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Steam Puts Mods Behind a Paywall, Massive Backlash Follows

| April 23, 2015

Steam Puts Mods Behind a Paywall, Massive Backlash Follows News PC Gaming  Valve Steam PC GAMES mods

What have you done, Valve? What were you thinking? You have taken something sacred to the PC community and put it behind a paywall in a move more akin to EA or Ubisoft. I’m sorry. I’m getting ahead of myself. If you have yet to hear the news, Steam has opened up the Steam Workshop to paid mods, starting with Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Maybe the idea of people getting paid for their work doesn’t sound like much on the surface level, but this is the next huge (misdirected) step for the gaming industry. We’ve seen demos nearly all but disappear without opening our wallets to grab the game it’s attached to and betas have become a money-sucking “Early Access” scheme. Paying for mods, a previously passion-fueled community service, is not sitting well with PC gamers and I can’t blame a single one of them for being upset.

Steam has loosely integrated this new system in Skyrim’s Steam Workshop, with some content surpassing the game’s current $4.99 price point. Are we expected to pay more (if at all) for unofficial content than Bethesda’s game itself? It would seem so. Because Valve is letting creators set their own prices. The issue here is that the whole system is completely unprotected, leaving the user to reap any consequences that may follow a purchase. We have already seen AAA developers release half-finished titles and now we are supposed to put our faith in a part-time modder? I don’t mean to discredit the work of these people. They have crafted some truly awe-inspiring content and experiences thus far. And it’s not to be assumed that they don’t deserve compensation for their work. Why not allow for donations then?

This is why. Creators receive a meager 25% of revenue gained from their creations, with Valve and the game’s publisher/developer to split the majority remainder. Sure, it has been argued that this could provide incentive for developers to offer official modding tools, but I feel the cons immensely outweigh the pros. The inclusion of paid mods is an idea lazily slapped into Steam’s established setup for quick money. Steam is at zero risk here. Your money is what is at risk. Should a mod not work properly, you have 24 hours to receive a full refund. However, without any real regulation of creators, mods could become incompatible after games patches/updates and you, the consumer, is the one who is going to take the hit. So, what does Valve expect you to do in a situation like this? The company believes “it is best to post politely on the Workshop item’s page and let the mod author know the details of what you are seeing.”

Already claims are sprouting up that people are taking advantage of the system, charging for content they did not create. And our best solution to combat dishonest opportunists should we miss out on the short 24-hour window is to kindly ask for a fix. Does that really make you feel comfortable when it’s your hard-earned cash on the line? An upstanding modder might quickly respond and work on a fix, but the tweaks and additions these people offer are often side projects and not full-time jobs. So fixes could be pushed down the road indefinitely.

The whole incident is spiraling out of control on both sides fast. Reddit is filling with threads stating that mods allowing donations in lieu of paid content are being removed. Others are saying that even those speaking out against paid mods are receiving bans. People have already begun taking matters into their own hands by purchasing mods, extracting the modified files, receiving a refund, and posting the contents to the net for all to utilize for free as they believe it should be. Needless to say, things are about to get much worse before the get better if Valve stands their ground on this.

Where do you stand on this heated topic? Sound off in the comments section below and let us know if paid mods are the future or if they should be abruptly abandoned.

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  • chris

    this is the worse thing to happen to PC gaming in a while :(

    • WRB

      The lack of the huge amazing games PC use to have was a big blow. PC hasn’t been the same since.

      • The PC Master Race

        PC gaming has every game, better than the consoles. POS4 has stutterborne and nothing else.

        You seem jealous of the master race

        • Guester

          Sure facts first.

          • The PC Master Race

            Molester you seem butthurt

        • lol @ PC ultra VS console

          I love how the picture you used is from a game that took almost 2 years longer to finally release on that piece of shit platform you cherish so much.

          Look at this PC minimum VS PS3/360. PS3 AND 360 I tell you! Freaking idiot PC dumb ass.

          • The PC Master Race

            That’s nice dearie. Now post PC Max Vs PS3 Vs 360 :^)

          • Allen

            lol look at you dumb ass douche. Basically we are proving that PC “can” be better than PS4 but that in order to do so you need a PC capable of hitting ultra settings.

            Other than that PC low = PS3/360 quality (cheap PC)

            PC High = PS4/Xbone

            PC Ultra = $$$$$$ and not worth it to many

            Oh and here you go for the one stop shop of all comparisons that is GTA V (you know the game that took 2 freaking years to finally come to PC lol)


          • The PC Master Race

            LOL PS4 is nowhere near PC High, loser.

            Also PS4 isn’t 60FPS. So not next gen either :^)

  • Country Boy Lucifer

    “Master Race” LOL

  • Why not make micropayments for steam as simple as here (disclaimer: it’s our company) Even if you were to charge smallest symbolic prices, so gamers and / developers can vote with their feet what they want to pay for and what not…

  • Whiskey Red Balls

    I love how the author of the article glances over the 12 years of payroll Xbox live and instead compares this to EA.

    Oh and I find this funny…like idiot pc trolls get what they deserve. I mean I love pc but these douche bags have made me happy for pc bad news…thanks ass holes.

    • The PC Master Race

      And yet you bent over when Sony did it and took it like the bottom feeding trash you are. Pathetic.

      By the way, PC Gamers like myself are protesting and not bending over like you did, loser :^)

      • Allen

        I hardly consider thousands of dollars of games a year for only $50 + huge sales & other exclusives “bending over”.

        That’s why idiot PC douche bags like you are the plague. The whole PC master race thing is a joke but you don’t get it. You see an opportunity to spread hate.

        I consider PS+ to be equal to steam sales considering the games come out to around $0.42ea or less. The key is to make sure Sony keeps up the high quality/newish free (super cheap or whatever) games.

        • banshee599

          You know what urkes me the most about this, the fact that Valve could have just added a “Donate” button next to the “Subscribe” button. But ooooohhh no that doesn’t make Valve money now does it? Valve’s truly starting to show it’s colours now.

        • The PC Master Race

          You really are pathetic garbage killing gaming. You honestly want to pay a subscription for a sale? Green Man Gaming gives me 25% off brand new releases just for being a loyal customer. I only pay half what console morons pay for games like Batman Arkham Knight and Project CARS. PC Gaming companies send me things for free and give me free games on services like GOG.

          You are so retardedly loyal you pay a subscription to access discounted games. You are the cancer and nothing more than a shill for a dying company.

          Not that I expect logic or intelligence from someone who thinks the POS4 and PC versions look the same.

          The human eye can’t see past 30 blades of grass, right?

          • NathGamer

            Aww, angry baby is angry.

          • Guester

            Still only bashing ps4? Keep up the useless fight facts

          • The PC Master Race

            xbone a shit
            PS4 a shit
            Both have no grass
            Wii U has games
            PC is the master race


          • Allen

            With Microsoft dropping the paywalls to basic features and making XBL valuable with free games the only plague of gaming are PC idiot douche bags like you that spread hate just because console hardware is set in stone.

            In the end you are just a dumb ass troll that probably doesn’t even have a high end gaming PC and even if you do you waste your days away ragging on 1080p native and solid 30 frames per second when not 60 frames per second. What exactly is the purpose? The answer….you are just a low life scum bag who hates himself and his life. Or you have a serious mental disability.

            Either way please seek some serious help. I’m serious…everything will be okay.

          • The PC Master Race

            Console hardware is garbage and holding back gaming.

            In the end you are just a moron who will bend over and take any sort of anti-consumer bullshit and underpowered consoles as long as it has a Sony logo.

            PC Gamers won. We told companies we didn’t want it and they complied. Meanwhile you bend over looking for Sony’s latest TVTVTV service and 720P VR headset and excuse the wikileaks files that showed Sony were astroturfing forums for their console and films. You are the pathetic scum and cancer upon gaming.

          • Allen

            PC gamers did a great job standing up for what is right. The internet is a powerful tool. It’s even a political tool. I love the internet community and how we shut the government down on multiple occasions to send a clear message. That’s the power and attitude PC gamers stood for.

            I stood for what was right too. I stood against worthless xbox live and paywalls to basic features. Sony had the brilliance to come out with PS+:

            (1) Highly valuable subscription service giving thousands of dollars of free games a year. If you say we pay then we pay far less than any steam sales I’ve seen, I’m sitting at about $0.42ea right now and we are talking about some major titles, many of which were on PC’s highest rated as well.

            (2) Sony’s subscription service is only tied to online play. If you choose not to you can still do everything else which voids any of your BS you are trying to say. There is so freaking much you can do on a PS3 and PS4 it’s crazy. It is the perfect entertainment system (all PS4 needs is DLNA support to equal that of the PS3).

            (3) PS+ is huge for publishers. It gives little known titles a chance to get their name out there. The games are available for a month, not all are going to remember to download so some that missed may buy because friends are talking about it. Others that enjoy will be hundreds of times more likely to buy a squeal just like me with Just Cause 3….2 looked like a GTA wanna be knock off so I never gave it a chance. Got 2 for free and instantly hooked and buying 3 as soon as it comes out.

            (4) Because of Sony, PS+ and those that supported PS+ Xbox live is now also valuable and no longer paywalls basic features. We no longer have to fear that all gaming platforms and internet browsers or such would paywall basic features behind a subscription. You are welcome.

            Now regarding hardware you are just such a moron it’s hard to talk to you. We are already seeing how optimization is helping to push more out of the consoles and that’s just going to continue. I’m still amazed at how good the PS3 looks and it’s only running on 500 mb of ram. Freaking amazing.

          • The PC Master Race

            So paying for online is OK because Sony does it?

            You really are a scumbag shill. You take anything because Sony does it. If Sony did DRM, and they will, You will defend it with your life.

            By the way, if there is so much “Muh optimizatuns”. Why isn’t GTA V running 60FPS on your POS4? Oh wait because it’s underpowered garbage that barely has a draw distance beyond a few feet while I can see miles ahead in full detail.

          • Allen

            My god you are one dense son of a bitch aren’t you?

            I pay for PS+ because:

            (1) It’s highly valuable. Giving me thousands of dollars a year in free games + exclusive beta’s & extras.

            (2) It introduces me to games I otherwise would never have given a chance. I have way more games that I ever had in my life with PS+. I don’t even have the hard drive space for them all there are so many.

            If PS+ doesn’t remain highly valuable I’ll drop it in an instant and go back to PC or maybe steam machine. But ever since I got my subscription I’ve been nothing but impressed.

          • The PC Master Race

            You are the dense son of a bitch paying for online multiplayer in the first place you deluded shill. You are the cancer killing gaming.

      • Guester

        You sure love your Xbox facts first

        • The PC Master Race

          xbone a shit
          PS4 a shit too

  • The PC Master Race

    Deserved backlash. No one should stand for this. Especially the paltry cut the modders get. Should open a donation button through Steam Wallet for creators on workshop.

    • tasslehoff

      I gotta pay listen too me cry.

      • Jay

        Sounds like we already are. Irony, never fails to amuse.

    • tasslehoff

      Why ask for donations cheap skates like you wouldn’t donate.

  • xxhighcxx

    One more paywall for things that are supposedly “free” on PC. This does not surprise me at all.

  • TheManWithABigToe

    I have no problem with this. These mods are not just appearing out of nowhere, they are being made by ordinary people that take time out of their lives to make content for some of the best games out there.

    • Billy Brenders

      Exept these ordinary people only get a meager 25 percent. Also i know a modder and he wanted to take down his mod on the steam workshop after wich steam replied that he can’t because it ain’t his property anymore and if he wants to take it down he needs to get a lawyer.

      • TheManWithABigToe

        Valve runs the show.

        • Billy Brenders

          Valve won’t in the near future if they keep this up ;)

  • Diabin Pien


  • NathGamer

    Ma$ter Race

  • Jeremy Mott

    I don’t pay to go into theaters, and I don’t pay to go into museums. I don’t pay for printed copies of magazines or newspapers, and I’m not going to pay for this. What do you take me for — some kind of sucker? Everything ought to be free. Period

  • ohdatlass

    I personally feel Gabe was a bit vilified in his AMA. He likely isn’t up to date with all the details of this project and did it in an airport lobby while getting updates from frantic employees.

    But Gabe’s response to how successful things like DOTA/CS/TF would have been if they had been paywalled, namely that they wouldn’t have been, is telling. He understands that enforced paywalls can hurt mods and that isn’t the way things should go for PC Modding.

    Other responses of his in the AMA, like Valve shouldn’t arbitrary it’s will on Devs to force community wants but will call them out on their stupidity gives me hope that Valve will try to snark a bit of sense into Devs if they go too far with paid Modding.

    Valve is the 500lb Gorilla and easy to throw rocks at for fun, but they’re not completely evil here. Bethesda is the one that set the profit split.

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