Valve now lets modders sell their content on Steam Workshop

By Shawn Knight ยท 17 replies
Apr 24, 2015
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  1. valve steam bethesda skyrim steam workshop mods modders monetization modding community paid mods tom bui

    One of the great things about gaming on the PC is the option to tinker. More often than not, it’s the modding community – not the original game developer – that’s responsible for taking an average game and transforming it into something spectacular (or simply adding in features that should have been included from the get-go).

    Aside from a bit of community recognition, modders often get nothing in return for their hours upon hours of hard work.

    Valve is looking to change that by adding new functionality to the Steam Workshop that affords modders the option to sell their creations directly to gamers.

    Valve’s Tom Bui said they think this is a great opportunity to help support the incredible creative work done by mod makers in the Steam Workshop. He adds that user-generated content is an increasingly significant component of many games and opening new avenues to help financially support contributors will drive the level of content to new heights.

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the first game to support paid mods. As of writing, there are nearly 20 paid mods up for sale ranging in price from $0.25 to $4.99.

    Reactions to the move haven’t exactly been favorable thus far. Many believe Valve has simply erected a paywall to mods and that modding is a hobby, not a career. Others, however, don’t seem to mind paying a few bucks in return for a quality mod that adds true value to the game.

    Personally, I’d be interested in hearing what modders have to say. Do they truly do it for the community or would they like to make some extra money for their hard work? And how do they feel about the revenue share (modders only get 25 percent of what each Skyrim mod sells for – publisher Bethesda gets the rest)?

    Permalink to story.

  2. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    That revenue share is completely backwards...
  3. This is a terrible idea.
  4. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    I'm leaning towards bad idea. It's not that I mind paying for something, but I think the modders are getting shafted.

    Also, I don't know how quality control works with this either. I would assume that there is some or anyone can post any poorly done mod for cash.
  5. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,377   +286

    Whoah, praising Valve few weeks back and now they put 25% payout share for modders? That is pathetic. I don't mind payed mods however 1) there will be greedy modders 2) lots of pointless or small mods might be premium.

    But 25%, that **** leeching Valve ...
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Why should Steam reap the rewards from the modders hard work? I don't blame modders wanting a few bob for their hard work but if they want to sell it through Steam then I guess you've gotta pay the piper. Steam will only inflate the price because they'll be the middleman.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,320   +1,412

    As someone who has modded the elder scrolls series extensively, I think this is a great idea! Me and a friend would mod together and we had well over 200 hours into an oblivion mod that we never finished. We had jobs that took priority and had to stop working on it. We always talked about trying go make money doing it. If we could have we might have made one of the largest mods on the nexus
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    From Steam's perspective there is no difference between the modders and the game developers. And you know what, I tend to agree with them. If the modders need help selling their talent, they should be willing to pay for the ad space. The only complaint I see is the fact that the price for ad space is not equal across the board for all mods (pay or free). If the free mods can be posted free of charge then so should the mods that have a price.
  9. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,319

    This is a great idea but it shold be limited. Now the modding community will become over saturated in size and people will make 100,000 stupid 50 cent godmode mods
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    The only problem with this program is the ridiculous revenue split. I understand modders with paid mods are effectively profiting off of Bethesda's work, but taking a 75% cut seems a bit steep for what's actually being done. 50/50 sounds much more reasonable.

    As for Valve erecting a pay wall... Hogwash. As much as I enjoy modding my PC games, gamers aren't entitled to the work of others. If a modder wants to put a price tag on his work, more power to him. Likewise, if a modder simply wants to toss additional content into the mix for free, good on him.
  11. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Maniac Posts: 244   +177

    Took me a second to realise that your last sentence isn't referring to that awful rapper. That was a confusing and distressing moment, I can tell you.
    davislane1 and ikesmasher like this.
  12. Captain828

    Captain828 TS Guru Posts: 287   +10

    I think this is a great thing that will hopefully entice the big publishers to provide modding support for their games, as so very few of them seem to have nowadays.

    There are however some points that people seem to overlook:

    1. This is not enforced! If you want to create a mod and make it free, then you are free to do so.

    2. Try creating a mod and then selling it for cash.
    9/10 times you will just get a straight "cease and desist" letter from the dev/publisher, which if you ignore you will be sued.
    I've even heard of modders being sued for just having donation links on their moddb pages and there are also extreme cases where you will get sued even if it's free (hint: Warhammer universe).

    3. In software, modding means modifying something that someone created who has intellectual rights for.
    I personally find it fair to ask (if you want) for a cut of your earnings that you make from something that I legally own rights to.

    Now I would personally rather make content free of charge than give 75% of my work to someone that did nothing to earn it BUT if you really want to make money as a modder, then you really don't have any other (legal) option available.

    EDIT: wanted to add two more things:
    1. the 75% was set by the publisher, not Valve
    2. the publisher of Skyrim is ZeniMax Media, who is very well-know to have asked $60 for purchasing an MMO on top of $15 a month :)
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  13. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 782   +235

    I think this is a terrible idea.
  14. Nick D

    Nick D TS Enthusiast Posts: 27

    Can't people just apply a mod outside of steam
  15. Xclusiveitalian

    Xclusiveitalian TS Evangelist Posts: 714   +75

  16. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 338   +202

    There sure has been an uproar about this. A lot of folks are up in arms.

    I for one see this as a pretty great thing. First of all, it's going to legitimize quite a few people in the modding community. It's going to put a little money in their pockets and it will inspire them to create more and better mods. I think anything that inspires kids to create anything is a good thing. Money is a helluva motivator. Allowing paid mods will give some folks the opportunity to quit their day jobs. You never know who the next Marcus Persson is gonna be.

    If there is a huge boon in newly created content available for PC games fueld by paid mods, it will help to increase the popularity of the platform. PC gaming looks to see a big benefit from this as far as I can see it. Should I buy the game on Xbox or should I buy it on PC where I can buy all kinds of new weapons, maps, etc... Allowing paid mods will draw the developers who no longer have to pay licensing fees to the likes of microsoft and playstation, nor have to deal with some of the fees associated with the bigger game engines. If I were a developer I think PC would be the most attractive offer with the lowest barrier to entry.

    If you think that it's going to cause a lot of mindless peddling of terrible content, I think you only have to look at the other marketplaces like the app store and android marketplace to find the truth. The cream will rise to the top. Sure there may end up being 10,000 stupid hats you can buy in Team Fortress 2, but only a couple dozen will actually get really popular. Only the top new maps will get a lot of attention. The best stuff will be rewarded with higher rankings and review and they'll be the ones you end up buying. You won't even have to worry about the bottom of the barrel stuff.

    I personally would not be all that bothered to give a few bucks here and there to the modders to get a new map or two. In fact, it would be pretty awesome and extend the life of some of my favorite games. I can't buy into the notion that somehow modding is this sacred cow that can't have money attached to it. The uproar about all this seems a little silly to me. The only thing I don't like is the 75/25 split, but it appears as though Valve has next to nothing to do with that percentage so It's only appropriate to direct the ire towards the Skyrim folks.
  17. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    A lot of the pushback comes from the fact that modding Skyrim is not like making a map or a hat or whatever for TF2 or DOTA 2 or CS.

    Skyrim mods can break the game (or at least your save) on their own or when combined with other mods and it might not be noticeable until after the 24-hour return window closes. It can be a crapshoot even with a mod-loading program and utilities like BOSS and Wrye Bash to get the load order right so it's up to the consumer to make sure that the mod they paid for even works. If you do get a refund, it goes into the Steam Wallet, so Valve gets your money regardless.

    Many of the popular mods fix bugs or improve things that probably should have been improved for the PC version, like the UI. Now the publisher can essentially make money from people fixing or optimizing their game. Valve and Bethesda also wash their hands completely of the responsibility for quality control or ensuring that these mods are legal in the first place. Mods often have parts of other mods, copyrighted material, or free for non-profit use in them and they can be put up for sale without a problem. It's up to the creators of those original assets to file a DMCA claim. This doesn't even get into the sticky subject of mod assets being made with pirated software.

    I'm not against the idea of modders making money for their work, but Skyrim was a poor choice. Its modding scene relies on a great deal of cooperation and sharing of knowledge & assets and even then there's drama. Adding money into the mix with zero warning (on a Friday) was just asking for trouble.
  18. Looking forward to the new category section of 'mods' on the torrent sites.
    Seriously though, just how stupid would you have to be to pay for a mod? 99% of them are so meh they aren't even worth getting when free or are quickly uninstalled due to them messing up some other game aspect. As Totalbiscuit said in his video, you will have no say or comeback when one mod breaks another or even if a game patch breaks the mod. The response will be, "tough ****".
    Even those mods which are really good are simply extending a games life you probably wouldn't have played again without the mod. If anything the modders should be paid by the companies for giving their game more shelf life imo.
    All you will be doing is funding Gabes pie addiction anyway.

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