The internet wins.
After all the controversy that surrounded the paid mods initiative by Valve (with its pilot run on Skyrim’s steam Workshop), it appears that the internet’s outrage and feedback has finally made the company capitulate, and go back on this idea- there will be no more paid mods for Skyrim.
“We’re going to remove the payment feature from the Skyrim workshop. For anyone who spent money on a mod, we’ll be refunding you the complete amount. We talked to the team at Bethesda and they agree,” Valve said.
“We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing. We’ve been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they’ve been received well. It’s obvious now that this case is different.
“To help you understand why we thought this was a good idea, our main goals were to allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to, and to encourage developers to provide better support to their mod communities,” Valve continued. “We thought this would result in better mods for everyone, both free & paid. We wanted more great mods becoming great products, like Dota, Counter-strike, DayZ, and Killing Floor, and we wanted that to happen organically for any mod maker who wanted to take a shot at it.
“But we underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim’s workshop. We understand our own game’s communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.”
It is interesting to note that Valve did not say that they are giving up on the idea of paid mods altogether- just that they will be removing them from the Skyrim Workshop. We may yet see them show up in future games, including future Bethesda releases, or Valve’s own titles.
Bethesda themselves made a statement, eager, it seems, to endear themselves to the modding community, whom they might have risked angering with their support of paid mods.
“We have a long history with modding, dating back to 2002 with The Elder Scrolls Construction Set. It’s our belief that our games become something much more with the promise of making it your own,” Bethesda said.
They continued, “Over the years we have met much resistance to the time and attention we put into making our games heavily moddable. The time and costs involved, plus the legal hurdles, haven’t made it easy. Modding is one of the reasons Oblivion was re-rated from T to M, costing us millions of dollars. While others in the industry went away from it, we pushed more toward it.”
That said, they confirmed they are in support of pulling back from the paid mods initiative.
“After discussion with Valve, and listening to our community, paid mods are being removed from Steam Workshop. Even though we had the best intentions, the feedback has been clear – this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you.”
The question now is- will we see this feature show up in a future game on Steam? Maybe even a future Bethesda game, like Elder Scrolls VI, or Fallout 4?