As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

Of Videogame Modding and Money

SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
edited April 2015 in Games and Technology
What's all this fracas about, then?
In a nutshell, Steam now allows mod creators to charge for their mods.

How much money are we talking about here?
- Mod creators can choose the amount. Most are running $2-$5, though joke prices of $99.99 have been seen.
- Donation links set up by modders themselves are being removed from mod pages by Valve; you go through their system to ensure the mandated split.
- Payment is split 75% / 25% for Skyrim mods, with 25% going to the creator, and 75% to Valve and Bethesda. This is one of the bigger controversies about all this business.

Which games are in on this?
Bethesda has signed on with Skyrim (and presumably future Fallout/TES titles), and Garry from Garry's Mod has expressed interest as well..

There'll still be free mods though, surely?
Yes. But.

Nexus has confirmed at least 40 mods have been hidden for fear of people taking their mods and rehosting them on Workshop as paid mods. This isn't an unreasonable fear, as exactly this has happened. Some free asset creators, of whom give their content away for use in other mods, have announced they're stopping, since their work would be part of commercial mods. An additional problem is mods (free or otherwise) with dependencies on paid mods.

So how will problematic content being sold be handled by Valve?
They will take down content upon being legally compelled to do so via DMCA takedown. How effective this will be is unknown, and can only be policed after the fact.

What if I buy a mod and it doesn't work?
You have 24 hours to get a refund. After that:
A. Sometimes one mod may modify the same files as another mod, or a particular combination of mods may cause unexpected outcomes. If you find that mod has broken or is behaving unexpectedly, 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.
Yeah...

What about mods that are already free? They're safe, right?
Haha, no. Some have been pulled for future monetisation, while others have stayed up with in-game popup ads to incentivise buying the paid version.

Additional reading:
The Valve page explaining the scheme
An informative Reddit post from Chesko, who was the first to pull a monetised mod from Steam.
Fantastic Forbes overview of the situation.

Tube on
«13456713

Posts

  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular


    Gopher's bit about it, sharing because people like me pay attention. Short but informative.

  • McHogerMcHoger Registered User regular
    I came to realize that I'm not really part of the modding community. I just download free stuff, adblock the nexus, and endorse maybe one-in-five mods I regularly use. I'm taking steps to fix this and accepting that paying for mods can be a thing is part of that. The Steam Workshop is still a terrible way to go about it though.

    Tiger Burning
  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    So, a good idea implemented in a really terrible way?

    YL9WnCY.png
    RoyceSraphimIoloAlbino BunnyP10MalakaiusQuidLorahalooverride367Commander ZoomNightslyrEchoShadowfireMadpoet
  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    So, a good idea implemented in a really terrible way?
    - Payment is split 75% / 25% for Skyrim mods, with 25% going to the creator, and 75% to Valve and Bethesda. This is one of the bigger controversies about all this business.
    This right here, combined with the payout at $100, means that a mod creator has to at least make $400 before they get paid while Valve and Bethesda make money all the way up to $399 and beyond. That's the kicker for me, that's there's no freaking point with this kind of math behind it.

    CaptainNemo
  • SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    So, a good idea implemented in a really terrible way?

    I put forward that a good idea with no possible good implementation is not, in fact, a good idea.

    Man in the MistsAxenTeeManEnclaveofGnomesRegina FongAistanDerrickStollsfrandelgearslipTOGSolidBrutal Jskyknytvagrant_windsEchoKristmas KthulhuCaptainNemoDrovekIncenjucar
  • Man in the MistsMan in the Mists Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    I look at this and remember the shithurricane that was unleashed when Blizzard tried to make everyone use RealID. That was a bad idea, and so is this for multiple reasons that have already been pointed out, especially the chilling effect it'll have on free modders afraid that their work will get stolen.

    Man in the Mists on
    MrVyngaardRegina Fong
  • MegaMekMegaMek Girls like girls. Registered User regular
    Suriko wrote: »
    So, a good idea implemented in a really terrible way?

    I put forward that a good idea with no possible good implementation is not, in fact, a good idea.

    This is where I'm sitting right now. I don't see any way to prevent fraud the way Valve has this set up.

    Is time a gift or punishment?
    RoyceSraphimAxenRegina FongStollsCommander Zoomvagrant_windsKristmas KthulhuCaptainNemoDrovek
  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    How long does it take you people to figure out if a mod you downloaded is shit or not?

    Conversely, how long does it take you to figure out if a mod is the best thing since sliced bread?

  • AxenAxen My avatar is Excalibur. Yes, the sword.Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Man, I've no clue what to think about all this.

    On one hand, I've played/used a number of mods that clearly took a lot of time and effort and were great. Hell, there are literally games out there that are trash/unplayable in vanilla form that the modding community has turned in to fantastic gems. I honestly wouldn't mind tossing a few dollars to those kinds of things.

    On the other hand, everything else about this.

    I guess my biggest concern (as far as Bethesda games go) would be the fate of those sweet compilation mods. Y'know the ones that have a hundred different mods all hand tailored to play nice with each other so all you have to do is download one thing and BAM you got all the "must have" mods without having to build a Dark Altar to an evil God to get it all to work.

    edit- I reached a verdict! Modders should stick to having a "Donate" link. Nothing good can come of this.

    edit 2- Jesus, Steam can't even police all that early access garbage on their store. How the Hell did they expect to handle something as nebulous as mods?

    Axen on
    A Capellan's favorite sheath for any blade is your back.
    Panda4You
  • caligynefobcaligynefob DKRegistered User regular
    How long does it take you people to figure out if a mod you downloaded is shit or not?

    Conversely, how long does it take you to figure out if a mod is the best thing since sliced bread?

    A lot longer than 24 hours at least. Mods should be a labor of love and contribution should be voluntary. All this opens up for is cash grab attempts and an overall worse and fragmented game community.

    It seems like Steam has been going downhill for long time now. Non existent customer service and poor quality control aside it really seems like GOG are the superior choice now.

    PS4 - Mrfuzzyhat
    testsubject23Derrick
  • TIFunkaliciousTIFunkalicious Kicking back in NebraskaRegistered User regular
    I'd be all for a scheme like this if the base game was free

    As this is though. What about the next Bethesda game? WIll it cost $60 to have it crash over and over again because you need to buy a RAM bugfix in the workshop effectively making getting a usable game more expensive?

    Panda4YouMrVyngaardRegina FongDerrickRaiden333Arthil
  • IoloIolo iolo Registered User regular
    Suriko wrote: »
    So, a good idea implemented in a really terrible way?

    I put forward that a good idea with no possible good implementation is not, in fact, a good idea.

    If the idea is "we should enable modders to receive compensation for their efforts", then couldn't some kind of tip jar be a workable implementation?

    Lt. Iolo's First Day
    Steam profile.
    Getting started with BATTLETECH: Part 1 / Part 2
  • MegaMekMegaMek Girls like girls. Registered User regular
    Iolo wrote: »
    Suriko wrote: »
    So, a good idea implemented in a really terrible way?

    I put forward that a good idea with no possible good implementation is not, in fact, a good idea.

    If the idea is "we should enable modders to receive compensation for their efforts", then couldn't some kind of tip jar be a workable implementation?

    Modders have been doing the donation thing forever already without Valve and BethSoft trying to get a cut.

    Is time a gift or punishment?
    MrVyngaardBlackbird SR-71CQuidAsh-HousewaresDerrickMan in the MistsKristmas KthulhuCaptainNemoRhan9
  • Panda4YouPanda4You Registered User regular
    Yeah, as some commenter on this said, a donate button tied to the mod would have been such a better option. Not in the least for various legal or right-holding reasons.

    Axen
  • IoloIolo iolo Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    MegaMek wrote: »
    Iolo wrote: »
    Suriko wrote: »
    So, a good idea implemented in a really terrible way?

    I put forward that a good idea with no possible good implementation is not, in fact, a good idea.

    If the idea is "we should enable modders to receive compensation for their efforts", then couldn't some kind of tip jar be a workable implementation?

    Modders have been doing the donation thing forever already without Valve and BethSoft trying to get a cut.

    Yes, that's true. But not on Steam.

    The idea is for "Valve to enable modders to receive compensation for their efforts."

    It's not inappropriate for Valve to take a piece, since they are hosting files and moving funds. I think a lot of people don't see it as problematic that the company that made the modded game receive something, although that's likely a smaller number than the first group. The actual percentages that Valve launched the service with, though, aren't making consumers happy.

    You could just as easily say, "Modders have been making their mods available forever without Valve getting involved." But folks generally saw Valve integrating mod support into the platform as a positive. At least I don't remember this much teeth-knashing when the benefit rolled out. Is the idea of a company receiving some level of compensation for providing a service so anathema in itself?

    Iolo on
    Lt. Iolo's First Day
    Steam profile.
    Getting started with BATTLETECH: Part 1 / Part 2
  • TeeManTeeMan BrainSpoon Registered User regular
    My thoughts are that if Steam Support can't come up with a decent response to a resolution issue I was having earlier this year within a fortnight (ended up figuring it out myself from forum delving), how in the cripes can they deal with complexities that come from, say, two people claiming to the original author of a paid mod.

    steam_sig.png
    Commander ZoomDrovek
  • korodullinkorodullin What. SCRegistered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Axen wrote: »
    edit- I reached a verdict! Modders should stick to having a "Donate" link. Nothing good can come of this.

    Sticking to the example of just Bethsoft games, that won't work if mods for their next game(s) are only able to be installed via the Workshop, as Valve has already begun to make people remove donation links from Workshop pages, telling them to get with this new scheme instead.

    korodullin on
    ZvOMJnu.png
    - The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2017, colorized)
  • MegaMekMegaMek Girls like girls. Registered User regular
    Iolo wrote: »
    You could just as easily say, "Modders have been making their mods available forever without Valve getting involved." But folks generally saw Valve integrating mod support into the platform as a positive. At least I don't remember this much teeth-knashing when the benefit rolled out. Is the idea of a company receiving some level of compensation for providing a service so anathema in itself?

    I mean, are you having trouble seeing what the difference is here or what? This set up is of negative benefit to consumers, limited benefit to content creators, and infinite benefit to Valve and BethSoft.

    Is time a gift or punishment?
    MrVyngaardAxenDerrickCommander ZoomRoyceSraphimskyknytCaptainNemo
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
    Iolo
  • HerothHeroth Registered User regular
    How long does it take you people to figure out if a mod you downloaded is shit or not?

    Conversely, how long does it take you to figure out if a mod is the best thing since sliced bread?

    It doesn't matter either way, since the 'refund' is actually a steam wallet refund Valve gets your money weather you like the mod or not.

    1Gn4PNI.png
    MegaMekArthil
  • LanrutconLanrutcon Registered User regular
    Pretty much just a matter of time now before modding new games requires Steam Workshop. Well, at least until the modding scene finds a way to bypass the restriction.

    This is just so stupid on so many levels. They should be kissing the ground the modding scene walks on. Sigh.

    Capture.jpg~original
    Currently playing: GW2 and TSW
  • SorensonSorenson Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    So the Midas Magic dude just went entirely pay-to-play. The free-to-use version that the extrordinarily vast majority of people (I want to say like 100K+) were subscribed to? Gone.

    http://i.imgur.com/Pqn91pv.png

    There's a shitstorm a'comin'.

    Sorenson on
  • caligynefobcaligynefob DKRegistered User regular
    Hopefully there will be a very succesful counter push to this bs. Micro dlc is already too prevalent in gaming as is.

    PS4 - Mrfuzzyhat
    MegaMekDerrickDr. ChaosCaptainNemo
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Hopefully modders realize that they have actual marketable skills and don't need to live in their parents' basement

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    While I bet this crashes and burns out pretty quickly, all it means for me is that I'll be renting the next skyrim/fallout games on console. Sort of sucks, since I've double dipped on all the previous ones, buying them on PC specifically to play mods (and usually DLC). I'm not strictly opposed to tossing a dollar or so into a digital tip jar for a really great mod, but the idea of sifting through a greenlight-ish hellscape of half finished mods makes me just tune out entirely.

    I will say I've had a good laugh looking at some of the joke stuff that keeps popping up on the workshop.

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »

    Wow, dude's pretty direct. But I do find myself agreeing with a lot he's saying. I like that he he specifically addresses the possibility for abuse as well.

    Tommatt
  • Panda4YouPanda4You Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    korodullin wrote: »
    Axen wrote: »
    edit- I reached a verdict! Modders should stick to having a "Donate" link. Nothing good can come of this.

    Sticking to the example of just Bethsoft games, that won't work if mods for their next game(s) are only able to be installed via the Workshop, as Valve has already begun to make people remove donation links from Workshop pages, telling them to get with this new scheme instead.
    The question then is why the hell Valve hasn't implemented an internal donation option, automatically subtracting the various fees deemed appropriate?

    Panda4You on
  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    I may be really out of step on this, but I have absolutely no problem with this.
    • If modders want to continue to mod for the love of modding, they have that option.
    • If modders want to continue to mod and to receive donations, there's Nexus.
    • If modders like being paid for it, and feel that they could receive more money from using Steam's system than from using donations, there's that option too, and I'm fine with that.
    • If users are mad that they now have to pay for mods that they have for free or had donated for in the past, then they should take it up with the modders who've chosen to be paid for their mods.
    • If users are mad that modders are only getting 25% of the cut on Skyrim, they should take it up with Bethesda - as I understand it, Valve is taking a 25% cut (basically, the same as they'd take on games) and Bethesda is taking a 50% cut.
    The only people in this I have a problem with are modders who are stealing resources from other modders for monetary gain or to reduce the monetary gain of others. We'll see how well that works out. Hopefully, with tarring and feathering.

    I'm going to assume that people have the best of intentions when they say that they think that modders would make more money through donations than through paid mods, but I strongly suspect that the majority of people who use mods don't actually donate. I suspect that the well-known and popular mods being some of the early options on the new model indicates that the creators have done the math comparing downloads to donations and that they feel that they'll make more money this way. I could be wrong. People might be more generous and altruistic than I'm willing to give them credit for in this situation. But my strong suspicion is that most modders will make more money on their hobby this way, or believe that they will, and that's the primary reason for their choice.

    What are the odds that the Midas Magic person has made $25,000 on his mod through donations? $10,000? $5,000? I could easily see a scenario where Midas Magic could lose 75% of its user base and still make more for the person at 25% per sale than it could via donations.

    Shadowhope on
    Stay at home every morning from the health department warning, take the 8:15 in to the kitchen
    IoloFrem
  • testsubject23testsubject23 King of No Sleep ZzzzzzzRegistered User regular
    edited April 2015
    This seems mostly like a cash-grab on Valve's part wrapped in some lip service about compensating content creators. Frankly, I'm disgusted - I'd expect moves like this from EA, not our beloved Gaben.
    Adding a "donate" button to the workshop page and taking 10% of the cut would have accomplished the stated goal without all the greed. The current scheme smacks more of some corporate executive's money-making scheme than any kind of boon to the modding community.

    These days I'm a bit worried about the future of Steam. I've invested so much money in games on that platform that I'm basically stuck there, so any changes in the way things work, especially conversion of free services into paid ones, are very concerning.
    I mean, once you start deciding to charge for things, where does it end? In 2025 am I gonna be paying a dollar per friend request and ten cents per Steam message? These features all have a non-zero upkeep cost, so that right there justifies Valve in trying to recoup their expenditures in any way possible RIGHT? </slipperyslope>

    testsubject23 on
    camo_sig2.png
    Steam: Chaos Introvert | Twitch.tv: Chaos_Introvert | R*SC: Chaos_Introvert | PSN: testsubject23
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    I consider this better than the alternative, where Bethesda sues Nexus for helping turn their IP into a porn game. They're not the RIAA, which means they're okay with me.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • MaddocMaddoc I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother? Registered User regular
    The only problem I'm really seeing is exactly the sort of problem you'd expect from slapping a price tag on what was largely a collaborative and open source community.

    Like, maybe going forward the community will adapt to the changing environment and this will be less of a problem, but right now loads of mods have dependencies on other mods along shared code and assets.

    And once you start putting a price on that, the subject of "who should this money go to" gets super weird. Like Valve and Bethesda are going to take their cut as the platform owners, sure. But just in terms of people who created and contributed towards that mod, which up until now may well have been a very casual and open thing where nothing more is needed than something like "shout out to this dude who let me use this thing in my mod", now becomes a financial matter.

    I don't really know where that goes from here honestly, and I think that no matter what the Skyrim paid mod landscape is going to be crazytown just because they laid this payment infrastructure on top of the boiling chaos that was already there. This shit was not even simple BEFORE money entered into it.

    What I'm really interested to see is how the modding community handles a game where the paid mod infrastructure is there from the word go. I think that's going to be where the real story is.

    97H9G7S.png PSN - Masked Unit | FFXIV - Laitarne Gilgamesh
    AxenIoloTeeMan
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    TeeMan wrote: »
    My thoughts are that if Steam Support can't come up with a decent response to a resolution issue I was having earlier this year within a fortnight (ended up figuring it out myself from forum delving), how in the cripes can they deal with complexities that come from, say, two people claiming to the original author of a paid mod.

    They already have a solution. It's called "throw your hands up in mock helplessness and point at your army of lawyers then smirk and shrug".

    Dr. ChaosMegaMekArthil
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
    Iolo
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    Thinking about it a bit more, it would be more palatable to pay for mods if they were somehow reviewed/vetted/compiled by the developers, in the form of more substantial stuff resembling user made, developer curated DLC. Also, I really doubt 24hrs is long enough for whatever review process happens.

    I can see a situation where one modder finds out their content has been appropriated by someone commodifying assets months down the road - what happens to the folks that've purchased that product? Steam wallet refund I assume, but what happens if that product is substantial enough that disabling/removing it starts messing up purchaser's saves?

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
    RoyceSraphim
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    How about just restrict further sale, seize the revenue, and let the files be

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Thinking about it a bit more, it would be more palatable to pay for mods if they were somehow reviewed/vetted/compiled by the developers, in the form of more substantial stuff resembling user made, developer curated DLC. Also, I really doubt 24hrs is long enough for whatever review process happens.

    I can see a situation where one modder finds out their content has been appropriated by someone commodifying assets months down the road - what happens to the folks that've purchased that product? Steam wallet refund I assume, but what happens if that product is substantial enough that disabling/removing it starts messing up purchaser's saves?

    Well normally the protection for people who unknowingly purchase stolen property is "none".

  • DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    In theory, allowing 3rd party developers to make DLC for your game is okay with me. Trying to convert a largely open source modding community into 3rd party developers of DLC is not okay and causing rampant issues.

    Anyone with a modicum of care or knowledge of the scene would know this is the case. The cut also seems incredibly bogus to me.

    I have a nice Steam collection, and of course I'll keep playing the games I already own on it. But for future purchases? I'm cutting Steam off over this. I fully expect Fallout 4 to be 3rd party DLC only through the workshop, which is a betrayal from Bethesda more than anything, but there you go.

    Steam and CFN: Enexemander
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    Thinking about it a bit more, it would be more palatable to pay for mods if they were somehow reviewed/vetted/compiled by the developers, in the form of more substantial stuff resembling user made, developer curated DLC. Also, I really doubt 24hrs is long enough for whatever review process happens.

    I can see a situation where one modder finds out their content has been appropriated by someone commodifying assets months down the road - what happens to the folks that've purchased that product? Steam wallet refund I assume, but what happens if that product is substantial enough that disabling/removing it starts messing up purchaser's saves?

    Well normally the protection for people who unknowingly purchase stolen property is "none".

    I gueeeeess... So should valve be all pawn-shop levels of content identification to protect the buyer than? Gah the whole thing is so weird.

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    This is pretty on point:

    That last line is damn near prophetic.

    Derrick on
    Steam and CFN: Enexemander
    Raiden333ArthilCaptainNemo
  • TubeTube Registered User admin
    Paladin wrote: »
    Hopefully modders realize that they have actual marketable skills and don't need to live in their parents' basement

    It's amazing that even on an internet forum full of nerds this kind of stupid, reductive stereotyping still takes place.

    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
    This hurts but I deserve it

    DerrickMrVyngaardfirewaterwordArteenBlackbird SR-71CShadowhopeRegina Fongoverride367DoctorArch38thDoeCommander ZoomMan in the MistsStormwatcherMegaMekBrutal JHadesEchoenvoy1ShadowfireGroveKamarCaptainNemoIncenjucarRhan9mjn6172LoveIsUnityC2B
Sign In or Register to comment.