The Internet went crazy the past week after the introduction of paid mods on Steam. This controversial decision spawned responses from both game developers and mod developers alike, the general consensus being that it was a bad choice. Now, it seems Valve has listened to its customer base and removed the functionality altogether.
Valve employee Alden Kroll confirmed on a public announcement that after discussion with Bethesda, Valve is going to remove the new functionality from Steam Workshop, refunding every customer who has paid for a mod.
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.
Kroll added that Valve’s main goals were to allow mod developers the opportunity to work on their mods full time, and to encourage developers to provide better support to their mod communities. Stepping into a “established, years old modding community” however made them “miss the mark pretty badly.”
The backlash on this new feature generated a change.org petition that drew 34,000 signatures in a day, and multiple mod entries submitted as protest, such as Protest sign:No paying for mods which currently stands at 10941 ratings, averaging out to a five star rating.
On April 27, Bethesda made a public statement regarding their position, mentioning how although they believe most mods should be free, they also believe content creators deserve to be rewarded.
In our early discussions regarding Workshop with Valve, they presented data showing the effect paid user content has had on their games, their players, and their modders. All of it hugely positive. They showed, quite clearly, that allowing content creators to make money increased the quality and choice that players had. They asked if we would consider doing the same.
They indicate their understanding of the implications paid mods could have, whether they are good or bad, and how they think their community knows best, and as such, it ends up being the community who decides how modding should work.
Bethesda has since updated their statement to mention the removal of the new feature.
This is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you.
You can read Valve’s announcement here.
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