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.