Yesterday Steam has announced and introduced a new feature to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s Workshop; the ability to sell mods. Currently this feature is restricted to Skyrim, but it’s only a matter of time before it spreads over other games that have Steam Workshop enabled and integrated.
After reading hundreds of comments on Reddit, Steam Workshop comment section of paid mods and talking it through with couple of friends, this is my opinion on the new feature as is:
KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for modders to get paid in exchange for all their hard work, provided that their mod provides decent amount of content (e.g. Falskaar) or makes noticeable changes to the game (e.g. SkyUI).
I’m against the current system as it is, because it allows abuse, is misleading and is taking advantage of modders that will decide to make their mod a paid one. I’m also against the fact that in Skyrim’s case, some of us might end up having to spending hundreds of dollars or we’ll have to resort to piracy in order to keep playing with our favourite mods and keep them updated to their latest version.
Despite the system being completely new, it doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s very easy to abuse. Anyone can upload a mod and charge for it. This will result in many people uploading modders mods and profit off them as long as the original author doesn’t submit a DMCA notice to Steam in order to take the mod down or remove the monetization.
With the 24h refund policy, nothing is stopping us from buying the mod, saving its files and then demanding a refund on the grounds that the mod wasn’t what we expected it to be or that it conflicts with our existing arrangement of mods.
Steam is claiming that with the purchase of the mod we’re supporting the author of it, but that’s somewhat of a bullshit, the author only gets 25% of the total price of the mod. This means that we’re mostly supporting Steam and the developer of the game that we already paid for. This is clearly taking advantage of modders who might have spent hours working on their mods and just want some compensation for their mods.
What needs to be changed
The big thing that needs to be changed is the cut that the modders get. I think that it should be at least 60%, because the current cut of 25% is absurd and frankly insulting. Giving the modders a bigger cut will also justify the statement which claims that we’re supporting the modders with our purchase.
The payment system also has to be changed. Provide us with an optional donation button which will allow us to support the modders that we truly want to give our support to. Another way would be to keep the current system, but allow us to choose any amount of money in order to buy the mod instead of being forced to choose among predefined amounts which can sometimes be ridiculous (e.g. $1 for a single weapon).
This new Steam Workshop’s feature doesn’t really affect me at this time, because I get all of my mods from NexusMods. Despite this feature not affecting me right now, I have a feeling that it will affect everyone if we allow it to remain in its current stage. Hopefully we can stop Steam and Lord GabeN from ruining the only thing that made PC gaming superior to console gaming.