The Jimquisition: So Let’s Talk About Mods Being Sold On Steam

UPDATE: Welp, this video’s outta date now!

There was no way we couldn’t talk about this one today – in fact, I don’t think I’ve had a more requested topic! Valve recently allowed modders to start selling their work through its Workshop, a move that has ignited comment sections, social media, and Steam itself. It’s chaos out there!

So let’s wade into the discussion and try to weigh the pros against the cons, shall we? Forewarning… there are a LOT of potential cons.

ATBro
Guest
ATBro

This is all emblematic of Valve’s spiral around the drain. They do so little these days to actually earn the respect that they have from the community, but none the less seem to have in spades. Every single thing they do is strictly for the Benjamins, without variation, and when there are clear problems with what they have made, they put zero effort into fixing them… because there is no incentive in it for them.

Buzzwords
Guest
Buzzwords

I can respect steam for trying to find an avenue to get modders paid if that’s really the motivation here. Gabe said it himself in an AMA on reddit. “working at waffle house doesn’t help you make better games” but this is so poorly executed that it’s hard for me to take that sentiment at face value. Why NOT just have a donate button attached to every mod that donates to the modder? hell, even if steam continues to take a cut, for hosting or whatever, is that not infinitely better? I realize that this is similar to the “pay… Read more »

Zippydsmlee
Guest

If they are going to do that they are going to need a new less limited SDK for Skyrim. Over than that a pay what you want setup would be best….

Zhan Liao
Guest
Zhan Liao

The part that really worries me about this is that, when asked by the owner of the Nexus website whether Gabe Newell could guarantee that Valve would prevent mods only being allowed in the workshop or the paid workshop, is response was basically “We can’t really tell publishers what to do. Best we can do is tell them we think that’s dumb.” Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/33uplp/mods_and_steam/cqomf2t?context=3 I mean, can we trust developers and publishers not to do something like this? To prevent mods out of the workshop from working with their games, or to even begin attempting to take down sites that… Read more »

Tao
Guest
Tao

Woohoo! Konami is dead!!
http://www.siliconera.com/2015/04/27/konami-delisted-new-york-stock-exchange/

*plays happy music*
Think they’ll sell off IP like THQ?

Dave Dogge
Guest
Dave Dogge

Steam Modders get 25% or so which aint bad but it aint great. I agree with the complexities of this as sometimes mods are build on other developer’s mods so the royalties issues will be a pain. As for Konami, I don’t know really, they were a hallmark of excellence since the 1980s but what on Earth is going on ? cancelling one of their biggest franchises with Silent Hill / PT etc and then breaking off relations with the founding creator of MGS, if I was a main shareholder in that company I would be taking names and cracking… Read more »

Shjade
Guest
Shjade

Excellent summation, without even touching on the outright fraud of people posting mods they didn’t create for sale as their own.

“A shitshow” indeed.

Plips
Guest
Plips

I must say I really liked this idea when I first heard it but a lot of the cons to offering mods for money were things I had not considered. I hadn’t considered the original devs of a game getting a cut of the mod profits and I don’t like the idea of that. We already paid the devs for their work on the main game and while, with some games, I don’t mind the idea of tossing a few more bucks towards the original devs, in the instances you spoke of where a mod adds crucial fixes to the… Read more »

Sanlumiere
Guest

The clear, and fair, solution here is a “pay what you want” model. There is plenty of reasoning for this: 1) People who are likely to want to mod a game, are likely quite invested in that game (I mean outside of getting all the boobs to show up in Skyrim or whatever slightly less serious mods people download for their own… “edification”) – Sims players who get in to downloading mods are pretty serious about that game, and put more than enough hours in to the game that it is not a great stretch to imagine they would throw… Read more »

fire_drake
Guest
fire_drake

I thought that this was a good idea on paper… Then I remembered Greenlight and the poor Quality Control STEAM has and got me worried.

kimiyoribaka
Guest
kimiyoribaka

The more I hear about Valve, the more the I think their biggest problem is not having anyone with problem planning skills. Besides the problems with their games taking too long, they keep starting up new cool features for Steam before they’ve worked out the problems they already know are going to come up. If they understand what’s wrong with Steam (as Gabe Newell has has stated on reddit in no uncertain words), then they should fix the issues before expanding their services to new things with the same issues.

Quality Pie
Guest
Quality Pie

The answer to “What if a game update breaks a mod you payed for and the author fails to support it?” strikes me to similar to the question of “What happens to a GAME if, say, an OS update breaks the game and the developers fails to support it”: *crickets*.

This is a reality of PC gaming that players have dealt with and tolerated for years. Extending this pitfall to the MODing community doesn’t strike me as a particularly persuasive objection.

Polar
Guest
Polar

I’m curious, which video got Jim Sterling Blacklisted by Konami?
Thanks for reading.

ChrisTX
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ChrisTX

I’m not even that mad about the 75% share they take. It’s their turf, they can set that share. What angers me about this is that Valve is praising this as a system to support modders (with 25%) and uses a pay-what-you-want system therefore. Pay-what-you-want? I’m sorry, but when I buy something on Humble Bundle with the same model I see whom I’m paying. Do you want to support that modder with 40 bucks because you like the mod so much or do you want to support Bethesda and Valve to earn 30 bucks and the modder 10 because you… Read more »

The Spearman
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The Spearman

Regarding the Steam marketplace being too large for effective policing, there are only about 80 project on Greenlight at any given time and they languish there for months. Valve is a 2 billion dollar company, hiring a 20 person team to make sure that the shit that gets pushed out meets some quality standards at $20 an hour isn’t really going to dent their market share. The economy still isn’t great, I support forcing those cheap f**** to create a few extra jobs AND allow the people who can’t exercise discretion when buying games to spend their hard-earned money on… Read more »

SilentPony
Guest
SilentPony

The question I would ask is if its fair to say if Steam and Bethesda are allowing modders to sell mods, is it implied those companies support the content of the mod? Porn mod comes out, and modders sell to 16 year old boys. Is it fair to say Bethesda and Steam support selling porn to underage children? After all, they sell the game and support the market. Or a horse fucking mod comes out, and they do nothing to censor or stop it. Is that support of bestiality? Steam IS selling it after all. Or a mod comes out… Read more »

Shuninta
Guest
Shuninta

Okay, first of all, let the dead homicidal horse rot. Second of all, I used to be a modder. Spend a lot of my life making free stuff for a game I loved. I had to stop because paying the bills got more important – if I had an easy way to monetize my work back then like it’s proposed now… I still probably wouldn’t have taken it, because it kind of sucks and I don’t want to be payed for my coding scraps. That said, if I were still making mods, I would stop right about now. The entitled,… Read more »

Yaro
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Yaro

Im starting to believe that Valve is one huge entity that is supposed to teach us something. They dont police their stores or workshops. They let us, the consumers decide what is worth money and what isnt. Honestly, I like that about Valve. They let anyone put up stuff, they allow them to do so, but its the consumers that decide if they are worth anything. It will sort itself out sooner or later.

Fazan
Guest
Fazan

Modmakers deserve to turn a profit, at least for some of the mods they make, that’s very much true. I don’t think paywalling their mods is the way to do this, however. Cosmetic mods like piss water aside, what do we do about game-altering mods? “Hey, BUY this, it’s a +100 sword of awesomeness that I maxed out all the stats on.” What about mods for multiplayer games? I’m a fan of Payday 2, a co-op heist-themed shooter where “cheating” is a hot-button issue. Outright hacks to put yourself at max level aside, there’s a lot of grey are with… Read more »

Cindipool
Guest
Cindipool

I’ve been arguing back and forth about this with some associates on Skype for the last few days, and while I do see the potential for it all to go horribly wrong, I do think it’s a bit soon to declare the whole thing a terrible, terrible idea that should be killed at birth. Yes, Valve and the publisher are taking a rather large cut. Yes, what many people regard as a necessity to play the game properly (something I’ve never thought, incidentally) may now cost us additional cash over the game itself. And yes, the whole thing might get… Read more »

Exley97
Guest
Exley97

The “mods as additional DLC” commentary was SPOT ON. The day when PC games patches and fixes get turned into “mods” for sale is coming, guys. Just wait….

Ushio
Guest
Ushio

There have already been cases of modder’s removing there free content because other people have been re-uploading it as paid and this new thing is only a few days old.

Honestly ever since early access and greenlight Valve has turned to shit allowing far too many scam artists to try to rip off people.

It’s getting worse than the android store!

ion
Guest
ion

How will a modder decide if their mods are worth paying money for? I mean, whats to stop me making a mod for Skyrim and charging money for it and then someone else making the same mod and giving it away for free?

I think there needs to be some price policing because people don’t know what things are worth. You could get some great mods, that people would have payed money for but are being given away for free, and then get a load of chancers charging money for shit that you couldn’t give away.

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

The saddest thing about this is that many of the modders truly deserve some compensation for their time and effort. Have you seen some of the HD mods for Minecraft? That stuff takes time, skill, and dedication- and it’s the more basic facet of modding. I applaud people who do things like the “realistic water” mods for Skyrim, or the general gameplay overhauls that make a good game great- and the fact that they willingly, happily (as opposed to begrudgingly) distribute them for free should tell you something. But I can’t help agreeing with Jim on this one; there’s just… Read more »

Ootmians
Guest
Ootmians

Yep, this this this this. Anyone who doesn’t believe this will just result in less content for more money hasn’t paid attention to the game industry over the last few years. As with Early Access, DLC, Season Passes, Freemium, Preorders and all the other seemingly good ideas that have just resulted in unfinished games with their hands out all the time.

I do support paying what you want to support great work by actual gamers doing work the developer should have. As long as it doesn’t just create a funnel of more income to the developer to reward that behavior.