By AndyLonn 3 Comments
The last few days I've borne witness to three things: Valve announced their new take on the Steam Workshop, Then I saw gamers reacting to this, and lastly Gabe Newell appearing on a Reddit AMA where he defended their stance and reassured gamers that the quality of the product came first, and if their vision for the Workshop didn't work, it would be scrapped.
As far as I understand, their new vision was to allow the developers behind Mods that appear on the Workshop to make money off of their hard work. This way Valve also hoped to bring the quality of the mods to new heights. I've seen some pretty impressive mods in my day, and I know a lot of gamers have gotten extra mileage out of games, like Skyrim for instance, through modifications so this is something I'm all for, at least in concept.
From what I've read on the matter, it seems that Valve and the developer/publisher of the games the mods are made for will take a 75% cut, leaving 25% for the mod developer. At first this struck me as odd and unfair but after some thought I'm definitely more open to this idea.
Valve owns the platform where these games and mods are distributed, so of course they get a cut, The developer/distributor owns the game where the modifications fit in, so they should get a cut too. Had the mod developer gotten the majority or all of the profits from the mods, it would put the developer/distributor in a weird place where they were allowing someone to make money of their the product they themselves own and not seeing a cut of it.
For instance, lets take a look at Just Cause 2. Before the multiplayer modification came out this game had run its course in the sales market. It was being sold for a couple of bucks on Steam quite regularly. Then came the modification and the sales skyrocketed, but the price remained unaltered. Had the mod developer been allowed to take lets say 10-15 bucks for each copy of the modification that was installed, the Mod developer would earn quite the payday and the distributor would have been left in the dust,
Sure they would have made money, but not as much as they could have, and definitely not as much as they would like. So had this actually been a real scenario, then I would think the publishers would be less likely to put their games on sales, which would ruin one of the great things about being into PC gaming.
By allowing the mod developer to earn some money off of their products, even if it isn't more than 25%, Valve and the publishers are creating a "mod scene" where the mod developers actually can sustain their development and get a chance to hone their skills. And who knows, maybe these mod developers are the ace game developers of tomorrow.
If by the next time I am in the market of backing a game on Kickstarter I could see in the credentials of the developer that they had made a mod that I or some of my friends liked, I know atleast I would be more inclined to back that project.
There are pitfalls of course, Some will try to release unusable mods on the workshop to make money off of, and some sleazebags will release mods they've stolen from some poor developer. But if we all pull together and actively report cases we think are sketchy then this might not be as big of a problem as it potentially could be.
As long as Steam Workshops Pay-For-Mods plan doesn't supplant the guys that wants their mods to be free, then I see no problem with the solution Valve has presented us with, Sure the mod developers could get a bit more for their work. 33% somehow seems better. But in the end it is up to Valve and the IP holder to decide the terms. They are the ones who are allowing a third party to make money on a product that is by design useless without the product they own. So in closing, I'd say I'm pretty enthusiastic towards the future of this thing, whatever it ends up being
Any comment I give on the matter is of course my subjective opinion and I don't expect everyone to agree with me. Do you have another take on the situation or do you think I've missed something? Sound off in the comments.