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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Skyrim Paid Mod Fiasco

The fiasco surrounding Valve's new Paid Mod system on Steam(which started with Skyrim mods) is a hot topic since they announced this new system. Some people supports the idea but disagrees with some aspects of it while others hate the concept of paying for mods. But what is at the core of this chaos? who is to blame here? let's try to analyze the situation.

For the players, the down side is pretty clear in that some of the mods they used to install will now cost money to use. This will set up a bad precedent going forward as more and more mod creators tempted to make some money will just sell their mods instead of distributing it for free. Why? because the option is there. While there will be some mod creators who felt that the player's gratitude is enough there will be those who want to make money from their work. On the other side however, players can expect better quality mods and better support for mods they have paid for. This new system is also an easier way to donate to your favorite mod maker.

Some player expresses their concern that mods will be sold in ridiculous prices. While there will be some mod creators who are greedy enough to ask a ridiculous amount of money for a sword skin at the end of the day the market will decide for themselves. Mods with ridiculous prices will not be popular and those that are fair and worth the money will have better rating(remember that there are still rating system for the mods).

For the mod creators this is a way to make money from their hobby. While yes, it is great if a mod creator release his/her mods for free the fact of the matter is that creating these mods takes time and effort, those two definitely worth something don't you think? This paid mod system will enable them to do what they like and get rewarded for it. But even as a way to support mod creators the system as it currently is is more of a way for Bethesda and valve to make money. Why? because only 25% of the revenue is actually given to the mod creator. So as a way to support mod creators I think putting a PayPal donation link is much more beneficial for them instead of this.

The benefits of this system for Bethesda is pretty clear, as they and Valve get 75% of the revenue. In my opinion, this is clearly despicable as not only they get to make money by doing nothing, they shit on mod creators too while they're at it. Some might say that the mod creators are benefiting on Bethesda's creation but I believe it is the other way around. Skyrim is still being played until today not just because of its own content but because of the various mods that are available to it. Heck, the mod support is one of the selling point of Skyrim in the first place. By saying that the mod creators are the ones who benefited from Skyrim and not the other way around is just arrogance and a spit on the faces of mod creators everywhere.

Same goes for Valve as they are the "mastermind" behind this system. As if the latest changes concerning region lock isn't bad enough, Valve continues to dig a deeper hole for themselves. It is clear now that Valve is no longer the "benevolent champions of PC gaming"(in fact it has been a long time since they have proven that it is wrong). They made more and more anti-consumer decision and their customer support are as useless as ever. More people have also reported that they have been banned because of voicing their concerns. Dick move Valve, dick move.

This new system even took control away from mod creators if they chose to pull their mod out of sale. As one of the mod creators have stated in this Reddit post. What Valve is doing now is clear, they are more interested in making money from these transactions rather than making a better mod community for the game. While there are certainly benefits to this system for the modding community, that is a secondary compared to the money.

What should be done then? While players are clearly upset considering the petition to shut the system down has gained more and more support every day I don't think shutting down the system entirely is the correct choice. As I said and plenty of people will also agree, the system has a potential to improve Skyrim's modding scene. However the system as it is now does not benefit the mod creators and are mostly a way for Valve and Bethesda to gain more money while the mod creators will only gain a small amount for their effort, not to mention the multitude cases of mod theft where people upload and sell mods that they did not make.

Valve should do an overhaul of their paid mod system and give mod creators more share to really incentivize the modding community to create better mods and get paid in an amount that is worth their effort. Because seriously, Valve and Bethesda have already gained enough profit from Skyrim sales anyways. Asking 75% of the mod sales revenue is just an example of greedy corporate practice.

TL;DR: The system has potential but it needs a rework. Mod creators should get more than 25%(IMO it should be at least 75% while Valve and Bethesda get 25% in total) and the system should probably just allow only "pay what you want" model instead of forcing people to pay. A consumer-friendly system will make people more willing to pay and everyone can profit by number of sales alone.

1 comment:

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