People Can Now Charge Money For Game Mods On Steam

People Can Now Charge Money For Game Mods On Steam

Generally speaking, PC game mods are free. Steam, however, just added an option to let creators charge for them. This is pretty huge.

Picture: Jimo's Lamda Locator mod

Valve made the announcement with a new Steam page, adding that Skyrim is the first game that will support the ability to charge for player-made modifications via Steam Workshop. Unlike in games like TF2 or DOTA 2, this setup allows mod makers to make their own store listings and set their own prices, sans Valve's immediate oversight. Valve explained:

"Steam now offers new functionality in the Steam Workshop, allowing community mod makers the opportunity to earn money doing what they love. With this update, community-made Workshop content such as mods, items, or maps can now be made available for sale directly via the Steam Workshop for titles that have enabled this feature."

"Workshop is now putting mod authors in business via a new streamlined process for listing, selling and managing their creations. Creators contributing to the Steam Workshop have the choice of listing their new creations for sale at a price of their choosing, or to continue to make their work available to players for free. Mods purchased from the Steam Workshop are available immediately for play."

You can browse through a selection of paid Skyrimmods already on offer here.

If you're worried, however, that mum 'n' pop mod shops might not be as universally reliable as games or creations that have gotten Valve's seal of approval, fear not: there's a 24-hour refund policy. If a mod's broken or doesn't work as promised, you can get your money back so long as you click a mod's "get refund" button within that brief window of time.

Given the amount of work some mod makers put into their characters, levels, and stunning 100-story recreations of Gabe Newell's menacing grin, it makes sense that they should be able to get a little cash for their efforts. Valve's been pushing user-created content pretty hard over the past few years, and some people are already able to support themselves off that alone, receiving money from Valve for items in games like TF2, Counter-Strike, and DOTA 2. To date, Valve has paid out over $US57 million to creators.

People Can Now Charge Money For Game Mods On Steam

This, however, marks the first time that Steam Workshop creators will be able to directly set their own prices. If all goes according to plan, this will allow even more people to support themselves -- at least, in part -- off making additions to pre-existing games. As per usual, however, Valve's system is pretty open-ended, so I wouldn't be surprised to see people take advantage of it -- maybe post outrageous prices, or try to sell somebody else's content, or do something that verges on copyright infringement -- in the early goings.

It will also be interesting to see how this market shakes out. What, for instance, will become the standard price for, say, a weapon pack versus an entire quest line or expansion? And how will the free mod market be impacted? What will people decide to give away for free now that getting paid is a much more viable option than in the past? It's a bold new frontier, or at least a potentially interesting one. It could even be damaging, if you look at things from a pessimistic angle (Free things now cost money? Mod makers only take 25 per cent of the profit while big companies rake in the rest? Etc.)

Now I don't mean to be rude, but I really should be going. I have a horse armour market to corner, and I need to figure out how to turn My Little Pony into My Little Pony, if you know what I mean. (I mean creatively renaming everything and declaring all eerie similarities entirely coincidental.)


    how about asking bethesda for a comment seeing as they are the only ones who can legally say yes to allow this

      From the FAQ:
      Q. Can I sell the mods I’ve made for other games in the Steam Workshop?
      A. It is up to the developers or publisher of each game to decide if paid Workshop mods are appropriate for their game. You will only be able to sell mods for a game in the Steam Workshop if the developers have enabled that functionality.

      I would assume, given the answer to this FAQ question, that Bethesda has approved this for Skyrim at least. It would also explain why no other games support it currently (Valve working on getting approval for other games).

    Repeat after me:
    I am free

    Last edited 24/04/15 8:21 am

      Wet and Cold 2.0? Not on Nexus. Nexus only has 1.49. If you want the update then the only place to get it is from behind the new Workshop paywall.

      I love the breadth and depth of Nexus' range, their community tools and number of authors, their inter-linking for showing dependencies, and the Nexus mod-manager.

      I hate that it doesn't auto-update through Steam like the Workshop does, I hate that mods are divided between Nexus/Workshop versions, I hate that Nexus is so heavily flooded and ratings aren't indicative of what a casual might think of the mod but what jaded veterans do.

    This is dangerously dumb...

      I dunno. If I spent 3 years making an awesome mod for a game, a little compensation could go a long way.

        Yes but you don't have a right to monetise mods. This is why they've been free for the last forever. It also means the community can no longer use licensable properties as the subject of mods without coming under increased scrutiny by the holders, even if they are still free (that spotlight).

        This move IS fraught with danger.

          You do have the right to monetise mods if the owner of what your modding gives you the right. This is bethesda saying, 'go ahead make the mods, make some money, just give us our piece'. They did of course make the platform for the mod. And Valve made the platform to distribute it.

          As an aside, I'm very surprised people seem to be assuming, (unless its been stated somewhere), that the split is just between Valve and the modder. And not also the game dev. Theres no way Zenimax/bethesda aren't seeing a good portion, likely most of the 75% that the modder isn't.

        That's not the problem, the problem is that modding has mostly been tolerated by IP copyright holders because there has been no money in it, now that it is being profited from, it might cause issues. Plus Valve is taking 75% of the cut per sale, that is a lot of money for merely hosting the content. And tbh, alot of mods conflict or break, if you have paid for something, and then it breaks next patch and never gets fixed, do you get a refund? Who is accountable? What if you buy two mods that can't work together? All of this wasn't an issue when it was free, now that people are charging it becomes a customer service nightmare.

          P.S. I think modders deserve compensation for there time and effort, but this is a bad implementation.

            Modders do deserve something *if their mod is good and if they've done more than just reskin something* but yes, this isn't the way to go about it. 75% of the revenue going back to Steam? Ridiculous. Makes it seem like nothing but a desperate cashgrab on the level of Nintendos YouTube monetisation policies.

            Last edited 24/04/15 8:34 am

              "The percentage of Adjusted Gross Revenue that you are entitled to receive will be determined by the developer/publisher" and "Valve will remit payment of any revenue share to which you are entitled in accordance with directions from the applicable Publisher, and in accordance with Valve’s payment procedures" from the website. Bethesda's taking most of it

                Well that's definitely a lot better I guess, I'd prefer the dev to get the bulk of it. But at the same time, I still think this is going to harm the modding community to a degree. Not so much the people making the mods, but the people who utilise the mods.

          It happens with their permission and they get a cut of the sales, that's why only Skyrim has this feature as of yet.

    Great thing to encourage more mod development, consequently we will see an awful lot of unsupported poor quality crap. I am all for talented people making a living.

    It will be interesting to see how the major publishers react to this. Most haven't been too fond of mods to begin with, let alone if people can now start making money off their titles (unless they get a piece of the pie?).
    I'd hate to see this resulting in less modding support for games

      Ooh yeah. Once money comes into play publishers will start to take notice and action.
      I guess it will only work on games with official modding support and official permission to monetize it.

    24 hours seems narrow. End-game bugs will lead to shit-storms.

    Interesting move. And a good one ultimately imo.
    It might mean that mods that are just small tweaks/changes die off a bit as people try to charge for them and nobody wants to fork over for stuff that trivial.
    But the big, significant stuff that a ton of work goes into and really extends the life of a game? Yeah, people should be able to get paid for that work.

    Might even see the rise of more formal mod-making syndicates or "companies" of modders.

    So it's not really a mod anymore is it now? It's more like DLC, paid DLC. Mods are meant to be free.

    I'm not a fan, but I bet the creators will be happy now. I don't think they'll be getting as much downloads of they use to.

    My opinion: while it absolutely could bring far better user created content than is currently seen on steam workshop-there is this little pessimist inside of me screaming for a soap box:

    Yes-for mods that have undergone a large development cycle that has taken a notable amount of time and is of good quality: I believe payment to the developer of the mod is a good reward and hopefully incentive to continue making mods of equal quality. In that situation this is never a bad thing.

    BUT there's going to be a large amount of modders who are going to produce mods that don't add anything meaningful to the games and still charge too much money for very little comparative effort to the mods that are high quality. Then there is valve taking 75% of the money. So far I haven't seen any word as to how much of that 75% goes to Bethesda- who have more right than Valve to take the lions share of that 75%.

    I also worry this will have a significant effect on other morning communities, possibly giving valve a monopoly on the modding community

      I haven't actually seen anything that says the creator only gets 25% other than what Grayson said in the article body and I'm not sure that wasn't just an example.
      Is there anywhere that gives a breakdown of the revenue share?

        my sources are youtube critics:

        yep, this may just be a joke mod- but I find it super unfunny

        maybe I should just go and download the kill gaben mod for FREE and use that to vent some of the frustations from the inner optimist in me

        Last edited 24/04/15 8:17 pm

    I give to YOU great WARRIOR! These Gifts from AKATOSH!!!... That'll be $1.49 my son.

    For stuff like Falskaar, yes, for minor mods? Not sure sure if this is wise. Not sure why Skyrim would be the first game though, I thought most people use the Nexus Mod Manager to mod it rather than Steam.

    I'll laugh if Square Enix games make the list though given their love of allowing people to make money off the back of their games

    Last edited 24/04/15 12:30 pm

      It's one of the most popular games to mod on steam, it uses Steam Workshop, not Nexus. Nexus was stopped with FO:NV.

        NMM is still being updated regularly and new mods still popping up on there and new games like ESO are supported through it. It's easier to manage mods than through Steam as well as being able to resolve any mod conflicts too

          I dunno, I find Steamworkshop to be the easiest to manage mods with, one click and its done.

            There is that ease of using the workshop that way, but if you're loading up lots of mods you really need to know which order to install them before you do anything otherwise you can write over the wrong mod quite easily.

            If they start charging on Steam though, it'll be interesting if people start charging on 3rd party mod sites

              Thats a fantastic point, order of loading has definitely affected my mods in the past. Also, if we're paying for mods, do we have the right to demand more regular updates and better support and quality from them?

    Not a fan of this idea. 24 hours is not nearly long enough to determine if a mod has caused bugs, isn't working or won't work with a patch later on.
    Most mods are utter rubbish and either cause conflicts with the game files, each other or are simply not that entertaining after a couple plays.
    How about they just provide a donate button for mods? For massive mods, the publishers should be promoting them, like Bethesda putting OOO on their website.

      Not to mention that a lot of mods are works in progress sometimes over the space of a year or two after they've been released before they're finally finished.

      When I first read this I thought it was going to be like a donate button.

    Dependencies and conflicts between mods are going to be a LOT more important now, and a lot knottier.

    "This mod is free! But its dependencies aren't."
    "This mod you bought conflicts with that other mod, but we didn't know about it until that other one updated. Pity you're past your refund date."

    This is a disgusting move by valve it's nothing more than money grab. If its really about supporting the modders they would of just added a donate button or take leas of the cut. Come on 75% cut for doing nothing.

    Yeah, screw this. Mods are meant to be free, it's by hobbyists, it's like arts and crafts. Somebody gives you the tools and you tinker. I mean what's the difference between a mod and full game then? Aren't all those Unreal Engine games just mods of Unreal by that point? If you want to get paid to make mods then seek some donations, or actually y'know, work for/under license of the original game creators as developers who will be fully endorsed, fully supported product making and selling entities.

      so because I love fixing computers and have made a hobby into a job- I should be operating from donations only and not be on a pay roll? I believe that mod makers do deserve to ask for money- just like I do my employers for my job- however if the mod is NOT adding significant positive changes to the game and is not being regularly improved/updated should issues arise- I will not be spending my money. Nor will I spend a single cent on mods that are aesthetic or followers

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