We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming To Bring You…


If you’ve been on the Nexus lately, you may have already heard about it (there was a news post about it). Same if you gone on Steam Workshop. But even if you know of it, I’m telling you anyway…

Possessed by Corporate Greed, Valve and Bethesda have announced that, starting today, mod authors can upload paywalled mods- as in, there’s a fee to download the mod- anywhere from $0.25 to $99. Because it Valve and Bethesda, it’s safe to assume that they’re getting a hefty cut of each purchase.

Especially if this, which I found on their Payments FAQ page, is any indication:

Q. Is there a minimum revenue I must earn before I can receive a payment?
A. Yes. There are costs associated with issuing each individual payment as well as potential bank fees charged to you upon receiving money that make it prohibitive to pay out for small amounts of money. Therefore, we may hold your payment until a minimum of $100 payout is earned.

If you’re interested you can find out more here.

Oh, also, If you’re like me and you’re all like “WTF Bethesda/Valve?!” there’s a petition on Change.org you can sign, if you’re so inclined.

Questions? Comments? Rotten Tomatoes? Post Them Below! Wait, never mind, scratch that. Kris created a thread, so post all comments here instead.

16 thoughts on “We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming To Bring You…”

    1. I would imagine putting this mod up for a paid platform would be really hard to do. If Kris would like payment, then voice actors would like payment as well, which would mean he’d have to pay these VAs. I’m not saying VAs don’t deserve payment, but at the same time I highly doubt the amount of money made from Interesting NPCs from the Steam Workshop will be equal to the amount of compensation they’ve earned. Kris would be at a steep loss. Also there’s nothing stopping a person from saying “I don’t want my voice being used in your paid mod,” or “I want a cut of the profits every time my voice is bought,” thus causing the mod to be taken down and rehashed with all new voice acting. Who knows how long that will take to complete. And all the while people will be complaining and filing false claims of abuse and the only one who will take the fall is Kris.

    1. I don’t even … wha … I am SO angry right now and I signed the petition right away. This just can’t be happening. This is wrong on so many levels. First, that the companies try to make money out of other people’s work, and that these other people hardly get anything for themselves. Greedy fucking bastards. Is there a shitstorm somewhere that I can partake in? I mean one that Valve/Bethesda are going to READ because it’s on their sites or something? YouTube comment sections do not count.

      Also, if they start charging for Skyrim mods, many rather short-sighted potential mod authors might be looking to make quick money and upload (copied/stolen) skimpy armor mods to the workshop and charge 50c for them. And then when their mod breaks someone’s game, the users have an actual claim for quality because they paid for it, so the general tone in the modding community will become even more aggressive and demanding. You just can’t make people PAY to break their games because they don’t know how to properly install mods. Imagine the Nexus crowd for 3DNPC alone having a monetary claim for the support team (by the way, sorry Numeriku that I haven’t been showing up lately; Skyrim is just further and further away for me each day) to fix their issues. Sheesh that is going to be hell.

      That’s also going to create a whole new form of piracy because people sure as hell won’t be willing to pay for their skimpy armor mods. Those who ARE willing (and able) already do pay via donations. I do not mean to say that mod authors should not receive compensation for their time and effort, just that the current, non-obligatory system to do that is a whole lot better than paid mods. We’ve got enough paid DLC as it is.

      In the case of Skyrim there’s always the Nexus. But what if people stop uploading their mods there because now they can get TEH MONEYZ for them if they make them Workshop-exclusive? What if this trend of milking modders for even more money starts spreading to other games where there is no active modding community outside the Workshop? This is seriously bad news. Really, really bad. Apparently the quasi-monopoly on a majority of PC games isn’t enough for Valve, now they gotta tap the one untapped source as well. This might well make me hate Steam more than Origin, and that’s saying something.

  1. The potential for abuse is off the charts here. What happens when someone’s free mod is made available as part of a larger mod behind a paywall or a mod behind a paywall is offered free as part of a larger free mod? What happens when a mod stops working and the modder refuses to sink any more time into it? Will there be a refund? Who’s refunding the money, the modder or valve? Where is the money refunded to? The steam wallet? Would it get refunded at all if it’s past the 24h grace period?

    The argument “injection of money into the system would encourage quality” is nonsense. Quality is a question of talent and engagement. Monetization is not going to magically turn up new talented individuals that are engaged with the game and its community. The kind of people it does attract would be far more interested in turning a quick buck. Scams are going to become a huge headache both for modders and fans. Projects that previously survived on goodwill and mutual trust/respect are going to get torn to shreds and frozen as people argue whether the mod should be monetized or not or how the monetization should be split (Fingers crossed ‘Beyond Skyrim’ continues without any hickups). I can understand modders feeling entitled to be paid for their efforts. They spend a lot of man hours and cash out of their pockets to create this content. For this, a simple “donate here” button would work wonders, garnering both goodwill and money. But of course valve/bethesda wanted in on that sweet money pie. The potential for an almost unlimited revenue stream for doing absolutely nothing? The boardrooms must have been swimming in saliva. The corporate greed and money grubbing tactics on display here is almost sickening, grabbing a 75% tithe for their content? Refusing to pay out until quotas are met? It would be the icing on the shit cake if the money is paid into the steam wallet and not the actual bank account.
    Modding requires good word of mouth to succeed and gain attention. The only reason its so easy to discern between quality mods is because they are free to download play, allowing thousands of separate opinions to crystallize rapidly. Once mods get placed behind a paywall the buyer must obtain prior knowledge about the mod from people that have already bought it and played it. The question of whether it works as indicated or not becomes a question of trust, how much do you trust that one reviewer? Enough to put your money on the line? Often times mods interact unpredictably with mods that are already installed. This sort of individualized knowledge is not something that can be gleamed from a youtube review and must be experimented with personally. The new pricing system effectively kills this experimentation.
    Valve and Bethesda in their infinite “wisdom” (read greed) might probably be signing the death knell on quality modding.

  2. I don’t mind the modders having the option to sell their mods if they wish to, wether you want to buy is always up to you, and there will always be (the vast majority of) modders sharing their work for free just because they want it to be experienced by many. However recieving only a 25 % cut is a bit ridiculous. What I’m afraid of is that this is only the first step towards eliminating free modding, as in asking you to pay Bethesda/Valve every time you install even a mod the author wants to distribute for free.

    1. This.
      I am not happy about the whole thing, but I don’t mind paying a few bucks for a good mod.
      I absolutely refuse to feed even more money to Bethesda (who made shittons more because of modding) or even Steam. Fuck that.
      If I am to spend say €3 on a mod, I’d rather give the whole sum directly to an author.

  3. Honestly, I’m uneasy about the whole development. Valve is going about this all wrong. Bethesda is going about this all wrong. Valve gets 75% of the money? How can they justify that!

    I believe a lot of stress would be alleviated if the Steam Wallet could be swapped out for real cash. The game Second Life has a system set up where they have an in-game currency that can be used to purchase items and services from user run stores. Players can make their own mods and services and price them however they want for Lindins (L$). This in-game currency can then be exchanged for real money and vice versa. It’s been awhile since I’ve been on Second Life, but the last time I visited the going exchange rate was 250 Lindins was equal to 1 US dollar. A business model like this could work for Steam, especially if it’s related to refunds.

    I’m not against mod authors getting paid for their work. I’m against Valve getting such a huge chunk of the profits, especially since they didn’t even make the damn game. They didn’t do anything! They gave a platform to sell the game, and they let people use their “plug & play” installer. That’s it. Bethesda should have just cut the fat (Valve) from the meat (their game, their community) and set up their own system.

  4. Just got back from watching basketball and….


    Which is to say, I don’t know any of the facts, and so I don’t have an opinion. But my gut reaction is to wait a couple weeks until everyone’s knees stop jerking. I will say it looks like something that’s more relevant to sole creators and/or small groups, and as a result, is more or less irrelevant to the mods offered here.

  5. Well, I won’t be be tempted to try Arissa the Wandering Rogue for the next game because of the sales tag. Most of the piddly mods created for the steam workshop will not even be tried because of this commercial disruption of the PC gaming world. Just hope they do not buy out the Nexus.

  6. This is a bit worrisome. As was already stated it feels like there is a lot of room for this to be abused and I also don’t agree with the “cut” they are getting. The saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to apply.

  7. $kyrim: Paid for Mods… I personally disagree with monetizing a passion for a game long abandoned by its publisher, but understand & accept that some mod creators have the right to charge in order to support their work if they wish. BUT:
    75% to Valve/Bethesda, 25% to the content creator is a complete disgrace. Those figures are balanced the wrong way around, you greedy, greedy misers. Really disappointed with Valve on this Profit > Community attitude.

    Communities put thousands of hours into large mods, Valve/Beth do not deserve free royalty money farmed from content creators, especially when that work is based of off previous modders efforts such as SKSE, SKYUI etc.

  8. I used to mod for the Sims — from my experience, the advent of pay-gated content will completely polarize the modding community.

    There will inevitably be people who upload paid mods elsewhere for free. Then the modders will get mad, and decide to pack up their toys and go home — but wait! They can’t, because Valve owns part of the content now, and it has to stay on the Workshop.

    A recipe for disaster, and I’m glad that the Nexus — despite their flaws — is going to remain free.

  9. Just want to point out the Nexus has taken this opportunity to update their donate to the author system, and its quite good. I’d suggest you update your mod, you might be surprised how many people will take advantage of the new system to help out Authors that have created genuinely fantastic content,

  10. I don’t think this will be as successful as Bethesda/Valve think it will. It’s already been seen with other games. The Sims series has had sites that charge for user-created mods as well as sites that supply them for free for a very long time. Some creators will want to do it one way and others will want to do it another way. Many of the free sites like Mod The Sims were very vibrant, busy communities with lots of great content even against The Sims Resource (a paid site) or the official Sims add-on store.

    And yes, there is a huge sticky ethical mess when it comes to paying for mods that were built on or rely on other people’s work (like anything that needs SKSE or SkyUI). This kind of makes me suspect that ethical modders who respect other modders’ work will just keep providing their stuff for free, or only sell a mod for money if it’s completely stand-alone.

    B/V probably has every right to do this because they aren’t forcing all modders to comply. But that will probably also be the thing that limits the money they can make off it because a lot of people will just choose not to get into the mess.

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