Well, that didn’t take long.
After a highly controversial move that allowed Skyrim mods to be sold on the Steam Workshop, Valve has reversed course. All paid mods have been removed from the Workshop, and those who paid for any mods will be refunded.
The confirmation comes from Valve employee Alden Kroll, who says the decision was made with Bethesda’s blessing. Here’s an excerpt from his post explaining why paid mods have been removed:
“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.”
The original decision to allow paid mods on Steam set off a firestorm in the PC gaming community. It was so controversial that Valve CEO Gabe Newell responded via a post on Reddit to defend the program, but was instead flooded with negative comments and downvotes. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.
So now that paid mods are gone from Steam, what are your thoughts? Is there a future in putting game mods behind a paywall, or did Valve and Bethesda make the right decision by listening to the community?