Valve needlessly fractured the modding community

29 Apr

Skyrim Mod DeathWow, that was quick. The negative backlash over paid mods was so huge that it forced the hand of Valve almost overnight. Anyone that purchased paid mods is being refunded and Valve is having to sit in the corner and think about what they did. The crazy part thing about this that it didn’t have to become a shit storm. Valve simply didn’t do their homework and they blindsided the community with the concept of paid mods.

Let’s be clear; I’m not a modder nor extensively modded any of my games, but I’ll all for modders getting paid for the work they do. If they do good work, yeah, pay them. If they are adding depth and intrigue to a game, they should definitely be making a living.Gerry Rich

I know I probably went over this in my last post, but part of Valve’s failure was the lack initial of oversight. The possibility of me-too skins and obvious rip-offs flooding the marketplace was a huge detractor even if it was only at the beginning.

I will also modify my position on donations. Given the choice between getting something for free and paying for it, no matter the quality, most people will go with free and I admit that I’m one of them. I can see how the argument about simply having a donate button doesn’t really address the issue. As example, from Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson: “The teams behind mega-mods like SkyUI—who came out of pseudo-retirement at the promise of a payday—are on the fence about what happens next. Creator Mardoxx_ noted that previous versions of SkyUI generated less than $500 in donations over four years, and that they simply don’t have the time to do this stuff for free like they did when they were younger.” Yeah, $500 for four years of work is not

There are some modders/pro-modder users they have posited that the angry mob killed the only viable way of modders to get paid. Complete BS. Yes, paid mods through the Stream Workshop would have made it more manageable and easier to control, but it’s not the only way to get paid. I may be oversimplifying this, but put the mod behind a paywall if you want to get paid. Modders threatening to pull, pulling or not even releasing mods feels like an overreaction. If you made mods for yourself, great. If you made mods for you and your friends, also great. If you made mods to gain exposure, great. If you made mods to get paid, also great. But to bring your work to the table and then huffily take them away…

Did Valve have a good idea? Absolutely! Did they have good intentions? I don’t know. Was the idea implemented well? Absolutely not. I can definitely see how Valve backing burgeoning modders would be beneficial to all parties. But the customers fought back.

Part of the fight may have centered around the notion that mods that use to be free now cost something, but focusing solely on that aspect ignores the rest of the argument. Many players, myself included, were incredulous about the funding split. Why would Valve and Bethesda get more money than the person that created the mod? All Valve would do, from what was implied, is host the content and handle the payments. Bethesda’s made the core game and the tools. But the modder would be doing most of the work. So why would customers want to pay either Valve or Bethesda more? Why not a 50-30-20 split or 60-20-20. I think most of us would want to pay the modder more than Valve or Bethesda but we may have even been inclined to the initial split if it was newer Bethesda game..

The anger I felt wasn’t against modders, but against Valve and Bethesda. Any current hatred toward modders is unwarranted. Most are doing it for the love of the game. Why is it wrong for them to want to get paid for good work?



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