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  • Phire
    Phire

    Valve Removes Steam Paid Mods

    2855579-skyrim1.jpg

     

    Modding games (adding or editing coding to alter game play) is nothing new, and independent publishers have been releasing their own mods for as long as many of us can remember. An overwhelming majority of user-made content has always been free, and for the ones that are not the money generally goes to support creator's ability to develop more. Recently Valve opened up a new ability within their online gaming store, Steam, for independent creators of mods to sell their works through Steam for 25% share in the market price. For the first time, user-made content could be sold through Steam at any set price of the creator. The option to leave their content free for download was still available as was the ability for buyers to request a refund inside of 24 hours. 

     

    "The option for paid MODs is supposed to increase the investment in quality modding, not hurt it. All of them were liberated to just do game development once they started getting paid. Working at Waffle House does not help you make a better game." 

    -Gabe Newell (Valve CEO)

     

    This change was met with huge controversy from both the gaming industry and the general gaming public at large. Surprisingly many of the complaints came from the modding community itself as content creators spoke out about their negative views on charging for mods. Gabe Newell, Founder and CEO of Valve received over 3,500 emails negatively addressing the Steam addition during a short flight up the coast soon after the changes were announced. Overwhelming members of the PC gaming community expressed their concerns about harming the free-distribution side of PC gaming and it's negative effects on the future of game pricing. Other complaints included the opinion that the creators would not receive enough for their content, as they were only given a fourth of the revenue, (in comparison, publishers in the Apple App Store receive 70% of the revenue), and the concern that mods would slowly become singularly Steam game compatible. The modding community has always been a free and open part of gaming, and many felt that Valve's addition to their gaming store was an attempt to control user-made content.

     

    Paid Mods were available in Steam for four days before the sheer amount of negative feedback caused Valve to remove it. Anyone who bought a mod during the four days is receiving a full refund.

     

    "We've done this because it's clear we didn't understand exactly what we were doing. We've been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they've been received well. It's obvious now that this case is different. Now that you've backed a dump truck of feedback onto our inboxes, we'll be chewing through that, but if you have any further thoughts let us know.-Valve Blog Post

     

     

     

     

    Sources:

    https://steamcommunity.com/games/SteamWorkshop/announcements/detail/208632365253244218

    http://www.gamespot.com/articles/valve-removes-paid-mods-from-steam/1100-6426931/

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-04-27-gabe-newell-responds-to-paid-for-mod-controversy

    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32493895


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    I dunno if anyone read his Reddit AMA but it was pretty interesting. He defended his choice to the letter. At the end of the day, though, Valve is a business just like any other. Businesses operate for profit. Gabe was losing money by the minute with this paid mod crap and he went back on it. As he very rightfully should have. 

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    IMO, Valve should have added some sort of "patron" idea for modders instead of "Full Paid" mods.  This way, if people enjoy the content of the mod, and want to help the modder make more mods, they can pitch in a couple dollars.

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    I can't express my utter joy when valve removed the paid mods, I don't buy a game to spend $$$ on mods, also I am surprised they could do this in the first place, I thought that the makers of the workshop games wouldn't like people making money off of thier thing.

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    I think the mod creators should get something for their work. Maybe a Patron idea like Shawkill mentioned. Some of these modders make very good mods that may carry a game further than the original game may have gone. Possibly the game developer could throw some money their way to show the appreciation.

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    IMO, Valve should have added some sort of "patron" idea for modders instead of "Full Paid" mods.  This way, if people enjoy the content of the mod, and want to help the modder make more mods, they can pitch in a couple dollars.

     

     

    I think the mod creators should get something for their work. Maybe a Patron idea like Shawkill mentioned. Some of these modders make very good mods that may carry a game further than the original game may have gone. Possibly the game developer could throw some money their way to show the appreciation.

    The problem even with a patreon system is that the mods will still be currency locked to those whom do not have the spare amount of cash to pay for the "pateron only" options of the mod, as with every patreon subscription those whom are not get sweet fuck all. Which is entirely counter to what modding has been about since the dawn of PC game modding, in fact most game Devs have something in their TOS about not being permitted to make money off of their game in any way shape or form.

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    This is a mixed a fruit, and Valve's own business model prior to becoming the monster that is Steam was all about 'giving' things to the gaming community. Originally this idea would have been good for modders, who in some cases, spend more time making mods or correcting issues with the developers RTMs than the actual developers do or did.  Take a look at the unofficial Elder Scroll's patches sometime. The amount of stuff these guys correct, and spend time looking for has to be more than the sum of all our time in the games we play. Counterstrike, was originally a 'Mod' that now costs money to partake.  Mind you, it's not super expensive but the direction the industry is moving is all about getting more from gamers wallets, by withholding DLC and 'mods' at the time of release; or creating inordinate amounts of micro transactions that help keep capital moving into the game. It's unfortunate in some ways, that Steam being such a large distribution platform would have definitely been a good way to help get modders some extra coin for their efforts.  

     

    On the other hand, modders use their free wares often as part of resumes to get in the door with prospective gaming companies. It's like the 'internship' of gaming. I can see why charging for them goes against the grain of what the community has largely grown used to. 

     

    However, gamers, like artists are often starving so free is still tough to beat.

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