The last time Valve tried paid mods with Skyrim, their efforts lasted precisely a week until the chorus of complaints from fans and developers brought the system down. But not everyone was opposed to the move, and Valve indicated that they were still interested in finding some way to reward content creators.
This morning the developer lifted the lid on their second attempt at paid mods. It's called the Custom Game Pass, and it's being implemented into Dota 2.
In a post on the official blog, Valve said that Custom Game Passes would be a new model for "supporting and rewarding custom game developers who are committed to building vibrant and lasting communities around their games".
It's important to stress that these paid-for game passes won't actually prevent you from playing custom Dota 2 games. All Dota 2 custom games will still be free-to-play, but having the custom pass will give extra features. In the case of Roshpit Champions, the first game to implement Valve's freemium model, paying US$1 will give you additional character and stash slots, plus other privileges.
Perhaps the most important element, however, is the fact that Custom Game Passes will only last 30 days. According to Valve, the reason for this is so players are able to continually reassess the merit of supporting that developer with their hard cash.
"For custom games to be successful in the long term, they will require ongoing updates from their creators, and a cheaper but limited activation period allows players to continually reassess their choice to support a game if they think it’s going in the right direction," Valve wrote in a FAQ. "It also allows players to have a clearer understanding of what content a pass offers at any given point in time."
Valve will take the same cut of revenue as they do for other games on Steam, which is understood to be 30%. In an interview with PC Gamer, Valve explained that this was because they thought of "custom game creators as being similar to any developer on Steam," and therefore it made sense to keep the revenue split the same.
You'll also have the ability to refund passes within the first 48 hours, the same window users have to refund in-game purchases for Valve's games. It's worth adding that custom game passed do not renew automatically, which is handy to know if you're the kind of person who tends to forget about recurring payments.