In a quick turnaround move, Valve has decided to temporarily end the Paid Mods Feature on Steam Workshop. We’ve previously spoke about it at length and even how Paid Mods might play a role in Valve’s Vision for the Future but perhaps for the best, the company who has been the leader in digital distribution of video games software on the Windows PC, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms has decided that the launch of this feature went so poorly it was best to roll it back. Anyone who purchased a Skyrim Mod will be refunded in full (presumably through Steam Wallet credits though) and Bethesda alongside Valve agree that the critics of the service were right about the way things were being done incorrectly. That being said, Valve hasn’t totally sworn off Paid Mods for life, and more likely than not will find a more acceptable way to introduce them.
Large amounts of protesting helped lead to this decision both in the comments sections of Nexus Mod Manager, Steam itself, and of course the infamous “High Fidelity Horse Genitals” mod being sold for $99.99 alongside other not-so-sincere modding efforts designed to express contempt for Valve’s abrupt transition into allowing Paid Mods for Skyrim. Gabe Newell himself also recently did his due diligence in speaking about the feature in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” which was mostly met with misunderstanding, trolling, and negative response to the feature. Among the many interesting statements made during that segment was one in particular I found interesting in which Newell described angering the mobs of the Internet as costing more money than the Paid Mods in Skyrim were actually netting Valve in profit.
Valve’s Official Statement to the Gaming Community:
“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.
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. 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.
Now that you’ve backed a dump truck of feedback onto our inboxes, we’ll be chewing through that, but if you have any further thoughts let us know.”
[Some Info Sourced: Valve’s Public Statement on Steam’s Official Blog]