Valve Has Removed Paid Mods From Steam Workshop


Backing down from one of the most perplexing gaming business decisions of 2015 (mostly due to its lax parameters and minimal oversight), Valve has officially retracted the option to pay for mods on the Steam Workshop. “We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing,” a spokesperson for Valve said in a soberingly-accurate statement. Any and all payments on mods will be refunded in full.

Furthermore, the representative explained the thinking behind the controversial decision, and why it was made in the first place.

"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. 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."

While we’re here, let’s recap the whole debacle. Firstly, last Thursday Valve announced that paid mods were coming to the Steam Workshop, with support first going towards the ongoing modifcations of Bethesda’s Skyrim. It didn’t take long for the once supportive modding community become brutally competitive, with those marketing for-sale mods having stolen assets from owners of free mods without their permission on Friday morning. On Saturday, the (in)famous co-founder of Valve, Gabe Newell, took to Reddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) concerning any and all questions about the introduction of paid mods.

The results of that Q&A were not positive. The biggest criticisms facing Gabe from the community was not putting his foot down to prevent DRM-like policies from developers that would restrict mods to Steam-only, questions about, if a paid system had to be in place, why the system wasn’t restricted to pay-what-you-want like on Nexus (instead allowing prices of up to $99.99), and how he was pro-business instead of pro-consumer. Instead of confidently turning around public perception, he made statements like, “…money is how the (mod) community steers work,” which resulted in thousands of downvotes in response.

The video below is just one of many various types of angry reactions the modding community at the expense of Valve.

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We’re not completely out of the woods yet, even though Valve has understood just how monumentally they screwed up in their implementation of paid mods. “…We believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here” is a telling statement to cap off the removal of paid Steam Workshop mods, indicating that they might just go back to the drawing board with its implementation. Just like with the early days of Greenlight and Early Access, a novel concept (this one may or may not work in a perfect world with a perfect plan) is ruined with terrible implementation and a lack of necessary oversight.

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