I suppose you could file this under "another sign that the end times are upon us." Or you could file it under "people who might put in hundreds of hours of work on something might now be able to support themselves while doing so." Kinda depends on your perspective, I guess.
OK, so the shadowy organization known as Valve sent out an update today to inform the world that the Steam Workshop for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim now has support for paid mods. If they so choose, mod creators can set a price, or even a range of prices, and start charging for their work. Personally, I'm still a little shocked that people still care about Skyrim mods, but if you think about it, that segment of people may very well be the sort of crowd that doesn't like to buy a lot of games and instead tries to get zillions of hours out of one product. Like kids, for example. They don't have their own money! They're kids! Right?
Or, at least, I hope they're kids. The idea of fully formed adults posting the predictable slew of pasted-in ASCII middle fingers that seems to be shitting up the comments section for some of these paid mods is a little disconcerting. Here's a fun screenshot of said slew!
I suppose I should state for the record here that I love ASCII middle fingers.
Anyway, I go back and forth on this. On one hand, the people who create huge, sweeping mods for games probably spend a whole lot of time on that stuff. And if they can be compensated for that work, that sounds kind of cool. But, considering this is Steam, it'll probably go the route of Greenlight and it'll fill up with garbage. Maybe we'll see dirtbags trying to charge 20 bucks for "remove all weight limits" mods or some bullshit like that. Valve seems to have anticipated the potential for abuse on the creator end, and has instituted a 24-hour return policy on all paid mods. Of course, that money goes into your Steam Wallet, and not your bank account, so the money is still trapped up in Valve's system.
Considering that the only Skyrim mods I would be interested in would be ones that would insert Randy Savage or other unlicensed properties into the game, and those are still technically not allowed into the Steam Workshop in the first place, this whole thing seems somewhat benign at the moment. But let's wait and see what happens when other games jump into the circle, which Valve says will happen "in the coming weeks." I bet Cities: Skylines is one of them. The Workshop support has been one of that game's biggest boons, and I bet some of the people crafting new buildings in that Workshop would be interested in doing that for a bit of money.
Skyrim mods are certainly still popular, right? I guess I have to believe that they are, because would these chuckleheads still be doing a "Top 5 Skyrim Mods of the Week" video series if people weren't still watching it? And people wouldn't watch it if they weren't still interested in Skyrim mods... right? OK, maybe I'm digging too deep. I'm going to punch out before I get too close to the truth or something.
Uh... OK, I think this poll widget is mainly for use on Comic Vine, but let's test it out and see if it works over here, too. Like I said, I kinda go back and forth on this. It's one of those "realities of the world" vs. "the kid in me wants everything to be free always and let's never change anything ever because change is scary" sort of situations in my head. Anyway, try voting and let's see where you stand. Think it over!