Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone

Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone

The era of paid Steam mods ended almost as quickly as it began. Some people are pleased. Others are even more upset than they were before.

It is often the moments after the indecipherable cacophony of controversy that are most telling. People calm down a little, stop spewing steam from their ears and enraged garbage from their mouths. They cool off and, you know, actually talk. Well, some of them do anyway. And so, in between all the cries of "victory!" modders and fans alike have begun trying to pick up the pieces, figure out what all of this will mean in the long run.

Some are not happy at all with how this turned out. Flawed though Valve's implementation was, they wish Valve would have at least left the foundation intact as something to build off of.

Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone
Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone

Modders have been chiming in too. Some, like Edhelsereg, have pointed out why everyone's favourite simple fix for this whole issue, optional donations, isn't so simple at all. Their post is lengthy (and worth reading all the way through), but here are some key bits:

"I started publishing mods two years ago. Since my first mod was released on the Skyrim Workshop my mods have received over 200,000 individual downloads and two donations. That means 0.001% of users donated."

"And to all the people who say a donate button will help. I'd like to talk about the workshop ratings system. On every mod page there are two buttons that you can press (whether you have subscribed to the mod or not) that contribute to a mod's overall rating. Giving a thumbs up is optional, but very much encouraged by creators. Most users simply do not rate."

"My most popular mod has been downloaded by over 70,000 people of which less than 1.5kof them have rated it. That means 98% of users didn't take the time to rate the mod (and that is above the average for most mods on the Workshop), an act which takes one click, and costs nothing to do."

Edhelsereg has put a lot of effort into modding. Now, however, they're considering quitting. Not because of the paid mod fiasco, but because they can't justify bleeding time and money anymore. They explained:

"Over the last year, I have been inactive in the modding community. I have several new mods that are close to being finished, some even got to a beta stage that users had a chance to try.Unfortunately, I could no longer justify investing my time in modding. It was not a matter of greed, but practicality. I needed to pay the bills.When I heard that Steam was going to make it possible for mod authors to charge money for their mods, It caught my attention. For me, it meant I might have a justification to come back to the modding community."

"Most modders don't mod forever, they usually stop at some point. Even the best. Have you ever wondered why? MODDING IS A LOT OF WORK. At a certain point, passion is no longer enough to keep you going. Without proper encouragement and validation, you become drained and burn out. The community needs to find a way to bring more incentive for creators to keep making mods. Paid mods may have been the solution to bring back modders like Chesko and ThirteenOranges, but I don't see that happening now."

Other modders have opted for less... delicate approaches. They'd prefer that fans who don't think their hard work is worth a cent learn a lesson the hard way. No empathy, no understanding, no chance for modders to prove that they deserve a few bucks here and there? Fine then. No mods:

Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone
Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone
Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone

Others have started a petition asking disenfranchised modders to reconsider. It's an apology, albeit a small one.

Meanwhile, 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 $US500 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. Other team members found themselves in similar boats. After all the backlash, Mardoxx bit back with this line:

"There is no 'community.' The past 48h have shown this. There never was."

Predictably, people were pissed. But their appeal comes from an understandable if emotional place given how vehemently people wailed and gnashed their teeth at the idea of paying $US1 to bring new features to a mod that was otherwise dead. So what happens now? Some sort of new version is likely on the way, because it'd be a shame to waste the work they already put into it. But SkyUI's schlangster closed the book on the whole ordeal somewhat grimly: "Obviously," they said, "things will never be the same after this."

They're probably right. In the short term, the Skyrim modding community is vomiting acid all over itself, presumably to make its own tail go down a little easier. Pretty much just don't go to any Skyrim forums right now. It's capital-U Ugly in there.

Further out, meanwhile, we may or may not see paid mods return -- hopefully in a much more carefully implemented fashion. Some fans are already preparing, brainstorming ideas for a better system in hopes that Valve and co will listen. Here are a few suggestions from a Reddit thread on the subject:

/u/DavidJCobb: All mods must have a seven day return policy, no questions asked and no consequences.

/u/BullZEye22: Mods should gather a certain amount of approval before they can be sold.

/u/fadingsignal: Behind the scenes, there should be a partially dedicated faster-response support team for mod authors. If a mod is having trouble because the Steam downloader is screwing it up, or there is abuse or stolen assets being used, someone who is a verified author should have a slightly elevated support level, so they can in turn better support their customers who purchase their mods.

For Paid Mods:

Modders need to get at least 50% of the sale. Valve and the publisher can work out how to split the other 50% on their own. There are more than enough differences between mods and other "industry practices" to allow this.

/u/fadingsignal: Option to set the minimum price to $US0

/u/sleepystudy: Humble Bundle esqe slider when checking out, or perhaps a manual entry.

For Unpaid Mods:

/u/NeuroticNyx: A donation button for unpaid mods on the Steam Workshop. No profit form Bethesda can be made from this, as it is not endorsed.

/u/MaryMudpie: A system of Pay-What-You-Want for all mods. (Probably not going to happen.)

/u/EggheadDash: A pop for a donation once the game is closed, with Yes/Remind me Later/No options.

The thread is lengthy and doesn't quite hit the nail on the head with everything (for instance, a better system for collaborating/drawing on other people's work, something like a mod equivalent of middleware), but it makes some strong points.

Others are trying to figure out how to make the modding community a better place in the meantime:

Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone

There is, however, also a darker side to the proceedings. I've come across a couple threads suggesting that any and all modders who even tried putting their mods up for sale should be boycotted and exiled from the scene permanently. Others are discouraging everyone except a very narrow range of people from modding at all:

Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone
Some People Are Pissed That Skyrim's Paid Mods Are Gone

Hopefully, in time, all this nastiness rots away. For now, though, the aftermath is proving nearly as contentious as the battle. Fingers crossed that something good comes of all of this... eventually. Please?


    These guys do know they're adding a donation button right?

      Did you read the article?

      And to all the people who say a donate button will help. I’d like to talk about the workshop ratings system. On every mod page there are two buttons that you can press (whether you have subscribed to the mod or not) that contribute to a mod’s overall rating. Giving a thumbs up is optional, but very much encouraged by creators. Most users simply do not rate.”
      “My most popular mod has been downloaded by over 70,000 people of which less than 1.5kof them have rated it. That means 98% of users didn’t take the time to rate the mod (and that is above the average for most mods on the Workshop), an act which takes one click, and costs nothing to do.

        I was just about to say the same thing
        Clearly someone didn't read the whole article

        That's more inherent to rating systems in general, then something exclusive to the steam workshop.

          The point is that if people aren't even willing to leave a rating, that costs them nothing and is only one click, how many people do you think are going to be willing to donate money to a modder? History has shown us the answer is likely to be 'almost none'.

            Sure. Almost none sounds about right. And I'm really not seeing a problem with that.

            Much like the piracy complaints from TV/movie industries, those 70,000 downloads are not lost sales, they are window shoppers, and as such when compared to income should be considered utterly irrelevant.
            They shouldn't enter the conversation at all. They are grossly and unfairly inflating the modder's expectations.
            The people who bothered to rate are the only ones who should be worth looking at, because THAT is your market. People who have invested time or effort - similar to as if they had invested money.

            One of the strengths of the modding scene is that there are so many subtle variations on a theme, so that if one mod doesn't do the thing you want it to, something else can. Or can do it better. And the reason you can go find something else that subtly tweaks your niggling gripes is because you haven't sunk any money into it. It doesn't cost you anything to trial and experiment, mix and match to see which conflicts and compatibilities and dependencies are going to work best. Start chucking paywalls in there, and we'll see those downloads decrease significantly.

            At best, these guys should be comparing their donation figures to the number of people who not only rated them, but rated them highly. Compare those high ratings to a reasonable price for a mod, then take it down to the 25% of it that the modder actually sees and I wouldn't be surprised if that's not far off their donation figures.

            Hopes for a signficant pay increase over heretofore poorly-publicized donation rates (as evidenced by every man and his dog suggesting donation buttons as a solution, implying they didn't realize you already can) are naive at best.

            It's not a lot of money for the effort put in? Wow. Welcome to the world of QA, blogging, games journalism, and all the other professions which struggle to get a high wage because of the sheer volume of people out there doing exactly the same thing for free. Supply and demand DO still influence prices.

            Last edited 30/04/15 10:32 am

              I haven't seen any modders who expect the same number of people who use their mod for free now to pay for it. But if even 0.1% do, they're getting more than they would have from donations.

              I'm extremely cynical about the push to have it as donation-based on Steam. I'm a developer myself, I've watched how donations work and it's pretty awful. People are generally more willing to pay a purchase price than to give a donation, and I think if modders are going to get any non-negligible financial gain from their mods, it's going to have to be through sales, not donations.

              I don't have a problem with mods not making much money, what I have a problem with is the expectation some people have that mods should always and forever be free. If the modder wants to charge for their mod, has permission to do so, and there are people willing to pay for it, what right does anyone else have to stop him from doing so?

                I've said it far too loquaciously elsewhere (er, actually... to you), but the succinct answer to your last question is: it poisons the well.

                  I think that's a valid concern for a potential outcome that hasn't happened and may not happen. I think you view the modding community as more fragile than I've found it to be in my own experience.

                  I appreciate you taking the time to write your replies, by the way. I value rational debate and you tend to keep a cool head.

                Thanks, and same.

                Seriously though, maybe it's just because it's too fresh, but if you read the site-runner's posts on the Nexus and see some of the inter-modder conflict and discussion, plus just the day-one issues with mods that were already up, re: implementation (largely reviews, review-censorship, conflicts, theft, and Steam-wallet-only refunds), I'd say there's plenty of evidence that the toxicity was spilling over pretty neatly.

                I'm sure there'd eventually be an... uneasy equilibrium, but it would be one that's worse than what we have now.

        What this user claims is also a bit inaccurate
        Sure - he might have 70,000 downloads
        But a lot of people download mods and never use them. Quickly try them out and realise they dont like it.
        I guarantee that 70k figure wouldn't exist if each and every one of them had to pay for it first.

        Whilst there are many pros and cons to boths sides of the argument I think the biggest issue here is:
        A lot of mods have issues and arent perfect. That's fine when theyre free, but if someone has to pay, you need to ensure that your mod works properly and doesnt cause bugs or glitches.

      Yeah, the faux outrage of being able to pay for mods for a few days, then taking away that privilege is disgusting.

      Its not like mods have been free for like 20+ years now, How on earth did the modding scene stay relevant all these year when there was 0 dollars involved in getting your mod out there?

        Reducing turnover and keeping talented modders in the scene instead of most of them leaving it because it's a lot of work for little gain is hardly something to be upset about.

        Everyone wants some easy cash. Everyone wants to get paid for doing things they like. Hell I wanna get paid to sit at home to watch netflix but the world does not work that way :/

          If there was someone willing to pay you to do that, wouldn't you, though? There are people willing to pay modders for their work if it's good enough, no reason they shouldn't take advantage of it. It's not like they owe anyone anything.

          Yeah never mind that modding takes talent, time and work. But then so does watching Netflix, right?

    Adding a donation button is simply not a solution. The majority of people pushing it as a good idea think along the lines of "I can't/won't donate myself, but others will so it'll all work out in the end". Except it won't, because if everyone thinks that way, nobody donates.

    And the people who think modders should always and only work for free are leeches, their opinion is worth about as much as they're willing to pay mod developers for their work. Sure, there are some mod developers out there that are happy to work for free, but why should that mentality be forced on all mod developers?

      By contrast, I consider the entire point of the exercise to be about being free.

      'Free' is the only protection modding has to do crazy, unofficial, unendorsed, unlicenced things. It's the reason we have lightsabers and batman suits. It's the reason people didn't care if people borrowed work as long as it was credited. It's the reason people were free to experiment and release concepts in-progress or
      It's the reason the whole fucking thing got started in the first place.

      Modders wanted to play with the code, but they weren't allowed to if they were going to make money off it. Fine! They do it for the love of it. And then boom, that turns out to be incredibly popular. It generates sales (go on and show me ONE review of Skyrim that doesn't mention mods - you'll be deep in the bowels of Google's no-man land past page 6 of search results), develops skills and portfolios for enthusiasts looking to get into the industry... it's a safe space to freely contribute, collaborate, steal-with-credit-and-credit-only for the sake of making better mods.
      There was an understanding that none of it really mattered, because there was no money changing hands. Just hobbyists, playing.

      ALL OF THAT goes out the window the instant you introduce the cancer of commercial interest.

      * Paid or free, everyone starts looking over their shoulders to see who's stealing and profiting from their shit, everyone starts altering how they make and release what they do so that no-one can see it until they're ready to claim prime real estate on that particular 'idea'.

      * Iterations that are similar but improved get fought over as infringements or 'theft'.

      * Every single author contributing in a collaboration reduces the overall share, increasing their reluctance to, or causing mod teams to fall apart in arguments about whose work contributed a greater percentage of profit share.

      * All of a sudden the Trademark lawyers come out of the woodwork who had previously been ignoring all these things.

      * Policing the whole clusterfuck becomes damn near impossible because where previously you could simply download and look at someone's mod to see if they copied your shit, now you have to pay for it.

      * Quality control becomes an expectation now that people are dropping down cold hard cash for something, they expect it to fucking work, whereas before they didn't care because it was free.

      * And unlike with free mods, customers WILL want modders to fix the product - yes, product, now - because they've invested cash and don't want to lay out cash on testing other mods to see what's got the best boob jiggle or tree texture or whatever minute difference that they can currently chop and change between freely.

      * Modders will find themselves mired in trying to support their old work or face censure and refunds, instead of doing what they came to do: create.

      It's the most antithetical thing to the original concept that I can think of. Free, easy, collaborative, experimental, not always functional, unofficial.

      They say power corrupts, but I think money gives it a run for its... you know.

      Last edited 30/04/15 10:49 am

        I addressed copyright issues in another article, but if you have made a mod that breaches copyright on someone else's work, just don't sell it. Then it works no different to the way it works now. There's always going to be a grassroots modding community that does things for the love of it and gives it all away for free. This issue is about giving modders the choice, where previously they had none for legal reasons.

        Yeah, modders will have to support their work. If they're not prepared to do that, they can give the mod out for free instead.

        Paid modding isn't intended to replace free modding, it's intended to complement it. The landscape will change, but free modding isn't going to go anywhere, it's like arguing that professional sports ruins the free, easy nature of amateur sports.

          Actually the unofficial mod scene is not as invulnerable as you think. Many have had C&Ds sent their way and stopped work even though their output was free. I could only begin to imagine how much more common that would be with money on the line.

        Wow. People were downvoting you for the effort you put into constructing a reasoned argument! The entitlement of some comment voters /s

    I never understood the outrage about paid mods TBH.

    The outrageous part about it all was, IMO, the massive cut that Bethesda thought was appropriate for them to take from something they merely facilitated, rather than made themselves. What a joke.

      the modding scene has worked on the basis of free for both modder and the end user for decades, it was never broken, now suddenly the publisher and valve want to double dip and make the user pay them for something we've always gotten for free, quite right there should be outrage. Be like a car company wanting a cut when you install an after market turbo charger

        When looking at it from the perspective of the publisher, sure. But for modders, I'd argue it's more like the after market turbo charger creator actually making money for creating the after market turbo charger.
        And that the modding scene has worked for free is like having unpaid interns working for the chance they might get a job somewhere - it's only sustainable if you have a constant flow of prospective talent willing to work for free before they work out they can't actually live on a zero-sum wage.

    These are all valid points, but don't people make mods because that's what they love doing? Isn't this all about a hobby that you do in your spare time to share with the world?

    All these people are pissed because they saw an opportunity where they could make money, then they lost it.

    I create things, make youtube videos, spend time making other people montages etc, but I do it because I like doing it, not because I want to make a buck or two.

    Everything goes to shit when money is involved!

      Are you saying that because some modders do it for fun means all modders should do it for fun? Or that just because it's fun means they shouldn't be compensated for their work?

        I don't play Skyrim myself ergo don't follow these specific threads but I'm with Wagzy.

        I use (or used ... not a lot of spare time for the last 3 years with kids) a machinima creation software called 'Moviestorm', and this has an active modder community (more active than the official devs most of the time, but that's another story). Anyhow, I've put out a few mods myself in the past, purely for free. I used to download Halflife mods back in the day, also for free.

        Modding games and apps IS something that's been around for a long time, and something that's been free for the most part. Counterstrike aside, the idea of charging money for mods is a bit 'alien' to most of us. You want to see the WORST example of people charging money for 'mods' (assets) ? See the modding communities for 3D software like Daz Studio or iClone (the expensive alternative to Moviestorm). I'm sure a large part of it is resentment on my part that these people can make a reasonable income doing what they enjoy while I have to go be a fekking office drone, but 'professional' / 'commercial' modders have ALWAYS irked me. Do it for the love (and maybe for your porfolio to help you get that gaming dev job), or don't do it at all.

          I don't single you out in saying this, but why should it be you (or anyone else, for that matter) that tells modders why they should or shouldn't make mods, and not modders deciding for themselves? If there's a market of people willing to pay for their work, why shouldn't they be allowed to try to sell it if that's their choice?

          That's what this whole thing is about, at the end of the day: choice. The modders above want to be able to choose whether to do their mod for free or sell it, and a whole lot of people want to deny them that choice on spurious grounds like "it's always been that way".

            I agree with that, but the ones that are saying let's boycott making mods is just ridiculous. Your not harming anyone else other than yourself because your not publishing your creations.

              A boycott is silly and pointless, I agree. I think modders suggesting boycotts are in a significant minority, assuming there's more than just the one guy proposing it. On the other hand, I don't see a problem with modders making their mods private (eg. the 'friends only' guy in the article above) if they want to.

        I think the point is that modders attacking gamers who attacked steam is hypocritical.

        They (the modders) say that "it could have been a great business opportunity" yet they've been making mods for free for decades.
        Once people get a taste for cash it all goes downhill...
        The implementation was terrible. Period.
        Bethesda was greedy. Period.

        I think there's plenty of other issues with paid mods like refund policies, no guarantee of support, compatibility with other mods, mods using components from other mods, theft of material etc....
        You don't have these problems with TF2 hats.

        It's similar to the whole early access argument all over again. Testing and unfinished content where they user pays to help finish something.

        Other than that, it has the potential of turning the mod community/market into exactly what the mobile app market has become. complete garbage for free, or paid mods, with hundreds of copies of the same mod all trying to make a buck.
        It changes the dynamic from "make a good game/mod/app" to "pump something out asap to make some cash".

        I'm not saying that what all modders will do but I think this sort of environment breeds that kind of thinking.
        Basically, it's not a simple as "let them charge if they want, people will either buy it or not".

        Last edited 30/04/15 10:28 am

          I agree the first implementation had some ill-considered issues, but problems with the implementation don't mean the underlying issue doesn't exist though. If the rights-holder is okay with it, modders should have the choice to monetise their work if they want to.

          If modders want to work for free, that's great. The problem is the expectation that it must be that way. Expecting people to invest time and effort to give out free entertainment seems a bit unreasonable given most people wouldn't do the same in return.

            A big problem that I don't see examined enough is the naive belief in the free modding community's persistence in the face of their contemporaries 'making money'.

            Besides the fact that some of the more disturbing problems about paid mods dramatically affect free mods as well (specifically theft - doesn't matter if YOUR mod is free, if someone's paid mod is stealing your shit, you still have to pay to get their mod and any other mod LIKE your mod to police whether your shit's being stolen, making it incredibly difficult and expensive to police), that taint will spread in other ways.

            You only had to hop over to the Nexus forums to see it in action when paid mods were still a tragically misguided reality. Now that they're (temporarily, I bet) not a reality, it's still going. Things have changed. Freedom, creativity, sharing, trust, and other core benefits to free modding have taken a huge hit.

    I went down the rabbit hole reading articles about this last night.

    The sheer amount of comments on every article I read calling mod creators 'greedy' for wanting the option to charge for mods blew me away. Creating any sort of content takes time, effort and most importantly costs MONEY (software, hardware etc)!

    I don't think any mod creator out there seriously thought they were going to get rich off creating mods. What they probably did see is a way to offset some of the costs of making mods.

    Last edited 30/04/15 8:49 am

    So ridiculous. If they don't want to mod, fine by me. They understood that they will not get rich by modding when they started and just because they lost the opportunity to get rich for a unicorn dragon mod and they want to boycott and stop modding. If their intention was to earn money through modding then I will not miss them.

      Dude think about it. Modding is so much work.

      I don't even think it's not being able to charge that has upset these modders, it's the vitriol and complete lack of appreciation from their audience.

      I don't mod, but a mate and I put out a podcast every week and a video every other week and let me tell you as fun and fulfilling as it is - reading your audience is hard.

      The reality is if people like something you do you rarely hear about it. Which is fine, but it can wear you down.

      Modders charging a small fee would be a good metric to measure how well their mod is doing, enable them to polish it further and generally encourage higher quality mods within the community.

    For me the issue with paid mods isn't about money vs effort. For me its about quality and assurance. Are you paying for all the features that are in the mod now? features to come? what happens if the creators just ups and leaves?
    Value has enough problems with the quality of games getting through green light, let alone mods.

    Last edited 30/04/15 12:19 pm

      This is what part of my problem with paid mods is too.

    "“My most popular mod has been downloaded by over 70,000 people of which less than 1.5kof them have rated it. That means 98% of users didn’t take the time to rate the mod"

    98% of 70000 is 68600. So i think i'll call that quote a lie.

      What? 70000 - 68600 = 1400. 1400 seems to pretty cleanly fit the description of "less than 1.5K". What part of that figure seems wrong to you?

      You just did the maths, then totally ignored them. Bravo.

    Maybe payed mods isn't the worst idea, but the implementation was so wrong that it couldn't even be used as a base to start from.

    First of all modding is a hobby, it has always been something people do for a hobby and passion projects for the games they love and want to improve. I build model kits and modify my car as a hobby, I don't put in that time to expect money in return.

    Second, modders don't have to update mods, they don't have to test mods and support mods. People will be paying them money, and then the mod breaks or doesn't work correctly and the customer gets screwed.

    Third, monetising the hobby turns it into a business, this means the workshop turns into the appstore, there is no policing the mods, so it will get flooded with poor quality mods trying to make a quick buck. There is no quality control, the workshop mods will become about marketing, trying to make something look attractive instead of making quality mods. There is also the ripoff mods, cheap clones, stolen mods from other authors. Mods requiring other mods as pre-requisites to work.

    The people who want to make quality mods will most likely continue because they do it as a passion.

    If they solve all the above issues somehow, then there is still the fact that the modder was only getting 25% cut from their work, if your going to monetise the thing, don't spit in the face of the workers and give Bethesda the largest cut.

    What people seem to be overlooking is that they are making their statements based on the current free mod market. I'm not that great at business but I do know that as soon as you start charging for something that was originally free, your market will change dramatically (eg. If only 2 people willingly paid out of 200,000 that's a significant reduction if you charge for your mod). Once paid mods started getting in to full swing, I'm sure most mod makers would suddenly lose a lot of their current users. This would especially be so if you had to pay for mod dependencies.

    Which is another problem that people are largely ignoring. If you make a mod that depends on other mods, which in turn may depend on other mods then people aren't paying 99c for a fancy set of armour, they're paying $10, $20 or however much it is to purchase all dependencies.

    While I agree that modders should receive something in return for their efforts, the paid mod idea was just way too under-developed to be of benefit to anyone other than Bethesda.

    So for the tl;dr, paid mods may sound like a good idea but people are largely ignoring the impact it would have on the existing market as well as the hidden costs associated with mods.

    The community has the toxicity and the gall to doubt Steam and Valve on this endevor. A giant outcry that upset Gabe Newell to the point of scrapping the idea, with himself being downvoted into oblivion on reddit. Not very nice at all. The pure hate in some of these posts is astounding.
    I am all for paid mods and NO donate button. However some people are going for the throat on this, literally death threats! Its embarrassing the way people treat one of their favorite passtimes, no respect!
    I would pay $10 for a high definition pack of my fav game

    nice article on the situation btw

    Last edited 30/04/15 10:07 am

    Then there is an issue where a modder uses some or all of another modder's content (with or without consent) to make their mod. Who gets paid?

      This sort of thing has existed for decades in software development. The short answer:

      If your work involves distributing someone else's work:
      - If you have their permission to distribute and charge, you're clear and the money is yours.
      - If you have permission to distribute but no explicit permission to charge, you can't charge.
      - If you don't have permission to distribute, you can't distribute or charge at all.

      Anything outside of the above would require a specific licence from the other modder.

      If your work depends on someone else's work but doesn't involve distributing their work:
      - You can charge or not charge for your work freely, unless the licence for the other work explicitly prohibits you from doing so. This is the only legal grey area and mainly relates to GPL and whether or not an external dependency is considered a derivative work. This part of GPL has never been tested in court.

      From the few official posts we saw, the latter is how Steam expected mods to interact with each other. Full control and distribution of the other mod remains with the original author and they can choose to charge or not charge for it as they like.

    I feel as if this was done to startle everyone. if they really wanted this to work they wouldn't have asked for 75% of the cut from what the modders put it up to be. They would've asked for less.

    If Minecraft has shown me anything... It's that there a millions of people around the world willing to put 100's or even 1000's of hours making something in a video game for essentially no reason whatsoever, other than to be creative.

    Last edited 30/04/15 10:43 am

      But don't I have a right to make money from my amazing Minecraft monument?

        If you can find someone willing to pay for it, and Mojang is cool with it, does anyone have the right to stop you?

          As long as I don't copy a free one and only people who pay for my monument will ever know about it? Sounds win:win to me! What they don't know won't hurt them!

    I think that it was a really good idea.

    - It is optional. There will still be plenty of free mods.

    - The only reason that mods have been free up until now is because developers/publishers wouldn't allow other parties to profit from them. So with the go ahead from Bethesda. Why not?

    - Sure 75% seems steep and could be adjusted. But I personally don't think it is that bad. If someone models a sword for Skyrim. Without all of the work Besthesda did in actually developing the game that is a screenshot on an art forum. Certainly not going to make any money from that.

    - The whole situation isn't all that different from programing libraries or wordpress plugins. All that needed to happen is modders release their mods with some sort of Creative Commons agreement. This mod is free and can only be used on it's own. Cannot be repackaged and sold ect. This isn't new territory. There are plenty of paid scripting libraries that have free & paid dependencies.

    - Yes, it will change the modding scene. Potentially in a very good way. Modders will have incentive to support their mods longer. Game developers will have more reason to develop good modding tools. More and more freelance developers or artists (even other small game development studios) can develop new content for the games they love.

    Maybe I am just a crazy optimist.

    I've always thought that Publishers should encourage mods by continually rolling out competitions and offering financial awards. I also figured they could bundle a bunch of select mods together, port them and sell them on consoles and offer the modders a cut. It would be up to the publisher to make sure they aren't game breaking.

      To take it a step further, I really think there's a lot of merit in leaving it up to the publisher as to which mods get a payday at all.

      Obviously user popularity would be a factor, but it'd help avoid all the instances we are going to see of review-scamming, review censorship, update-manipulation to get to the front page/'most recent' lists again, abandoning support when something breaks outside of the refund period, theft from other mods, and more inventive douchebaggery that even I can't think of yet.

      The only disadvantages I can see are the kind of complaints about favouritism against poor, overlooked diamonds-in-the-rough which gave rise to Greenlight. And much like Greenlight has now proven, those instances will be FAR rarer than is actually claimed, and can safely be treated on a case-by-case basis or ignored until they actually get popular while free and EARN their payday... as opposed to designing an entire system that turns into uncurated toxic garbage like every mobile app-store.

    I remember the good old days of jumping on to PlanetQuake and such and trawling through mods for Quake and grabbing them from FilePlanet, Tocuws or whatever flavour of mirror was available at the time for free. If mods got good they got picked up and made into a full fledged product.

    Christ I still remember my friend in high school talking about a cool Half-Life mod called Counter-Strike he found for Half-Life which looked like something that would be good for our school holiday LAN sessions. I eventually delved after some time at beta 2 or 3 on dial-up with the aid of GetRight due to it's size and the 4 hour connection limit. Guns were persistent and didn't disappear between rounds, team leaders were a thing and spawned with a DE and that servers were non-existent and had maybe 2-4 people in them. It was all free and now look at it? What about Team Fortress for Quake 1; also a free mod.

    Get over it if you think you mod should earn you money. If you are good and you have passion you'll get noticed and to me that's what modding is about; love of the game. People do it because they want to and want to share it; success is merely a potential bi-product. Do you think the people doing Deus Ex: Revision are in it for the money? Were any of the people in the mods gone product were in it for the money? I'm pretty certain they did just to be a popular mod.

    Last edited 30/04/15 12:39 pm

    I'd say the influx of garbage and overpriced mods ruined it. Also the 25% cut thing was a little unfair for modders. Its not gone for good, just in remission while they revise a few things, hopefully they ease the idea into the mod community instead of outright clusterfcking it out there.

    And to all of the whiners above me, you do realise you don't haft to buy a mod right? you can just ignore it, and you do realise YOU are not entitled to said mod either as its someone else's work and not yours!

    Last edited 30/04/15 3:06 pm

    Paying modders for their work is good.

    Valves system for doing this was terrible.

    Simply it turned the modding scene into the app store, with an emphasis on small, easy, money making mods instead of bigger more ambitious mods.

    Why spend thousands of hours on making huge mods like Skywind, when you can whip up a model in less than 10 and put it on the store for 2 dollars.

    There's no way that it encourages more high-quality mods, it encourages low rate mods, that you can pump out in spades. If the paid mods continued, i wouldn't be surprised if it was filled with crappy swords and armours, and no real content.

    The other problems being a lot of mods relying on other mods. For example, if the guy who made the Skyrim Script Extender would have had so much power over the market, as if he made his mod $20, then it'd break thousands of free mods...

    i've said this before, valve need to go back to the drawing board, and i honestly think the best way to do it is to ask modders to create premium mods for the game and only them, instead of letting every man and his dog charge for mods.

    The system that Valve and Bethesda should have used should have been the system that they use for currently evaluating the additions to the Dota 2 steam workshop.

    This means having to invest in some sort of vetting process and people up-voting and supporting mods which they want to see endorsed. These mods are accepted and placed into a queue which monthly Bethesda/Valve will evaluate the top mods to place them into a market for the most quality content.

    This means that you can quality control the selection of mods on sale at the price of speed and efficiency. It's a highly inefficient system, however the voting system means that at least people are getting what they want the fastest. This also justifies the cut that Bethesda is asking for, by hosting the system to do paid mods (though technically Bethesda is justified into any amount that put down, since previously modders would receive nothing).

    Key problems that Bethesda cannot seem to work out is the overlap. Modding is a highly interdependent system with many mods using FNIS, SKSE and other addons/extensions, as well as using other mods and building on them. Previously this generally wasn't an issue so long as they asked permission and added the author as acknowledgement. Now with a paid system, it's way more complicated and modders will be far less lenient on intellectual theft.

    Like others here have said, It wasn't necessarily about paid mods being bad in of themselves. It was about the terrible system that Valve/Bethesda implemented and dumped on us. Not to mention that they decided to spring this practically unannounced on an already well established modding community that was the real issue here.

    Obviously some people are against paid mods period, but I really do think they are in the (rather vocal) minority. Paid Mods are not going to go away permanently, it's inevitable that they will be back eventually. Thank god though that the backlash was strong enough that the incarnation that Valve put forward didn't go ahead. Perhaps now they can work on the issues that were raised and come up with something much more effective for modder and consumer alike.

    Last edited 30/04/15 9:18 pm

    Concerning the mods. It had to end one day. I know it's a bitch for all of the comers, but,
    All good things must come to an end.
    I've been playing SKYRIM for a while now. I play on an X-Box 360.

    What happens if someone makes a Skyrim mod using assets from another publisher's game? Or creates a model from scratch for Skyrim of a character from another publisher's game? Just because a modder made a Skyrim model of Tali from Mass Effect from scratch without using any of the actual assets from Mass Effect doesn't mean that EA couldn't come after them if they made it a paid mod

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