The World’s Biggest Video Game Mod Site Will Start Paying Modders

The World’s Biggest Video Game Mod Site Will Start Paying Modders

Image via Nexus Mods

Nexus Mods plans to roll out a new donation system and storefront early in 2018 according to a recent post in the site’s news section.

The fan site was founded in 2001 and now has over 10 million registered users. While it supports mods for hundreds of games some of the biggest include ones like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim (SkyUI, one of the mods for the latter which updates things like the menus and inventory system, has been downloaded over 16 million times).

“We are working on a Donation Points system on Nexus Mods that mod authors will be able to accumulate, through unique file page downloads, that can then be redeemed for rewards through a storefront style system,” says the announcement.

It’s not intended to be enough for any modders to quit their day jobs but rather a way for their work to get rewarded in a small but tangible way with something in the range of a couple “free beers” worth a month.

Every month Nexus Mods will donate a base amount between $US5,000 ($6,521) and $US10 ($13),000 ($13,041) from the money the site generates in ad revenue and premium account subscriptions into a central mod fund.

From there, the site plans to let users contribute additional money to it. Then at the end of each month, the total amount in the fund will be divided up transferred into the equivalent amount of “Donation Points” (1,000 per $US1 ($1) donated the site speculates).

Each modder will then get an amount of Donation Points equivalent to their proportion of the overall number unique downloads, similar to how Spotify pays musicians for each time one of their songs is streamed.

“For example, if the total donation money pool is $US10 ($13),000 ($13,041) (which is 10,000,000 DP) and the total unique download count is 5,000,000 then that means each unique download would be worth 2 DP. Ergo, a mod author who receives 25,000 unique downloads that month will receive 50,000 DP, which is the equivalent of $US50 ($65) to redeem in our redemption storefront.”

The storefront will offer the option either to turn these points into cash (which will be paid out through PayPal or Amazon gift cards) or spend them on the things. Nexus Mods plans to sell not only popular games there but also modding software tools and even PC hardware like video cards and motherboards.

It also mentions the possibility of having manufacturers like Corsair sponsor certain months, giving modders discounts on their merchandise during that time. And if they don’t want to buy stuff, modders will be able to donate their earnings to one of a small-selection of charities.

Points won’t disappear month to month either but will carry over with $US10 ($13) being the minimum amount to redeem them for cash. They can also transfer them to other modders if they wish.

The entire thing will operate on a Net 90 system, an accounting term meaning the site reserves the right to wait up to three months before distributing points or the equivalent cash payments.

The program is optional and will only pay out to those modders who opt-in. The site also notes that when it comes to calculating unique downloads it will only use each unique user per mod page so as not to double count downloads by the same person on a mod page that has multiple files.

They note this as one of the potentially “contentious” parts since popular mods that have already been downloaded a bunch won’t count retroactively and simply chalk it up to shortcomings in their stat tracking capabilities.

While companies like Bethesda, who published Skyrim, haven’t given sites like Nexus Mods much trouble in the past it’s possible trying to monetise the whole affair, even through a donation program, could change that relationship.

Despite all of this, Nexus Mods claims in its announcement that it doesn’t foresee any issues from a legal perspective and, if push comes to shove, will remove mods for any Bethesda-published games from the donation program.

“It would obviously result in a system that benefits far fewer mod authors on the site, but I’m not going to let Bethesda dictate functionality on the site that is about more than just their games now, and has been for many years,” Nexus Mods says.

Bethesda has tried to cultivate its own modding community around its games with a program called Creation Club. While it’s not quite a marketplace for paid mods (players can make and distribute them for free) certain high quality mods get development support from Bethesda and are priced. This has led many in the modding community to look at the program with scepticism.

While the new Nexus changes are expected to roll out sometime in the winter of 2018, the site says players could see the first new features begin appearing as early as January.


  • Bethesda: Players don’t want these older style RPG menus!
    Players: *downloads SkyUI 16 million times*

  • Strange that the crowd who love the “modders shouldn’t be paid for their work!” excuses aren’t around when they’re not being asked to pay said modders…

    • How do you figure?I don’t really care either way, but there is a clear difference between demanding to be paid for a mod and allowing donations.

      • My point is the hypocrisy of those who feel they should get mods for free suddenly aren’t around trying to sell the “They do it of their own free will and/or they don’t own the game they’re modding so why should they get paid?!” arguments as a cover for their entitled bullshit.

    • A lot of people against paid mods have no attitude that modders ‘deserve nothing’. The biggest issue with the concept has everything to do with what actually happens when it has been implemented and attempted: that it drags the uncomfortable baggage of doing business with it. Participating in modding my games had all of the pros of playing around with and tinkering with your toys with toy fans and none of the cons of buying a product from salesmen. That feeling was very nice and while paid mods doesn’t sour it, it does introduce the hobby to the notion.

      If I feel entitled to anything, then it’s the pure joy of what mods do, without thinking of what money doesn’t. Anyone whose a fan of ‘build-it’ hobbies like Lego and Warhammer minatures knows what it is to be straddled (sometimes uncomfortably) between the two.

    • Neither does people feeling entitled to free shit constantly, but you know… That happens way more often than a company trying to sell mods.

      • I dont feel entitled to mods being free at all. Nor does the majority of the modding community.

        I however dont like valves attempt where they took what was previously free and made it paid for out of nowhere without any consulation of the userbase.

  • I’ve donated to modders before on Nexus. It’s always a difficult prospect: does the modder that makes dozens of models & animations deserve less than the one that implements them into the game? Does the modder that changes a line of code to fix a single bug deserve less than dozens of total-conversions that require that bugfix mod to function?

  • I tend to support the creation club as it’s not really paid mods, you apply with an idea and get employed as an independent contractor by Bethesda. not to mention a lot of the content released so far has been actual in house from Bethesda itself.

    Interesting fact, a modder who released a couple of things on the creation club just got a job with Bethesda so there is that possibility as well.

    As for myself. I’m a modder with a couple of small mods on Nexus and about a dozen or so on and for me it’s a hobby and I’ll just release stuff for free
    The other reason I don’t mind it so much is that development on Skyrim (FIX THE DAMN BUGS) and Fallout 4 had stopped so we would be getting exactly zero official content coming for each game and frankly I play Fallout 4 enough that the content gives me good value especially the workshop items.

    It is still microtransactions though and is expensive for what you get, especially things like skins. That said I fully aware that it could negatively effect future Bethesda games so I’m taking a wait and see approach.

    The approach Nexus are taking will definitely benefit a large group of modders, assuming it works as advertised.

  • If they wanted to do paid mods they should have done it with a clean slate game. But no they wanted to cash in on Skyrim and fallout some more.
    I see this less as a “people deserve to be paid for their time” issue and more as a “berthesda trying to cash in on their modders work while taking ownership rights and pretty much ripping them off”. The stuff produced so far seemed to be worse quality than what the free market offers (strange how the “official” version feels like the bootleg in those instances).
    Also if they are going to keep on cracking with the creation club I demand they do some more patching (ye olde bugs should be exterminated if they gonna keep rereleasing)!

    • Totally agree with the patching, it’s frankly unacceptable they keep porting a game like Skyrim while including the same bugs that the community fixed close to day one

  • Bethesda today are giving away a new power armour paint job for free, which is normally 100 points or $1. The catch? well it’s a white paint job and the default game already comes with a white winterised paint job already.

    So yes once it goes back to being sold you too can purchase something that is already available in game.

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