Paid Mods on Steam

Show off your mods, get help on a mod, heck, even just have a good time downloading other folks mods. This forum is all about modding for any non-SWBF games.

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Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Darth_Squoobus » Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:31 pm

Steam is now selling mods for TESV:Skyrim. Yes, selling mods. Make of that what you will.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby THEWULFMAN » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:55 pm

My end of a conversation I had earlier.

2:13 PM - THEWULFMAN: So the Steam Workshop got hit by the greed bat.
2:14 PM - THEWULFMAN: Now you can set your Skyrim mod to cost money, rather than being free.
2:15 PM - THEWULFMAN: To entice people to do this, Valve changed their rules so that if your mod isn't paid (in other words, free like they've always been), then your mod's content is free for use by anyone without the modder's consent. If your mod is paid however, you're safe.
2:15 PM - THEWULFMAN: Valve gets 100% of the profits until the mod makes $400, then Valve gets 75% with the modder getting 25%.
2:16 PM - THEWULFMAN: The donation link to give free modders some cash also has been removed.
2:16 PM - THEWULFMAN: Now it can truly be said without a doubt. Nexus master race.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Maveritchell » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:15 pm

Full disclosure: not objective here. About 75% of my job is developing content for COTS flight sim software, and that's basically modding in the sense we know it as. So I "mod" for a living (-ish).

I think that setting up a pipeline for selling work like this is a great thing. Implementations aside (remember how everyone complained about Steam itself when it first came out?), something like this that's endorsed by a distribution pipeline and the IP holder is a good first step in facilitating part-time development work (or, heck, full-time if you can swing it). It opens up a lot of scary doors, sure (and it grants both creators and users with a whole new set of responsibilities), but the bottom line is that it lets people get paid for hard work.

There's this pernicious idea in the game industry that equates the value of being paid with the value of passion for your work. It means that developers are misused and undervalued as resources, and it comes back to this idea of "art for art's sake" (which is great in a utopia where no one has any financial responsibilities, sure). I've seen a lot of conversations about this [monetizing mods] that end up coming back to this old chestnut, and it's really not just. I can understand why people think this way - I've spent a ton of free time developing stuff for free, and I wasn't any the poorer for it*. I felt like that time was well-spent, and the reception my work got was payment enough. A lot of people really get that feeling, and say "why isn't that enough?"

*It's worth mentioning this was when I was in school, and had gobs of free time. Time spent earning nothing is easily transferred to other time spent earning nothing. Opportunity cost is real, though, because time is finite. Everyone learns this lesson eventually.

At some point, though, your time is worth something to someone. Patronage isn't a new concept for the arts, and it's seen a recent resurgence in popularity (Patreon, Kickstarter, etc.), but it's not always reliable. I think that testing the waters of a new monetization model for your own hard work is worth pursuing.

I think it's worth evaluating the potential issues with the current version of this model, but I think dismissing it out-of-hand (because it's "greedy") is short-sighted.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby TWINKEYRUNAWAY » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:26 pm

Im sure if valve made a big deal about donations as they did with paid mods, mod authors would be in a better place. Though im sure the donations would be inconstant ranging from a few cents to dollars instead of a set price, at least all the money would go to the authors. I think its human nature to want to be rewarded for hard work. I know sometimes It would be nice to get some money for the things I already do for free. Who doesn't right? I guess I can't blame a modder if they want to try and see where this goes. I think it has become fairly obvious what most people think about it though and im very interested to see where this is going.

I think because of the fact it's been free for almost 3 decades now, something of a privilege and a perk that some people are not comfortable with the idea of having to pay for something that was free. I think how some people are portraying it like "teh end is nigh brothers, download what you can before the man takes it away" mentality is being taken a little on the extreme.

This may or not be a popular opinion but here it goes... I think if a modder truly wants to be paid for their work and talents, they need to get a job that incorporates those talents. Obviously not everyone that mods can get a job at bethesda, bungie, nintendo, microsoft ect is going to get that job. Its a sad but real way of life that we cant always get what we want. I know I wanted to be a concept artist and after a while I realized that dream was way to far out of my reach reach.(Because of money, housing, real life problems). Sometimes you have to settle for things which is why im betting a lot of modders do modding in their free time. Because of the fact they couldn't get that job or they didn't have the right prerequisites for those opportunities.

I don't think bad of a mod author for wanting to get paid for their work but lets also be honest with ourselves for a moment. If you did have that job, how much real freedom would you have to do what you wanted to? People that legitimately work at these jobs don't on a normal basis release content using the engine of the game they worked outside of offical dlc. The company would see it as a violation in most cases I think.

At least with modding your in your right granted if your doing nothing illegal to do what you want and take as long as you want to do it. No dates, no due or set times to get something done. You are your own women/man with modding and even if you don't get paid, your still doing something that makes you happy, makes others happy and makes a community stronger because of all the ideas and work being shared freely. I can say that modding wouldn't be what it is today had 30 years ago every modification was being charged to people. It would be so much less popular and im willing to bet if every mod ever released had a price tag, no one would take that many risks to spend money on something that can be potentially a dud, unsupported by the actual devs ect. Especially since a modder wouldn't be as liable as the actual developers and therefore if a mod conflicts with another mod you paid for your screwed because there is no legal obligation on the modder's part to refund your cash or keep up with updates.

It certainly may "motivate" someone to do thier best, but even then a straight forward gaurentee isn't there. Proof of that is chesko(one of the mod authors who actually took all his mods down from the paid thingy) pulling his mod off of the workshop. To be honest if the amount of mods im using right now in fallout new vegas and other games all had a price on them, I would be broke and I would in fact give up on mods altogether.

As it is right now, its a flawed system. People have recently tested something interesting out. They bought some of the mods, copied them to a flash drive, got a refund and put the copied files back in skyrim with everything working fine.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby THEWULFMAN » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:37 pm

Maveritchell wrote:I think it's worth evaluating the potential issues with the current version of this model, but I think dismissing it out-of-hand (because it's "greedy") is short-sighted.


My problem is not the idea of paying for mods, it's the way it's being done.

Any system that actively discourages you from remaining a free mod creator, a system that directly benefits Valve vastly more than anyone, is quite simply greedy. 75% is outrageous as it is.

It's the difference between Valve saying "let's find a way to help these mod developers make some money" and them saying "how can we make money off of these mod developers?"

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Darth_Squoobus » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:53 pm

Well, I can see the community is taking this rather well.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Maveritchell » Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:43 pm

TWINKEYRUNAWAY wrote:I think if a modder truly wants to be paid for their work and talents, they need to get a job that incorporates those talents.


What does that even mean? "I don't think these people should be paid, if they want to be paid for their work, they should find a way to get paid for their work." What do you think a job is?

Maybe your opinion is more nuanced, like "I think people should have to create something entirely their own to be paid for it," which is a different (if not entirely arguable) point. What you're saying now is like saying "I think baseball players should find a job that incorporates their physical talents, like ditch-digging or construction, instead of trying to be paid for playing a game."

This - as far as I understand the arrangement - is an agreement with the owners of the IP (Bethsoft) to let people use it to make money off of. This is a job, in the sense that Bethesda and Valve are licensing their services (IP and a codebase and a distribution platform, respectively) to independent contractors for a cut of the profit.

I don't want to go through your post point-by-point, because that's wack and argumentative, but this bears emphasis:

TWINKEYRUNAWAY wrote:At least with modding your in your right granted if your doing nothing illegal to do what you want and take as long as you want to do it


No you're not. Most of the stuff we've done with Battlefront II? Technically a violation of copyright. It's just that no one cares, which is a great deal removed from being "in the right."

THEWULFMAN wrote:Any system that actively discourages you from remaining a free mod creator, a system that directly benefits Valve vastly more than anyone, is quite simply greedy. 75% is outrageous as it is.


This is, uh... more to the point, but "outrageous" is what the market bears. Like I said, this is an experiment, and I applaud it in that sense. If people think that Valve is asking for too much (their cut of 75%) to use the Steam platform to distribute content or people think that Bethesda is asking for too much (their cut of 75%) to use their software and IP, people don't have to sell through them.

I'm not seeing a fundamental change in the workshop setup, either - this looks like it's additive. As far as I see, there's still the option to publish your mod for free, so I'm not sure where you're getting "discouraged from remaining a free mod creator." Maybe you're confusing "discouraged from staying free" with "incentivized for being paid," which is waaay different. Carrot and stick are two opposite ends of the same spectrum, even if they push towards similar outcomes.

Valve's not in this to not make money, either. I think that you (and others) aren't seeing the two worlds I'm seeing. In one world, we have what has been - people can make things and give them away. In the new world (what Valve's trying) we have people being able to earn a little money from their work. In a comparison between "getting paid" and "not getting paid," it seems like one is universally better. The problem may be that so many are seeing the new world that is (people only being able to make a little money from their mods) and the world that could be - people getting paid a larger cut or a more open or freer system. That's a problem! Why are people comparing something that doesn't and hasn't existed with something that does?

This is a step in the right direction. I think a great method would be making something more like the Humble Store for mods, but Valve's doing an experiment - and they have to not only juggle the cost of the service they're providing (which is not insubstantial) with the cost of IP use (which is being super-overlooked, in my opinion) with various creators (in this case, Bethesda). Greedy? Yeah, ok, suuure. Valve's making money, but we're looking at a world where people can be paid for making mods. That's awesome, and the "greed" I'm seeing here is no greedier than the assumption that people would or could work for free anyway. I think this - as progress - should be celebrated. It shouldn't be ostracized because it's not 100% what people want right out of the box.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Twilight_Warrior » Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:43 am

It should also be noted that, if this sort of thing picks up, it's one way to reinvigorate a dying era of modifiable games.

In a world where mods are free: Everyone talks about how EA would never allow mods on games like the new Battlefront, because it's not a viable economic decision for them. Mods don't make them any money, therefore it is better to make a game that players cannot mod, and instead shovel out new titles every year with little difference between them in order to sell more product.

In a world where mods are paid for, and everyone gets a cut: EA allows mods on games like the new Battlefront because the fans of the game are practically working for them to create new content at a rate exponentially faster than they could ever dream of in the studio. Games last longer so that modders have a chance to create content (and value) for the title, and we see more games like SWBF2, TF2, and Skyrim that last years and become household names for the publisher/developer, creating even more sales of the title.


So maybe Steam/Bethesda isn't doing it quite the right way yet. But Mav's right. This is a step in the right direction, in terms of game development. So players have to pay a bit extra for mods they want and can't just try them all willy-nilly. On the flip side of that coin, players don't have to dish out $60 on a yearly basis for the next title in the franchise to get something new.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby THEWULFMAN » Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:50 am

I'll say this, the best thing about this controversy is that on the sites I go to, people have stopped whining about Battlefront EA so they can whine about this instead.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Zapattack1234 » Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:00 pm

I think it's an excellent idea that in a little while will turn into something amazing. I don't necessarily like that the modders themselves only get 25% of the profit they make but I'm sure Valve will continue to improve this new system in the coming months. I think this can only lead to better, higher quality mods.

Edit: However, I can also see legality issues being a concern as well. Seeing that some mods incorporate ideas from others.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby ARCTroopaNate » Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:51 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, my understanding of this is certainly limited, but this seems similar to Apple's deal with some app developers, Apple takes most of the cut, the deal works out very well for them. But even for the small developer, 30% is oftentimes a lot more than they would get trying to sell on their own. Apple is giving them access to an incredibly large distribution network, allowing them to reach a volume of potential buyers exponentially larger than one they could find on their own.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby THEWULFMAN » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:33 pm

Saw this around.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Zapattack1234 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:53 pm

pretty much sums up steam's community right now

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby BF2-Master » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:22 am

The big way this is often framed is people will get paid for hard work, but I can't endorse the view for it's lack of nuance.

I never made anything worth a lick of spit for Battlefront - but I made decent stuff for other games, and to me, the heart of modding was always about love for the source material and expanding on that love, and creating a sense of community. I never made a mod with the expectation of payment down the right. I made them for my own personal pleasure, as a favor to someone else, or for the community. Projects like that should remain the 'default' and remain free.

Now, there are situations where people "mod" for a living, and hypothetically, like most forms of art, there should be situations where one could commission 'art' to their liking. I'm not against the idea of people paying mods - there are lots of situations where modding could and should be paid work. I'm not denying that. That should have been okay a long time ago.

The fact that Valve has made specific movements to curtail free mods as part of this is a big part of what turns me off about it. If free modding is discouraged, what you're going to see is more mods produced for money and less mods produced for passion, because largely it will be those who desire to be paid for their hard work who will still be willing to do that hard work. That's avoiding the murkiness of copyright law, etc. The fact Valve is continuing to utilize other's assets to their own financial gain with minimal compensation is no surprise but still disappointing.

This system so far looks to be doing more harm for the casual modder than good for the dedicated one.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Zapattack1234 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:10 pm

I'm going to have to disagree with you on this, Valve isn't doing anything to prevent free mods from being developed. For the most part, people who enjoy making free mods will continue to do so, after all they aren't required to make their mods cost anything. There is literally no downside (aside from copyright issues) I can see happening from this. All Valve is doing is giving its community more options. And I have a feeling the possibility to get paid for their hard work will inspire a lot of "passion".

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby THEWULFMAN » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:34 pm

Agree or disagree with the choice they made in the first place, Valve has responded.

http://steamcommunity.com/games/SteamWo ... 5253244218

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.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby Maveritchell » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:36 pm

That was fast. Hope Valve (or someone) gives it a second go in a revamped fashion.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby TWINKEYRUNAWAY » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:37 pm

8) I guess you can say....this business model didn't pay off.

But seriously though, that model had a lot of flaws:
*People could buy, copy over the mods, get refund and then still have the mods working
*Modders didn't get the whole or even most of the revenue from their work
*Modder's that backed out couldn't take thier mod off entirely because of the mod bundle.
*People could essentially steal others work for a short time anyway and in turn quite a few modders felt the need to hide their files.
Last edited by TWINKEYRUNAWAY on Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby THEWULFMAN » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:56 pm

If they want to be serious about this, invert the percentages. 25% for Bethesda+Valve, 75% to the modder. They claim they want modders "to work on their mods full time if they wanted to" but that's not feasible with what is essentially a 75% income tax.

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Re: Paid Mods on Steam

Postby TWINKEYRUNAWAY » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:59 pm

What you're saying now is like saying "I think baseball players should find a job that incorporates their physical talents, like ditch-digging or construction, instead of trying to be paid for playing a game."


I was not even attempting to get to that at all sir. I think if someone wants to get paid for something, they get a legitimate job (Someone working for or inside a company). Modder's only got 25% and even then, they had to make over $400 dollars before they could see a penny. That doesn't seem beneficial at all to the modder in my opinion.
Last edited by TWINKEYRUNAWAY on Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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