As of yesterday, Valve has adapted its policy towards game mods made available through its game distribution platform Steam, allowing creators to charge for mods, with Valve taking a whopping 75% of generated revenue from sales.
However, the first for-profit mod for Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been removed from sale on Steam Workshop within 24 of being made available. The mod, offered by Steam user Chesko, contained assets created by Fore’s New Idles mods. Fore objected to his assets being charged for and, after contacting Chesko, the mod was taken down and customers were refunded.
Mass Effect modder FilthyCasual, a firm opponent of paywalled mods, has criticised the move by Valve on his blog, branding it a failure on every level:
“First, Valve, you have now made “modder” a dirty word here on the steam forums almost overnight. Thanks a bunch. You have now divided PC consumers and modders, when we used to be a pretty tight bunch.
Second, I now see mods going up that are little tiny swords and whatnot going up for sale. Bundles already that cost more than the game itself. In other words, I am concerned about a complete influx of mods that are completely useless and tiny and unsupported and updated, just because of money-grabbers who want a piece of the pie.
Third, this leads to microtransaction hell. Hell for consumers, and a deluge of stuff to compete against for us modders. This isn’t healthy competition. It is gonna be cutthroat. Thanks again for taking the fun out of it.
Fourth, there will be inevitable stealing of other’s people’s content and then selling it as their own. Some may claim that because they modified another mod’s content, they now have created their own mod and are free to sell. I disagree. They are making money at the expense of others.
Fifth, you have a “return policy,” if it is even worth of the name, that is full of holes. First, 24hrs isn’t much time to test if a mod will glitch out or not. Ever heard of a standard 14 or 30 day return policy? Let’s say a consumer buys a mod, then one week later the modder releases an update. This update has a bug, and the game crashes or glitches out. Then let’s say, for whatever reason (even a good one. Like real life got in the way) the modder doesn’t release an update to fix the bug. Before today, big deal. You could either uninstall the mod or revert to a previous version. Given it was free, most people wouldn’t complain too much. But NOW, a consumer will likely be stuck with a useless piece of software they paid good money for. Software that now is worth zilch. They will be, understandably, really upset, with no way to get their money back.
Lastly, you, Valve, are likely hurting good, legal sites like Nexus Mods as some greedy people take their mods, or the “premium versions” off the site in favor of posting to the Steam Workshop.”
It’s hard to disagree with FilthyCasual. It feels like a money-grab from all sides, especially Valve, who take the majority of revenue for merely acting as a vendor. That’s not to say that a paid platform for mods can never work, but Valve’s current effort leaves a lot to be desired.
Thank you Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of HDW.