Steam Adds Support for Paid Mods

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Jeff

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Edited By Jeff  Staff
Would you pay for Dota swords or drop 49 cents for a hammer in a game full of weapons? I sure as hell wouldn't!
Would you pay for Dota swords or drop 49 cents for a hammer in a game full of weapons? I sure as hell wouldn't!

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!

No Caption Provided

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!

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rorie

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#1 rorie  Staff

The poll works! It is not exactly pretty though.

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Winternet

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#2  Edited By Winternet

Both aren't mutually exclusive, but yes, the End Times are upon us.

@rorie You're not exactly pretty though.

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conmulligan

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Poll!

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avantegardener

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I mean, no one is forcing you buy this additional content right? This isn't hiding the base content behind a pay wall and there are still plenty of free mods. It's clear from the examples I've seen, these paid for mods are of a pretty high standard, and have a lot of love poured into them. The market will soon discern the cost people are willing to pay.

Ironically I've haven't seen any horse armour yet.

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mechadude

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The poll should've had a "Both" option!

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hassun

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#6  Edited By hassun

Damn ASCII looks weird on GB.

As for paid mods, I have no problem with that. Not that all mods should cost money but I don't see anything wrong with quality and hard work being rewarded monetarily. Although that does mean those mods should be quality tested. Paying for something forces it to adhere to higher standards. When I pay for something I want it to work and KEEP working for the foreseeable future.

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/news/12454/?

That being said I'm more worried about how much Valve/Bethesda get out of this deal.

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poser

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Idk I guess I'm ok with this. I've always been of the mind that we should support content makers with actual money rather than forcing people to watch commercials or something shitty like that.

But I'm not gonna pay money for a freaking flaming sword or something. I want meaningful content.

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GhostHouse

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The real issue is that while its pay-what-you-want, there is a required minimum. Just making it an optional donation button or a free option would solve everything. That way people wouldn't pay for the shitty mods(thus less of them) and the quality ones would likely receive donations so that those authors would be supported and motivated to continue making more.

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Jeff

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#9 Jeff  Staff

@rorie said:

The poll works! It is not exactly pretty though.

Yeah, that's because I decided to shit it up with way-too-long answers. I'll take the blame on that one.

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poser

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The real issue is that while its pay-what-you-want, there is a required minimum. Just making it an optional donation button or a free option would solve everything. That way people wouldn't pay for the shitty mods(thus less of them) and the quality ones would likely receive donations so that those authors would be supported and motivated to continue making more.

Hey! I like your idea.

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gaminghooligan

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I would hope that most people have the basic reasoning to understand that paying 2 dollars for a suit of armor that someone custom made and put into a game isn't that big of a deal. Good for Valve for letting creators have a marketplace and good on Bethesda/ZeniMax for allowing them.

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mellotronrules

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#12  Edited By mellotronrules

i'll probably never touch this, so i have zero problems with it. i'm not being asked to pay for mods at gunpoint, it turns out.

if a dude in his apartment makes better maps than the devs with dlc, why shouldn't the dude get a taste?

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Zeik

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I guess I lean more toward the "people who spend hundreds of hours creating elaborate mods deserve the right to be compensated" side of things, but this certainly has plenty of room for abuse. I guess we'll see how things pan out.

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officer_falcon

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I didn't think Skyrim was still big enough to warrant such a change, let alone the reaction this is getting.

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ThunderSlash

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#15  Edited By ThunderSlash

I think it's a fine idea in theory, but this will probably attract those shady motherfuckers out there that are trying to make a quick buck.

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klragrmndfvrarg

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Posting what I said earlier again in the forum thread:

"Yeah this is an interesting move for sure. It's too early for the final verdict but my first impressions are positive I would say. This might potentially help raise the quality of the mods overall but I think it's going to come down to pricing on the modders' part. In any case, good for the modders, they deserve to get paid for their work considering the complexity of some of the stuff out there. Many of these people are clearly professionals.

But as @notnert427 pointed out, many people who use mods use them in bulks and while the donation idea sounds good on paper I doubt it would be enough to compensate the modders for their work as it would be too much to ask of a person to donate for all the mods they are using, which is why I'm speculating much of it will boil down the the price of the paid mods. If anything we can expect to see a rise in quality of the paid mods.

That being said, it is the most satisfying thing seeing all the knee-jerk reactions to this. Much like that Monument Valley DLC controversy-thingy and the mobile game's market it's all about set expectations. We'll see how this works out."

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visnes

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#17  Edited By visnes

Donations. Why not add donations?

I have no problem buying things that are good. But this just seems weird to me. The standard for those mods - that you pay for - will have to be of such quality that I wouldn't be able to distinguish them from official stuff.

But hey, this is capitalism at its finest. I won't be buying shit. But there are sure to be people who will.

Edit: Kinda shitty of Valve and Bethesda to take 75% of what they sell the mod for though.

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IanSavage

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I think the idea is a good one. Jeff is right, the room for exploitation is absolutely there, and the precedent set by Greenlight absolutely makes this set off alarm bells, but this really feels like an opportunity for a good thing to happen. I can only hope that the community will get behind the people who choose to represent the better side of this, and that the quality of mods will improve as a result.

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brandondryrock

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If people don't like paid mods, don't buy them. Just like DLC, or games, or anything else. Seems like when there is any change to the gaming industry, people feel like they are forced to do so. It isn't that hard to just say "no" to some things than to bitch about it.

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kifter

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There'll always be places on the net to download free mods. On the other hand if the paid for mods are worth the money then people will buy them. Optimistically speaking it could mean fans of games produce some amazing add on content and I'm not just talking swords and trinkets; I'm thinking more like fan created game expansion packs. Just to re-iterate my poin; if it's worth it then people will buy and the scene will florish. If it turns into a bunch of crappy paid for cheats and over priced cosmetic nick nacks then people will just stop paying attension and it'll fade away... Unless people want that stuff... Then I guess that's ok too... right? If it's what the people want... *shrug*

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CallumCee

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I keep seeing people saying the creators 'receive 25%' of the paid cost, not sure how true this is.

If it is true then it's where the problem lies for me. I have no issue supporting creators that put in hours of work towards something but I am inclined to pay if the majority of my money is going into the Valve money pit.

I agree that a donation button is a useful idea but I don't see that as something Steam will allow unless they are still receiving a hefty portion of the transaction.

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SirFork

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Lol fuckin hell, people are actually supportive of this. Kill me now.

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tromboneman

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I think Jeff's right, there is too much potential for this to go the way of Steam Greenlight and get filled with mostly junk. I hope some really cool mods can be made with a paid model, but the current state of the mobile games market is a perfect analog. There are plenty of good games but most of them are shit and only made for profit.

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THE_RUCKUS

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#24  Edited By THE_RUCKUS

Its good for those that put a lot of work into there mods. But my fear is that its going to be scam city and probably change the community.

My main concern is this change alter the nature of moding community and will turn mods into dota hats and shady business deals, I hope this doesn't ruin spirit of moding and stop everyone from working together to make mods.

But the people who dedicate hundreds of hours and make good product should be paid something as long as there not using other people work or bringing out slight colour changes on weapon skins.

Though I imagine there still be moders making mods on the Skyrim nexus for free well hope so.

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carpi

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#25  Edited By carpi

I'm fine with mod creators deciding they want to be paid for their efforts, I just hope it doesn't mean that all the good mods disappear from the Skyrim Nexus site. I have between 25 and 100 mods installed when playing the game and it would be a shame if I can't download my favorite ones anymore. Paying for unofficial mods is not something I'm prepared to do myself. I'll stick to the free mods.

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GhostHouse

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@poser: I would have been surprised that it wasn't the route they took but I suppose greenlight garbage still exists...

Some authors have also stated that they will put a paid version of their mods exclusively on the workshop or a brief period and then release it on the Nexus for free in the future. This could work. That said, the Nexus should provide a donation button for mod authors as well.

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noizy

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#27  Edited By noizy

I hope this doesn't turn the Steam Workshop into a "appstore style" garbage dump too. We've had mods being passion projects which might have kept out the strictly opportunistic types. There's always going to be the community ranking systems to sift through all the mods, but I'm a tad worried. I've dabbled with mods in Skyrim and it's enjoyable enough, but I wouldn't really have ponied up cash to get nicer trees or lighting model. It probably will change the landscape in some unpredictable way. I don't know what to make of it yet. I'm with you Jeff. I get it, I just hope the bad doesn't outweigh the good, and that modding ethos doesn't turn for profit. Would you have paid to play Just Cause 2 MP? I don't know.

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Venekor

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Fair enough, nice to know people can get some money back for all the time and effort they put into making a mod. It isn't like the modding scene is doing great right now, hopefully this encourages it to come back in a big way like it used to be.

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BasketSnake

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You WILL pay a fiver for my detatchable hairy character balls. Realistic physics. Supports Nvidia fur. Not compatible with pixelart games.

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xMrSunshine

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#30  Edited By xMrSunshine

If you don't see the ramifications of this has then I dunno... go buy some mods I guess. I myself would've liked the last feel-good labour of love kind of thing in video games to stay like that instead of turning into a corporate moneysink like everything else. Modder wants money for his mod he should ask for donations not force a price on the users (the Steam model is even worse since it's pay what you want as long as it's X amount or more). If his work is good he'd get money through that way. Every recent addition to steam (Greenlight, Early Access, Trading cards etc.) have made the Steam platform and even things outside of it noticeably worse. I'm not a fortune teller but I can't see this going any other way.

This whole thing is a shitshow anyway. What if a mod is put out, people buy it and then the main game gets updated and the mod breaks but the modder doesn't feel like updating it anymore? What if the mod starts interfering with another mods after the 24h period and you can't use it with the other mods you've bought? What about stuff like SKSE that all worthwhile Skyrim mods are based on? Are they getting a cut because some yahoo put a mod up on the workshop that requires their files to work?

Also the cut that the modders get is disgusting. If I were to make a mod no fucking way would I give 75% of the profits away.

TLDR: Look at DLC in the past, look at DLC now. Look at this thing and think where it'll be in couple of years if it's going to go the same way.

THERE ARE ALREADY EARLY ACCESS MODS.

http://steamcommunity.com//sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=430324898

WRAP YOUR HEAD AROUND THAT.

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mellotronrules

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not sure why people are shocked valve and publishers get a taste of the transaction- their platform, and their IP and/or game. there was no way this was ever going to be valve and the pubs letting modders freely profit off their backbone.

I hope some really cool mods can be made with a paid model, but the current state of the mobile games market is a perfect analog. There are plenty of good games but most of them are shit and only made for profit.

so don't buy the shitty ones?

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NeoCalypso

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#32  Edited By NeoCalypso

Hey if they wanna pay for amatuer shit be my guest. But I am beyond positive that the likes of Skyrim wouldn't have even remotely had the extended life it has had since release if mods weren't free from the start. Same with the likes of GTA IV and minecraft and any number of games that are still played today because of mods.

I don't think it's bad that good artists and programmers get compensated for their work if it's up to par with the professional stuff but overall I think this is an extremely bad idea for any game that wants to continue being relevant years after it comes out.

Also people already complain about a bunch of garbage cluttering up the Steam store and making it hard to find the actually good products. You have to be deluded if you don't think the exact same thing is gonna happen here as well.

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stereotype

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I would be excited about this change, if Steam would show any willingness to curate their store. Opening the floodgates like Greenlight and any third-rate publishers dumping unfinished, broken and right-out horrible games on their platform. This change won't magically give us great mods. They have to put work into it.

Stop selling horrible games and hire more than three people to do customer support, before you expand into another money making endavour. I wish they spend as much time and effort improving their services as making sure they're not bound by customer protection laws.

Valve used to create things. Great games. Games we loved. Nowadays they're trying to inserting themselves between games and players, sucking out as much money for themselves as possible.

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visnes

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Mod makers get 25 % of the cut. The rest goes to Valve and the games developer.

Selling your creations

When an item is sold via the Steam Workshop, revenue is shared between Valve (for transaction costs, fraud, bandwidth & hosting costs, building & supporting the Steam platform), the game developer (for creation of the game and the game's universe, the marketing to build an audience, the included assets, and any included modding or editing tools), and the item creator (including any specified contributors).

The percentage of revenue an item creator receives from direct sales of their item in this Workshop is 25%, as stipulated in the Supplemental Workshop Terms. Your individual share may be smaller if you have added other contributors that share in the royalty payments.

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Turambar

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#35  Edited By Turambar

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 littledisconcerting.

You work with Dan Ryckert, and you still ask these questions?

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officer_falcon

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@carpi said:

I have between 25 and 100 mods installed when playing the game and it would be a shame if I can't download my favorite ones anymore.

That's something that I never understood. What are the mods that everyone is installing in such large numbers. It can't just be visual and lighting effect mods right? Are people downloading a bunch of custom character models? Custom missions?

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rusalkagirl

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If Valve/Bethesda get 75% of the profit, then this is fucked.

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Jimbo7676

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#40  Edited By Jimbo7676

This is all good stuff. No one is forcing you to buy this stuff and this is creating a source of income for people who may be on the cusp of getting into real game development. Sure, it'd be nice is everything was free, but I'd rather the talented creators have a reason beyond passion to keep creating and more than their free time to do it. Yah, there will be some shitty stuff... don't buy it.

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cheesemuffins

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My only concern is that the mods people actually want are going to be swamped with shitty weapon models that people made for a quick buck. There's a lot of really awesome shit to explore, but it may become less accessible. Could be cool for the people who really do put a lot of work into these, but i feel like it could also lead to less overall modding if the good stuff is locked behind a paywall and enthusiasm for trying out weird new things could drop. I'm still modding skyrim but even just making it all work together is almost more work than it's worth, and I don't think I would ever pump money into it. There would have to be some serious QC to compensate for the price point, but I doubt there will be.

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thelastgunslinger

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@rorie said:

The poll works! It is not exactly pretty though.

The poll no longer seems to work, so I'll vote via text! I'm in favor of this, especially with a return policy for shaddy/broken mods. Some of these people put a lot of time in effort in and this is a way to support that instead of going the Patreon route.

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boboblaw

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Little of column A and a little of column B for me.

People getting paid for shit they created is a fucking great idea but at the same time it feels dirty paying for mods when they've always been free. It's definitely ripe for abuse and it'll be interesting to see how the price ranges for these things. $7 for one mod seems super pricey when you can get Skyrim itself for probably less.

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mustachioeugene

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I wouldn't mind an option to 'donate' some money on certain mods, if it's stuff I've used in the past and would be unlikely to install again, eg Skyrim, I'd like to be able to toss modders some coin for their work

@jeff Always keep this locked and loaded in your clipboard.

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Turambar

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#45  Edited By Turambar

@officer_falcon said:

@carpi said:

I have between 25 and 100 mods installed when playing the game and it would be a shame if I can't download my favorite ones anymore.

That's something that I never understood. What are the mods that everyone is installing in such large numbers. It can't just be visual and lighting effect mods right? Are people downloading a bunch of custom character models? Custom missions?

There are custom character models, equipment, locations, mission sets. One particular famous mod gave you access to an entirely new area that may as well have been a free mini-expansion. On top of that, the usual audio, visual, animations mods and basic performance improvements can definitely add up.

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Grondoth

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#46  Edited By Grondoth

I'm pretty surprised that you guys see it as a way to support themselves, because they get 25% of the sale and won't get that money until it's over 100 bucks. It's just another extension of The Hat Economy, where Valve, third party resellsers, and hangers on publishers make boatloads of money on stuff people add to the game out of their passion and investment. If ESO didn't kill that series, making modding another nickel and dime expense will signal the end of elder scrolls games.

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AwkwardMan

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Check out my hot new mod, "The Mud Crabs are now Zoidberg", only $1.99! Or better yet buy the, "99999 Damage Sword", at $2.99 you'd have to be crazy not to buy it.

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deactivated-5fc86d541ecee

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I already posted this in another thread but fuck it I'll put it here too.

One thing I haven't noticed a lot of people talking about is how this going to affect the mods themselves. As it exists now, modding is a very community focused hobby. People share assets, if a modder has an issue they can count on someone helping them out, there's a lot of collaborating on larger projects. As soon as you throw money into the situation? That all becomes far less prevalent. This move is going to cause irreparable damage to the modding scene and it's shitty that Valve and Bethesda either can't see that or, worse, doesn't care.

And to the people saying they should've just done a donate system, that has existed for a while over at Nexus. If that's the kind of system you want, you should throw your support to those guys.

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cornbredx

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I'm fine with them making money. I'm even fine paying for a good mod. What I worry about is how much less people will see some of these mods because they now have to be paid for.

I mean it's fine to make money off your work, but if no one sees your work because you put a price tag on it when it didn't have a price tag before is it really worth it? I mean, in the mod scene it always seemed to me (I haven't made mods myself since Quake so maybe it's different now) that people seeing what you did was a bigger deal than making money off of it.

But times change, and again I'm 100% ok with them making money off their work. Maybe I'm just worrying too much for someone else.

I certainly like the idea of changing this outlook everyone has where everything should be free. No, it absolutely should not. If you make something and want to make money off it you should be able to. That isn't greedy to want to do that- that's surviving. Life requires money.

I still believe only little children are the ones who believe otherwise, but I can't prove it. I just feel it.

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AMyggen

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I didn't think Skyrim was still big enough to warrant such a change, let alone the reaction this is getting.

Skyrim is HUGE. One of the largest modding communities of all time, and it still sells well on Steam. It's regularly near the top of the sales charts every time there's a sale of the game.

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