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Of Videogame Modding and Money

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Posts

  • Marty81Marty81 Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Here's what I would have posted yesterday, although I feel it's still pertinent.

    Thank God I decided a few months ago to completely disentangle my Skyrim installation from the Steam workshop. At first I thought it was cool that I could sync my Skyrim installation across multiple machines and have my mods auto-update, but then I remembered that mod updates tend to have a habit of invalidating saved games, and I decided that risk wasn't worth it. So I unsubscribed and deleted all my Steam workshop mods and downloaded+archived the Nexus versions. Plus I figured this way, if Steam ever goes under, at least I'll still have and be able to play my mods. Little did I know that I was also protecting myself from getting locked out of my own content and saved games.

    Marty81 on
  • SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2015
    This is a pretty great outcome. Valve and Bethesda deserve applause for admitting they made a mistake, and this could fairly be pointed to as one of the few clear cases of developers and publishers truly listening to their fans. Bravo.

    That said, I'm dubious of the lessons they're going to take from this. I don't want to be cynical, but this recent misadventure makes it hard.

    The strangest thing about all this is that solutions existed to the problem they want to solve. That is, rewarding quality mod creators for their efforts. While highly visible donation links are one aspect of this, another has been touted by Bethesda themselves, and for years at that - official endorsement.

    Ever since Oblivion, Bethesda have stated a wish to bring mods to console platforms. This wouldn't be easy, as it would require close collaboration between the mod maker and Bethesda's developers, stringent checking of copyright status and any mod dependencies, updating the mod as required lest game updates mean the user's paid content no longer works, and tight quality control to ensure that those who paid for the endorsed mod would get the product they wanted. In other words, all the things that should have happened anyway. This would have provided a great way to get talented mod creators huge visibility, career opportunities, cash, and a nice ego boost from being recognised by the developer they're modding for. Rather than expend staff on this, though, Bethesda and Valve decided to take the easy way out and leave this up to the mod creator and wider community, which ended up with the whole scheme collapsing in a heap.

    TES and Fallout mods just aren't comparable to TF2 or DotA 2 hats and trinkets. From mod interdependencies, to huge variability in quality, careful curation of content, sheer volume, a different community with a very different history and culture around its modding scene, and the simple fact that a funny hat comprised of a texture and model is nothing like the complexity that mods for the Gamebryo engine entail. Not to mention that so many are fixing content rather than adding assets on top of an otherwise polished base game.

    The optimist in me says they'll go back to the drawing board and implement another way, such as endorsed mods, to further their original and likely noble goals. The pessimist says they'll simply push forward with a variation on the scheme with a more locked down version of the next Fallout/TES title "designed" for paid mods from the beginning. If they put in the effort, rather than offloading everything onto the community and taking a large cut anyway, I think they might come up with something that benefits everyone. Carefully pick and choose mods to promote in order to avoid filched content and broken mods being monetised, use your cut of the money to provide better services - for Bethesda, at least a better modding framework if not a new fucking engine already, and for Valve, improvements to the Workshop and hire some (more) goddamn dedicated support staff - and a real refund policy (24 hours is not okay, the "refund" being Steam wallet funds is not okay), and this could work out.

    The ingredients are all there, they just need to mix the recipe themselves instead of giving them to their customers and telling them to hop to it. Time will tell if their next attempt will do better.

    Suriko on
    Commander ZoomGaslightMan in the MistsStollsSorcha RavenlockDr. ChaosCaptainNemoBurnageoxblow
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    officially endorsed mods that then get published to consoles would be amazing, and the dev team at bethesda themselves could help the mod makers polish up some edges where the mod maker maybe had to get a square peg fit in a round hole because they don't have access to all the tools Bethesda does

    NocrenDrovekMan in the MistsSorcha RavenlockDr. ChaoselectricitylikesmeQuidStollsoxblow
  • NocrenNocren Lt Futz, Back in Action North CarolinaRegistered User regular
    officially endorsed mods that then get published to consoles would be amazing, and the dev team at bethesda themselves could help the mod makers polish up some edges where the mod maker maybe had to get a square peg fit in a round hole because they don't have access to all the tools Bethesda does

    Oh god, I would so love for my friends to have access to New Vegas's Wall, but it really did need a lot of cleaning up.

    newSig.jpg
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Valve has put forward endorsed mods, at the rate of like 1 every two years, that become games in their own right. The continual problem is that while curation works - and made the TF2 trinkets a boatload of money - it is an inherently unfair system. Leave it up to the developers to select their own idea of what the best mod and modder is, and suddenly you've got a situation where thousands of people are applying for a few dream job positions - an all or nothing scenario, with nothing for most.

    That's why Steam Greenlight exists; that's why there are more hats than you can count now, and that's why the community hates it - because the truth is we don't really want the burden of supporting a community. We want a game that works, period. Screw picking and choosing mods, most of us installed "here's the recommended Fallout experience modset, get to it" and maybe if we were really interested dabbled a little in plinky mods with meager changes. We don't have time to sift through greenlight, just pick what you think are the best games so we can blame you if they turn out to suck. It doesn't really matter if developers have a reasonable chance or not of actually selling well; our backlogs are big enough anyway.


    Valve is full of people with programming mindsets - when encountering a very labor intensive task, assign it an appropriate scalable labor capable system - the public, instead of the finite development crew. Developer curated justice is a pipe dream.

    If this model doesn't work, then that is the end of modding as a profession. There is not enough demand and resources for people to have as good a shot at programming games as they do making a reasonable wage in another career. It is really unkind to continue to encourage people to choose this career path when it is apparent that the chances they will succeed are vastly inferior to the time, effort, and talent investment.

    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.
    Docken
  • SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Paladin wrote: »
    Valve has put forward endorsed mods, at the rate of like 1 every two years, that become games in their own right. The continual problem is that while curation works - and made the TF2 trinkets a boatload of money - it is an inherently unfair system. Leave it up to the developers to select their own idea of what the best mod and modder is, and suddenly you've got a situation where thousands of people are applying for a few dream job positions - an all or nothing scenario, with nothing for most.

    That's why Steam Greenlight exists; that's why there are more hats than you can count now, and that's why the community hates it - because the truth is we don't really want the burden of supporting a community. We want a game that works, period. Screw picking and choosing mods, most of us installed "here's the recommended Fallout experience modset, get to it" and maybe if we were really interested dabbled a little in plinky mods with meager changes. We don't have time to sift through greenlight, just pick what you think are the best games so we can blame you if they turn out to suck. It doesn't really matter if developers have a reasonable chance or not of actually selling well; our backlogs are big enough anyway.


    Valve is full of people with programming mindsets - when encountering a very labor intensive task, assign it an appropriate scalable labor capable system - the public, instead of the finite development crew. Developer curated justice is a pipe dream.

    If this model doesn't work, then that is the end of modding as a profession. There is not enough demand and resources for people to have as good a shot at programming games as they do making a reasonable wage in another career. It is really unkind to continue to encourage people to choose this career path when it is apparent that the chances they will succeed are vastly inferior to the time, effort, and talent investment.

    I'm not sure if I'm misinterpreting you, but I think you're coming at this from the wrong angle. That is, predicating "success" on monetisation.

    It seems very odd to portray a modding as a profession to begin with. It's a hobby. An absurdly successful hobby that a huge amount of people have become involved in. For free. The idea that payment not being available, or being very selective in the case of mod endorsement, would lead to the end of modding seems strange, to the point where I'm not sure I'm understanding you correctly.

    This whole paid mods endeavour isn't a matter of solving a problem. It's about creating an opportunity.

    Edit: I'm not sure how petty this is, but the repeated use of "we" kind of sticks in my craw.

    Suriko on
    Man in the MistsSorcha Ravenlock
  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Suriko wrote: »


    It seems very odd to portray a modding as a profession to begin with. It's a hobby.

    Wha?

    One person hobby can be another persons profession.

    People started to make games for computers as a hobby. Eventually some people got the idea to sell those games. Then we have a gaming industry.

    I put some videos on youtube as a hobby, some people put videos on youtube to make money. At one point in time you could only put video's on youtube as a hobby, but over time it developed a professional scene.

    Modding has been around for a long time, but with an extremely limited market it tends to have issues with making money. Its rare to find a mod that is paid for, but there are some out there. With better marketplace tools we might see the advent of a widespread professional modding scene.

    Go back 10 years and tell me if "I make money by letting people watch me play videogames online" would be received as odd.

    There is absolutely no reason that a hobby cant be a profession, even it seems odd at first.

    Draygo on
    qwer12ArthilGrove
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Suriko wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    Valve has put forward endorsed mods, at the rate of like 1 every two years, that become games in their own right. The continual problem is that while curation works - and made the TF2 trinkets a boatload of money - it is an inherently unfair system. Leave it up to the developers to select their own idea of what the best mod and modder is, and suddenly you've got a situation where thousands of people are applying for a few dream job positions - an all or nothing scenario, with nothing for most.

    That's why Steam Greenlight exists; that's why there are more hats than you can count now, and that's why the community hates it - because the truth is we don't really want the burden of supporting a community. We want a game that works, period. Screw picking and choosing mods, most of us installed "here's the recommended Fallout experience modset, get to it" and maybe if we were really interested dabbled a little in plinky mods with meager changes. We don't have time to sift through greenlight, just pick what you think are the best games so we can blame you if they turn out to suck. It doesn't really matter if developers have a reasonable chance or not of actually selling well; our backlogs are big enough anyway.


    Valve is full of people with programming mindsets - when encountering a very labor intensive task, assign it an appropriate scalable labor capable system - the public, instead of the finite development crew. Developer curated justice is a pipe dream.

    If this model doesn't work, then that is the end of modding as a profession. There is not enough demand and resources for people to have as good a shot at programming games as they do making a reasonable wage in another career. It is really unkind to continue to encourage people to choose this career path when it is apparent that the chances they will succeed are vastly inferior to the time, effort, and talent investment.

    I'm not sure if I'm misinterpreting you, but I think you're coming at this from the wrong angle. That is, predicating "success" on monetisation.

    It seems very odd to portray a modding as a profession to begin with. It's a hobby. An absurdly successful hobby that a huge amount of people have become involved in. For free. The idea that payment not being available, or being very selective in the case of mod endorsement, would lead to the end of modding seems strange, to the point where I'm not sure I'm understanding you correctly.

    This whole paid mods endeavour isn't a matter of solving a problem. It's about creating an opportunity.

    Edit: I'm not sure how petty this is, but the repeated use of "we" kind of sticks in my craw.

    Some people think that modding is or could be their entry point into a career - turning a hobby into something more. Some people draw webcomics on the side, others subsist on webcomics. Some people draw really well and get commissions from time to time, others are backed by sponsors and do nothing but art.

    At some point in your life, if you have a passion, you have to decide if you want to pursue that passion as a career full time, or be realistic and work for a living and be an amateur in that hobby for the rest of your life. For some people, they are content, or are lucky to have a greater passion that coincides with their career. For others, they are living the nightmare.

    This lack of opportunity is the problem solved by a marketplace of paid mods.

    And the repetition and the assuming "we" are both rudimentary literary devices to highlight our faceless resistance to change and complacency with a bad system.

    Paladin on
    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.
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    Making a hard distinction between hobby and profession is asinine. Most hobbies can become professions when there's a way to feed yourself by doing it.

    Mods remaining free forever obviously wouldn't cause mods to vanish, but it certainly does not take much imagination to see how the fact that there is no viable avenue for mod makers to create a stable income means that there is a lot of potential talent being lost.

  • milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    So I'm going to say something regarding the TF2/DotA 2 hats argument:

    Yes, Skyrim mods have even more dependencies than TF2/DotA items, and curation seems reasonable (on the face of it) given that detail. But DotA and TF2 already have issues with "big name" item creators getting favoritism; stuff like DotACinema sets, or sets that partner with major tournaments for some (possibly shitty) cut already get fast tracked regardless of quality, and high quality freelance suggestions can languish until picked up by sponsors. There was a huge backlash a few months ago when DotACinema was at its "strongest" (sponsoring like 5 different weekly video series that all got to the top of Reddit) and were basically considered to be monopolizing the scene with shitty sets, and I'm sure issues like that have occurred in TF2.

    If you truly believe that for-sale mods need a higher level of curation than TF2/DotA, you're arguing that, in all practical ways, modding has to become an insiders' club where a chosen few get to make money at the behest of Valve/Bethesda, and everybody else doesn't even get a shot. Community pressure and the ease of working with "established" modders or professional communities will almost inevitably create a situation where almost any for-sale, curated mod belongs to a few select people and maybe an outsider every so often. The idea of an "open" marketplace Bethesda pitched is far better for the majority of modders, since it actually gives all modders a chance, even if it's a long shot. The lack of curation and more widespread implementation of free mods would hurt the consumer, but what's good for modders and for consumers is not identical (again, Reddit would love to have an easily ignored donation button so they can be sure other people aren't paying corporations any money).

    I'm not saying that curation is bad, but to pretend it has no flaws is silly. Curating specific mods just turns specific highly-popular mod developers into figures like CyborgMatt in DotA 2, who was essentially a second-party community manager+item developer (sponsor?). If you believe that's what's best for the modding scene, having only modders who display consistent quality and luck make money, that's your call, but I'm not sold on that being the best system, and from Bethesda's post they clearly were not sold on it either.

    milski on
    I ate an engineer
  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    The worst thing about all of this is how botching stuff to this degree poisons the well. Lines have been drawn in the TES modding community that can't be erased and the concept of paying modders for their work is likely been pushed back at a minimum of half a year and most likely even longer than that. I also worry that Valve and Bethesda will learn all of the wrong lessons from this. Anyone not busy salivating over the possibility of juicy data could have fortold this outcome would happen, especially with the clandestine methods they were employing to get it off of the ground and the sharecropper level profit cut. I'm not sure if I trust anyone with that lack of foresight to give it a try again.

    GaslightMan in the MistsSorcha Ravenlockoverride367Dr. Chaos
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    What clandestine methods

    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.
  • milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    Opty wrote: »
    The worst thing about all of this is how botching stuff to this degree poisons the well. Lines have been drawn in the TES modding community that can't be erased and the concept of paying modders for their work is likely been pushed back at a minimum of half a year and most likely even longer than that. I also worry that Valve and Bethesda will learn all of the wrong lessons from this. Anyone not busy salivating over the possibility of juicy data could have fortold this outcome would happen, especially with the clandestine methods they were employing to get it off of the ground and the sharecropper level profit cut. I'm not sure if I trust anyone with that lack of foresight to give it a try again.

    Your continual pessimism and hyperbole really makes any discussion difficult, especially given your view of how Valve had to be talking to mod developers is completely unsubstantiated by anything other than the (completely normal) fact they didn't disclose business deals in the works to random third parties (us).

    I ate an engineer
  • AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    We've done this because it's clear we didn't understand exactly what we were doing.

    To me, this is close to the heart of this particular case. The general perception, IMO, in the industry is that both Valve and Bethesda don't know what they're doing, and/or don't care, when it comes to putting out a product that works from the start and then providing ongoing support for it. They've relied on past goodwill and the efforts of others to carry them and fix or at least paper over the rough spots. And that goodwill has now evaporated.

    Would we have seen the same reaction if most of the money was being taken by hypothetical companies that can be expected to manage and maintain the service in a professional manner? To actually earn their cut, rather than just collecting it? Consider EA; a lot of people think they and/or Origin are basically the Antichrist, but if there's one other thing people agree on, their support is (usually) top notch.

    That's because they don't let freelance (or even free) contributors into the mix. They can stay professional, streamlined, and closed.

    Spore? The Sims?

    Fair point. But where are the mods?

    There are absolutely tons of mods for The Sims. It's one of the most user modified series I know about, along with The Elder Scrolls.

    steam_sig.png
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Aistan wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    We've done this because it's clear we didn't understand exactly what we were doing.

    To me, this is close to the heart of this particular case. The general perception, IMO, in the industry is that both Valve and Bethesda don't know what they're doing, and/or don't care, when it comes to putting out a product that works from the start and then providing ongoing support for it. They've relied on past goodwill and the efforts of others to carry them and fix or at least paper over the rough spots. And that goodwill has now evaporated.

    Would we have seen the same reaction if most of the money was being taken by hypothetical companies that can be expected to manage and maintain the service in a professional manner? To actually earn their cut, rather than just collecting it? Consider EA; a lot of people think they and/or Origin are basically the Antichrist, but if there's one other thing people agree on, their support is (usually) top notch.

    That's because they don't let freelance (or even free) contributors into the mix. They can stay professional, streamlined, and closed.

    Spore? The Sims?

    Fair point. But where are the mods?

    There are absolutely tons of mods for The Sims. It's one of the most user modified series I know about, along with The Elder Scrolls.

    Yeah, but I'm trying to find an official EA site that houses and provides support for these mods; so far I think I've found one but it's only for assets. If it's pretty much the same as Nexus, how's the compatibility?

    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.
  • Man in the MistsMan in the Mists Registered User regular
    Opty wrote: »
    The worst thing about all of this is how botching stuff to this degree poisons the well. Lines have been drawn in the TES modding community that can't be erased and the concept of paying modders for their work is likely been pushed back at a minimum of half a year and most likely even longer than that. I also worry that Valve and Bethesda will learn all of the wrong lessons from this. Anyone not busy salivating over the possibility of juicy data could have fortold this outcome would happen, especially with the clandestine methods they were employing to get it off of the ground and the sharecropper level profit cut. I'm not sure if I trust anyone with that lack of foresight to give it a try again.

    For example, the creator of SkyUI is going to have a severely damaged rep from all this.

    As for endorsed mods, one word: Falskaar

  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    Opty wrote: »
    The worst thing about all of this is how botching stuff to this degree poisons the well. Lines have been drawn in the TES modding community that can't be erased and the concept of paying modders for their work is likely been pushed back at a minimum of half a year and most likely even longer than that. I also worry that Valve and Bethesda will learn all of the wrong lessons from this. Anyone not busy salivating over the possibility of juicy data could have fortold this outcome would happen, especially with the clandestine methods they were employing to get it off of the ground and the sharecropper level profit cut. I'm not sure if I trust anyone with that lack of foresight to give it a try again.

    I'm pretty okay with this well being poisoned. Paid mods will almost certainly leave us worse off than we were before, particularly when the vast, vast majority of the money is getting hoovered into middlemen and modders are left to suck the marrow from the bones. Bethesda's response is pretty on point here, as they inadvertently revealed how little they respect the modding community, or their contributions, so they think themselves some magnanimous philanthropists from giving modders a pittance, even when the modders are, say, actually patching bad or outright broken design that is Bethesda's responsibility to fix.

    Man in the MistsCommander ZoomDr. ChaosDonnictonDocken
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    Help me understand how you got "We don't respect mods or modders" from Bethesda's statement.

  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Opty wrote: »
    The worst thing about all of this is how botching stuff to this degree poisons the well. Lines have been drawn in the TES modding community that can't be erased and the concept of paying modders for their work is likely been pushed back at a minimum of half a year and most likely even longer than that. I also worry that Valve and Bethesda will learn all of the wrong lessons from this. Anyone not busy salivating over the possibility of juicy data could have fortold this outcome would happen, especially with the clandestine methods they were employing to get it off of the ground and the sharecropper level profit cut. I'm not sure if I trust anyone with that lack of foresight to give it a try again.

    For example, the creator of SkyUI is going to have a severely damaged rep from all this.

    As for endorsed mods, one word: Falskaar

    Yeah skyui is one of the mods I donated to, with a word of encouragement

    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.
  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    Scosglen wrote: »
    Help me understand how you got "We don't respect mods or modders" from Bethesda's statement.

    Trying to justify offering them 25% by ignoring all the value that all modders offer Bethesda and suggesting that other exploitative licensing schemes justify it. Not once in the entire section on the split does Bethesda even breathe a whisper of the idea that modders might be offering them something of value, and the idea of offering such a pittance to someone in the first place is inherently disrespectful.

    And honestly, this is a symptom and contributing factor to a larger societal problem: the modder does all of the work, without any individual attention or assistance, and yet reaps a meager 25% of the award, while the remainder of the money just goes into other people's pockets, including fat cat billionaire CEOs of investment firms. As much as reddit bitching is made out to be the bad guy here, one of the main arguments on reddit made against this was the fact that instead of paying artists for their work, no small amount of the money will be going to people who like to recreate monster truck events with gilded yachts that they observe from their sea side mansions.

  • Fartacus_the_MightyFartacus_the_Mighty Brought to you by the letter A.Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    As Opty implied, this debacle is going to make paid mods a difficult sell in the future. Not only will press releases/AMAs/etc be scrutinized for evidence of the inclusion of such a system, but modders themselves will be very wary of participating. Mod creators got slammed for putting prices on their stuff, and Valve's shown that a big enough community shitstorm will make that loss of reputation be for nothing.

    Fartacus_the_Mighty on
  • milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Scosglen wrote: »
    Help me understand how you got "We don't respect mods or modders" from Bethesda's statement.

    Trying to justify offering them 25% by ignoring all the value that all modders offer Bethesda and suggesting that other exploitative licensing schemes justify it. Not once in the entire section on the split does Bethesda even breathe a whisper of the idea that modders might be offering them something of value, and the idea of offering such a pittance to someone in the first place is inherently disrespectful.

    And honestly, this is a symptom and contributing factor to a larger societal problem: the modder does all of the work, without any individual attention or assistance, and yet reaps a meager 25% of the award, while the remainder of the money just goes into other people's pockets, including fat cat billionaire CEOs of investment firms. As much as reddit bitching is made out to be the bad guy here, one of the main arguments on reddit made against this was the fact that instead of paying artists for their work, no small amount of the money will be going to people who like to recreate monster truck events with gilded yachts that they observe from their sea side mansions.

    What?

    No seriously, what? I sort of got the gist of your argument, even though I don't see why it's so morally abhorrent that Bethesda focused the value they provide to the modder in the midst of a tide of people suggesting they deserve absolutely nothing, especially since Bethesda claimed there are (unspecified) arguments modders deserve more. I can also sort of understand why you'd believe a 25-45 split is a pittance, even though it's a fairly standard plan.

    But... what is the second paragraph about? It just feels like rage and projection directed at this issue because it needed an outlet. The only sane point in the argument is the Reddit one, and again, I'm very skeptical that their continuous arguments of "remove paid for mods, add a donation button" were anything but thinly veiled "I don't want to pay for mods" with a bit of "I hate the idea of big companies getting money." EDIT: Especially since the first actual discussion on the Reddit thread about paid mod removal is basically saying "but shit guys, they might do it again, and paying for mods is awful."

    milski on
    I ate an engineer
  • ProbadProbad Registered User regular
    I don't think anyone is going to be staying up late waiting for donations to roll in after this.

  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    milski wrote: »
    Scosglen wrote: »
    Help me understand how you got "We don't respect mods or modders" from Bethesda's statement.

    Trying to justify offering them 25% by ignoring all the value that all modders offer Bethesda and suggesting that other exploitative licensing schemes justify it. Not once in the entire section on the split does Bethesda even breathe a whisper of the idea that modders might be offering them something of value, and the idea of offering such a pittance to someone in the first place is inherently disrespectful.

    And honestly, this is a symptom and contributing factor to a larger societal problem: the modder does all of the work, without any individual attention or assistance, and yet reaps a meager 25% of the award, while the remainder of the money just goes into other people's pockets, including fat cat billionaire CEOs of investment firms. As much as reddit bitching is made out to be the bad guy here, one of the main arguments on reddit made against this was the fact that instead of paying artists for their work, no small amount of the money will be going to people who like to recreate monster truck events with gilded yachts that they observe from their sea side mansions.

    What?

    No seriously, what? I sort of got the gist of your argument, even though I don't see why it's so morally abhorrent that Bethesda focused the value they provide to the modder in the midst of a tide of people suggesting they deserve absolutely nothing while still claiming there are arguments modders deserve more. I can also sort of understand why you'd believe a 25-45 split is a pittance, even though it's a fairly standard plan.

    But... what is the second paragraph about? It just feels like rage and projection directed at this issue because it needed an outlet. The only sane point in the argument is the Reddit one, and again, I'm very skeptical that their continuous arguments of "remove paid for mods, add a donation button" were anything but thinly veiled "I don't want to pay for mods" with a bit of "I hate the idea of big companies getting money."

    Sure. My two pieces are basically:

    1. The standard split is shit, and should be called such. It would be one thing if Bethesda was doing QA, marketing, adding in extra functionality for specific mods, etc, etc, and even then it would depend, but taking 75% for a bit of backend work largely finished years ago is shit. It also shows the overly commercialized relationship with both modders and players. I'm not advocating just doing work for love, man, but having some consideration for community in wildly profitable projects doesn't hurt, especially when arguably people's perception of you caring about such may have helped said profitability.

    By Bethesda's own words, they made less than 1% of their revenue from paid mods during the time period. It wouldn't be any real sacrifice for them, but would be huge for modders to take a much smaller percentage.

    2. This sort of arrangement is part of the dysfunctional and dangerous system of modern insufficiently regulated capitalism today. Owning property is worth almost everything, labor is worth almost nothing. Bethesda isn't the first or worst case of this, but it's a consistent issue.

    Dr. ChaoselectricitylikesmePanda4YouDocken
  • milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    The thing I see in every response disparaging the split is conflating expenses and value. Bethesda's expenses for a given mod are relatively low compared to the modders, yes. How much value each of them provides is entirely different. If nothing else, to argue that Bethesda provides no value to the modder by having such a large install base is equivalent to arguing that a TV station provides no value to advertisers by hosting reruns (that they own the rights to). Simply because Bethesda can earn money from very low splits does not mean they are obligated to, much like a TV network would never consider giving away nearly free ad-space simply because their expenses for that timeslot weren't high.

    The argument seems to be that the only "just" or "equitable" or "fair" or w/e split is a split based on the expenses required to create the mod, but inherent value (of a gaming audience, TV viewship, land, etc.) is never something ignored in business decisions.

    Likewise, saying "it isn't a large amount of revenue for them, but could be for modders" has never struck me as a rational argument. If it provides limited revenue for them, making it provide even less revenue doesn't seem like a wise decision. And while it is noble, sacrificing business earnings to help others is an odd thing to expect as the baseline.

    As for labor being worth less: While that might be an accurate, this is an incredibly strange hill to defend for that concept. It does not make sense to talk about the devaluing of labor when it comes to any form of self-employment, because that has always been very high risk with no guarantees of income. You could go from there to argue that everybody deserves a minimum income or a stronger safety net because labor in general is less valuable, but that's unrelated to the point at hand.

    milski on
    I ate an engineer
    qwer12
  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    milski wrote: »
    Opty wrote: »
    The worst thing about all of this is how botching stuff to this degree poisons the well. Lines have been drawn in the TES modding community that can't be erased and the concept of paying modders for their work is likely been pushed back at a minimum of half a year and most likely even longer than that. I also worry that Valve and Bethesda will learn all of the wrong lessons from this. Anyone not busy salivating over the possibility of juicy data could have fortold this outcome would happen, especially with the clandestine methods they were employing to get it off of the ground and the sharecropper level profit cut. I'm not sure if I trust anyone with that lack of foresight to give it a try again.

    Your continual pessimism and hyperbole really makes any discussion difficult, especially given your view of how Valve had to be talking to mod developers is completely unsubstantiated by anything other than the (completely normal) fact they didn't disclose business deals in the works to random third parties (us).

    My view is based on the process as outlined in the reddit post linked in the OP. They even explicitly outline they believed it was a bad deal in that post but they went along with it anyway. We won't get much more from them though since they've apparently deleted their reddit account and disappeared.

  • milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    Opty wrote: »
    milski wrote: »
    Opty wrote: »
    The worst thing about all of this is how botching stuff to this degree poisons the well. Lines have been drawn in the TES modding community that can't be erased and the concept of paying modders for their work is likely been pushed back at a minimum of half a year and most likely even longer than that. I also worry that Valve and Bethesda will learn all of the wrong lessons from this. Anyone not busy salivating over the possibility of juicy data could have fortold this outcome would happen, especially with the clandestine methods they were employing to get it off of the ground and the sharecropper level profit cut. I'm not sure if I trust anyone with that lack of foresight to give it a try again.

    Your continual pessimism and hyperbole really makes any discussion difficult, especially given your view of how Valve had to be talking to mod developers is completely unsubstantiated by anything other than the (completely normal) fact they didn't disclose business deals in the works to random third parties (us).

    My view is based on the process as outlined in the reddit post linked in the OP. They even explicitly outline they believed it was a bad deal in that post but they went along with it anyway. We won't get much more from them though since they've apparently deleted their reddit account and disappeared.

    Nothing in there is nearly as extreme as the picture you painted, and it's coming from a source that is pandering as hard as possible to Reddit because Reddit itself (and other communities) were attacking him as a content thief. For instance, "taken down because of a copyright claim" is a bit extreme considering he took the mod down himself and FNIS had no legal standing with whatever claim they made. I will agree with you that he does not seem to understand how copyright works.

    I ate an engineer
  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    The picture I painted is supported by their words.

    Valve contacted them individually and presented it as a sort of golden ticket situation:
    I'll start with the human factor. Imagine you wake up one morning, and sitting in your inbox is an email directly from Valve, with a Bethesda staff member cc'd. And they want YOU, yes, you, to participate in a new and exciting program. Well, shit. What am I supposed to say? These kinds of opportunities happen once in a lifetime. It was a very persuasive and attractive situation.

    Valve had a rushed timeline (my argument was that this was so no one would have time to stop and fully read the contract lest they miss their deadline) and they enforced utmost secrecy.
    We were given about a month and a half to prepare our content. As anyone here knows, large DLC-sized mods don't happen in a month and a half. During this time, we were required to not speak to anyone about this program. And when a company like Valve or Bethesda tells you not to do something, you tend to listen.

    They either didn't read the contract properly up front or something happened that made the terms more obvious later on in the project.
    Things internally stayed rather positive and exciting until some of us discovered that "25% Revenue Share" meant 25% to the modder, not to Valve / Bethesda.

    "Some of us" there most likely means the paid modders were in contact with each other since I believe this person was the only one working on their mod. This is where I've made a mistake in my portrayal, as I missed that plural on the first reading. Rather than being isolated and left to decide on their own, they were instead put in a group situation with the rest of the paid modders. Regardless of that though, the implication is that it was the belief of the group at large that they were to get 75% up until the time the correct reading was discovered which means if they were isolated a good deal of them would have made it to launch with that belief intact. I don't know how Valve presented the terms to them but it's likely it was done as confusingly as possible if the whole group shared the incorrect belief up until then.

    Either way they realized it was a bad deal but stuck with it anyway:
    Is it fair? No. But it was an experiment I was willing to at least try.

    I haven't heard of anyone coming out to say they were part of the project and quit after that discovery was made. That could be because they're still under NDA (meaning the redditor here broke theirs) or because every single mod in the project decided to continue. In the latter case I'd say that peer pressure would have driven everyone to continue, especially if the discovery happened in the later half of the project such that the sunk cost fallacy would come up. I don't think we'll ever know for sure.

    Anyway, I'm not inclined to give Valve the benefit of the doubt here which is why I've come down so hard on their behavior. They're the company, they have the power. If they want to negotiate with individuals and try to claim they were doing it all for said individuals then they needed to do so in an environment that benefited the individuals rather than themselves. That's not what happened and we're at where we're at now because of it.

  • milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    You literally did a 180 from "they were too isolated to realize their deal was terrible" to "they were peer pressured by other modders to sticking to a bad deal."

    You aren't trying to interpret the situation, you're trying to force the situation to fit your interpretation.

    milski on
    I ate an engineer
    Grove
  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    Yes, because I just re-read it and realized my initial interpretation of the post was wrong. I addressed that in my post even. It's not doing a 180 to correct yourself when you find out you were wrong.

    Docken
  • Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    milski wrote: »
    The thing I see in every response disparaging the split is conflating expenses and value. Bethesda's expenses for a given mod are relatively low compared to the modders, yes. How much value each of them provides is entirely different. If nothing else, to argue that Bethesda provides no value to the modder by having such a large install base is equivalent to arguing that a TV station provides no value to advertisers by hosting reruns (that they own the rights to). Simply because Bethesda can earn money from very low splits does not mean they are obligated to, much like a TV network would never consider giving away nearly free ad-space simply because their expenses for that timeslot weren't high.

    The argument seems to be that the only "just" or "equitable" or "fair" or w/e split is a split based on the expenses required to create the mod, but inherent value (of a gaming audience, TV viewship, land, etc.) is never something ignored in business decisions.

    Likewise, saying "it isn't a large amount of revenue for them, but could be for modders" has never struck me as a rational argument. If it provides limited revenue for them, making it provide even less revenue doesn't seem like a wise decision. And while it is noble, sacrificing business earnings to help others is an odd thing to expect as the baseline.

    As for labor being worth less: While that might be an accurate, this is an incredibly strange hill to defend for that concept. It does not make sense to talk about the devaluing of labor when it comes to any form of self-employment, because that has always been very high risk with no guarantees of income. You could go from there to argue that everybody deserves a minimum income or a stronger safety net because labor in general is less valuable, but that's unrelated to the point at hand.

    Your entire argument here continues to ignore the major thing re: Bethesda and value: modding *creates* value for Bethesda, whether it's paid or not. Modders are part of the reason Bethesda, and their two main series, are as successful as they are. I think it's entirely wrong to pitch this as "Well, Bethesda's creation offers value, so they deserve a cut" when, if anything, it's the mods that are increasing the value of what Bethesda has already done. Whether it's legal or not, I fail to see a compelling philosophical argument for why Bethesda should get paid twice for Skyrim. Once for each copy sold, and then again for any mods people make and sell. I think that's utterly bullshit and despite precedent, not the way things should be, at all.

    Much like all the "This is a standard split" stuff, it feels like people are trying to justify the shitty way the system currently works instead of asking why it works that way.

    Commander ZoomSaraLuna
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    A 25% split isn't automatically a pittance. Youtubers get 10 to 30 cents per view for ads. Ads cost on average 120k for 30 seconds on local TV. A 3.75 mil superbowl ad costs a company 3.5 hours of profit - the same running time as the superbowl.

    However, mods aren't ads. The top TF2 item maker made 500 a year. DOTA 2 makes 80 mil a year from user items. One Skyrim modder made more in the day the workshop was up than a year of donations.

    There are several gaps in these statistics. But without them, I have no idea what you mean when you say 25% is a bad cut, regardless of the theoretical variables.

    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.
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    A 25% split isn't automatically a pittance. Youtubers get 10 to 30 cents per view for ads. Ads cost on average 120k for 30 seconds on local TV. A 3.75 mil superbowl ad costs a company 3.5 hours of profit - the same running time as the superbowl.

    However, mods aren't ads. The top TF2 item maker made 500 a year. DOTA 2 makes 80 mil a year from user items. One Skyrim modder made more in the day the workshop was up than a year of donations.

    There are several gaps in these statistics. But without them, I have no idea what you mean when you say 25% is a bad cut, regardless of the theoretical variables.

    YouTubers get a giant, worldwide, video hosting platform to use.

    Mod makers bought the game. Other people bought the game. The company got paid from these people buying the game. People are then buying the game so they can play mods. So where in this chain is there any necessity that the company get paid for mods?

    LilnoobsprogramjunkieMan in the MistsCommander Zoom
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    A 25% split isn't automatically a pittance. Youtubers get 10 to 30 cents per view for ads. Ads cost on average 120k for 30 seconds on local TV. A 3.75 mil superbowl ad costs a company 3.5 hours of profit - the same running time as the superbowl.

    However, mods aren't ads. The top TF2 item maker made 500 a year. DOTA 2 makes 80 mil a year from user items. One Skyrim modder made more in the day the workshop was up than a year of donations.

    There are several gaps in these statistics. But without them, I have no idea what you mean when you say 25% is a bad cut, regardless of the theoretical variables.

    YouTubers get a giant, worldwide, video hosting platform to use.

    Mod makers bought the game. Other people bought the game. The company got paid from these people buying the game. People are then buying the game so they can play mods. So where in this chain is there any necessity that the company get paid for mods?

    Compelling argument for negotiation, but I bought TF2, and I pay the same for hats as free to players. I'm also probably a more reliable source of income.

    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.
  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Paladin wrote: »
    A 25% split isn't automatically a pittance. Youtubers get 10 to 30 cents per view for ads. Ads cost on average 120k for 30 seconds on local TV. A 3.75 mil superbowl ad costs a company 3.5 hours of profit - the same running time as the superbowl.

    However, mods aren't ads. The top TF2 item maker made 500 a year. DOTA 2 makes 80 mil a year from user items. One Skyrim modder made more in the day the workshop was up than a year of donations.

    There are several gaps in these statistics. But without them, I have no idea what you mean when you say 25% is a bad cut, regardless of the theoretical variables.

    YouTubers get a giant, worldwide, video hosting platform to use.

    Mod makers bought the game. Other people bought the game. The company got paid from these people buying the game. People are then buying the game so they can play mods. So where in this chain is there any necessity that the company get paid for mods?

    To extend from this comment, I love when Bethesda/Valve or some other company comes out and says they raise paywalls for the sake of mod-makers because mod-makers are developers and they deserve developer-like support! Oh yeah? If they are developers and you want to support them, why not hire them, Mr. Bethesda? Why don't you put them on the "developer" payroll, Valve?

    Lilnoobs on
    programjunkieCommander ZoomDerrick
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    A 25% split isn't automatically a pittance. Youtubers get 10 to 30 cents per view for ads. Ads cost on average 120k for 30 seconds on local TV. A 3.75 mil superbowl ad costs a company 3.5 hours of profit - the same running time as the superbowl.

    However, mods aren't ads. The top TF2 item maker made 500 a year. DOTA 2 makes 80 mil a year from user items. One Skyrim modder made more in the day the workshop was up than a year of donations.

    There are several gaps in these statistics. But without them, I have no idea what you mean when you say 25% is a bad cut, regardless of the theoretical variables.

    YouTubers get a giant, worldwide, video hosting platform to use.

    Mod makers bought the game. Other people bought the game. The company got paid from these people buying the game. People are then buying the game so they can play mods. So where in this chain is there any necessity that the company get paid for mods?

    Compelling argument for negotiation, but I bought TF2, and I pay the same for hats as free to players. I'm also probably a more reliable source of income.

    Irrelevant. This isn't about what you the consumer pay, it's about the cut the mod maker gets. Somehow, people are treating it like they get a game engine they get to sell direct to customers. No. No they do not. They are being subsumed as a marketing arm of the original company, to sell the game. And then paying for the privilege to do so.

    programjunkieMan in the MistsDerrick
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    That already happened. They bought the game to mod it, and their free mods are free marketing for the game. This argument is irrelevant for free vs. paid mods. It exists with either scenario.

    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.
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    A 25% split isn't automatically a pittance. Youtubers get 10 to 30 cents per view for ads. Ads cost on average 120k for 30 seconds on local TV. A 3.75 mil superbowl ad costs a company 3.5 hours of profit - the same running time as the superbowl.

    However, mods aren't ads. The top TF2 item maker made 500 a year. DOTA 2 makes 80 mil a year from user items. One Skyrim modder made more in the day the workshop was up than a year of donations.

    There are several gaps in these statistics. But without them, I have no idea what you mean when you say 25% is a bad cut, regardless of the theoretical variables.

    YouTubers get a giant, worldwide, video hosting platform to use.

    Mod makers bought the game. Other people bought the game. The company got paid from these people buying the game. People are then buying the game so they can play mods. So where in this chain is there any necessity that the company get paid for mods?

    To extend from this comment, I love when Bethesda/Valve or some other company comes out and says they raise paywalls for the sake of mod-makers because mod-makers are developers and they deserve developer-like support! Oh yeah? If they are developers and you want to support them, why not hire them, Mr. Bethesda? Why don't you put them on the "developer" payroll, Valve?

    Dunno about bethesda, but valve has already done this.

    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.
  • KisidanKisidan Registered User regular
    Scosglen wrote: »
    Help me understand how you got "We don't respect mods or modders" from Bethesda's statement.

    Trying to justify offering them 25% by ignoring all the value that all modders offer Bethesda and suggesting that other exploitative licensing schemes justify it. Not once in the entire section on the split does Bethesda even breathe a whisper of the idea that modders might be offering them something of value, and the idea of offering such a pittance to someone in the first place is inherently disrespectful.

    And honestly, this is a symptom and contributing factor to a larger societal problem: the modder does all of the work, without any individual attention or assistance, and yet reaps a meager 25% of the award, while the remainder of the money just goes into other people's pockets, including fat cat billionaire CEOs of investment firms. As much as reddit bitching is made out to be the bad guy here, one of the main arguments on reddit made against this was the fact that instead of paying artists for their work, no small amount of the money will be going to people who like to recreate monster truck events with gilded yachts that they observe from their sea side mansions.

    Man, if I took home 25% of the money I make for my company I would be a very, very happy employee.

  • milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    A 25% split isn't automatically a pittance. Youtubers get 10 to 30 cents per view for ads. Ads cost on average 120k for 30 seconds on local TV. A 3.75 mil superbowl ad costs a company 3.5 hours of profit - the same running time as the superbowl.

    However, mods aren't ads. The top TF2 item maker made 500 a year. DOTA 2 makes 80 mil a year from user items. One Skyrim modder made more in the day the workshop was up than a year of donations.

    There are several gaps in these statistics. But without them, I have no idea what you mean when you say 25% is a bad cut, regardless of the theoretical variables.

    YouTubers get a giant, worldwide, video hosting platform to use.

    Mod makers bought the game. Other people bought the game. The company got paid from these people buying the game. People are then buying the game so they can play mods. So where in this chain is there any necessity that the company get paid for mods?

    Just to raise the obvious counterpoint, any software sold for commercial use is very, very rarely less than $100. Simply because they've already paid money does not mean they are obligated to get a deal where they make 100% of the money from mods they sell. There are many, many examples of paying for something, then continuing to pay a fee on top of that; rent on a house you built, advertising fees after hiring an ad company, etc. The only real difference here is that the initial sale and continuous fee are both owed to the same person, and it is a royalty agreement.
    Opty wrote: »
    Yes, because I just re-read it and realized my initial interpretation of the post was wrong. I addressed that in my post even. It's not doing a 180 to correct yourself when you find out you were wrong.

    I understand that you re-read it and believe your interpretation is wrong. The problem is that you took two completely opposite situations and interpreted them in ways that lead to the exact same conclusion. I seriously doubt that kind of mental gymnastics would occur unless you were actively out to make Valve look like, as you said, literal sharecroppers.

    I ate an engineer
    Grove
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