats like saying a car salesman should get a crazy amount of the sale because he sold a car by himself. The only reason that buyer came to that dealership is because of its size and reputation, not the measly seller, regardless of how much work he did to sell the car.
    Heck, maybe he totally convinced someone but that still doesn't change the fact he is working under someone's already established and popular business.
    He shouldn't get crap unless he is selling under his own business.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  13. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +3,183

    Using your analogy, as the car salesman are modders, consider that the one's making the cars are now the car salesmen. The Skyrin car dealership doesn't get any new cars anymore and relies entirely on the cars made by it's salesman. Not only is the publicity of said dealership reliant on the salesmen but the dealership is also taking a large proportion of the sales while leaving scraps for the people who essentially do everything for it. If you ask me, the dealership should be at least charged a reasonable amount for cars that it is provided with.
  14. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,142   +1,304

    But the salesman are still not making the cars. They are using an a car already made to produce a spinoff, still sold at the dealership.

    I see your point but it all comes down to ownership, that's business.
    The modder is mooching off a successful entity to make himself money, how much work he puts into it is absent the point.
  15. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +3,183

    I would say it's the other way around, Bethesda is mooching off the success of the modders. There's a reason Skyrim still sells for $40 and it has nothing to do with the base game.

    Just because people take something and make it their own doesn't mean they are mooching off the original creator. Personally, I prefer French fries in America over the originals. Should I feel bad that the original creators don't get a cut on every spin-off of the idea?
  16. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,761   +632

    A chance for the modders to make some money. A pantload of..... I want it for free crybabies.....

    Just shows ya the mindset of your generation
  17. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,294   +1,748

    This was just an experiment done by Valve with the strong cooperation of Bethesda. Otherwise Bethesda wouldn't be asking for 45% of the revenue.
  18. It's like the guys at #FunHaus said, Once you monetize mods, Valve would start getting sued left and right because of copyright infringement and trademark violations from the modders using other content within it (Iron Man in GTA IV was their example) and Valve getting 75% of whatever revenue is generated from it.
    How did no one in GabeTown think of that one?
  19. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,362   +605

    I'm sure there would be provisions in the sign up agreements with the modders to mitigate such issues.
  20. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,142   +1,304

    While I am sure Bethesda are intrigued, they don't give a crap about kiddy modders making one-off's from their game; Skyrim was a great game before it became modded. The moochers are the modders, regardless of what they create or how much money it makes.

    And just to be clear, I am not saying the modders shouldn't get something (or a certain percentage) for their work.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  21. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TS Evangelist Posts: 2,151   +588

    Well I am one of those people against paid mods unless they offer something real decent. I feel some of the ones just in the screenshot are not worth a cent as they can be made by anyone in a short period of time while some could take months of work to accomplish.

    I guess this idea from Valve did bug me, however I do not see modders getting some small sum if they make a great expansive mod not a bad thing.
  22. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 3,917   +1,156

    Pretty much agree. I thought the real concept was for really major mods - like a 'full makeover' - which the public would see as having solid value. Priced at $12-$15, the owner of the engine, IP and tools would get a chunk, the software library maintainer/deliverer/accountant would get a chunk, and the maker of the specific mod stuff would get a chunk. Where it fails really badly is when the mod is a 'new hat' and the mod maker prices above reality (anything more than 2 cents) - a chunk of little is next to nothing - and not worth $2 as some were priced.

    This needs an orderly marketplace to sort it out. I'm thankful to Steam for trying it out.
  23. gingerbill

    gingerbill TS Addict Posts: 233   +59

    I don't think the idea in itself was so bad , I don't think it was some evil plan to steal money from us.

    It might have gone down better starting off with a donate button that encouraged and made it easy to donate , say from steam wallet. Or even a pay what you like including zero option. Giving the modder 25% just didn't sound right , I think valve and Bethesda would be entitled to something but the number didn't seem fair.

    I would assume most people would agree providing modding tools and steam workshop will cost a company time and money but they are then rewarded by better sales and a good reputation with gamers.

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