Published on April 24th, 2015 | by Andew Dupe
Opinion: Paid Mods for Skyrim on Steam
EDIT: I feel like I need to clarify something. These mods are DLC by defenition but they should not carry over the same stigma that we have about EA DLC. These are were not set up to compensate for a half-baked game (it can sometimes) and genuinely extend the life of the game and it’s quality to the user. Which is why modding has always been so popular to begin with. DLC is a separate issue stop confusing the two of them.
EDIT EDIT: While my opinion still stands that paying for mods is likely still a good thing. The implementation is 100% the problem here. Many users are bashing this for the wrong reasons and we need to have a clear message for this going forward. I’ll stand by these points that I made because I still believe they are valid.
I’m just going to start this off saying this is not a bad thing, far from it. I understand why people are getting a little uppity about this, if there is one thing gamers fear it is change. Especially PC gamers.
Fear not brothers of the master race! These are not the end times nor are they the beginning of the end times. No one is forcing you to buy these mods that people spend hours and hours of their time on and no one is forcing them to charge you for it. Really no matter way you cut it PC is still a winner in this, mods are just the icing on the cake of PC gaming and it’s not being taken away, it still has great support, so why not throw a little bit of money and show that we, the gamers, really do support the content creators. This is coming from one of the PC gamers who’s Skyrim mods folder is likely larger than Skyrim itself.
If there is an incentive for people to make money there will likely be more content as an outcome. That’s how Apple’s app store does it, that’s how the TF2 market place does it, and that’s how ‘Merica does it damn it! God Bless Capitalism. Especially since the programmers and modelers behind these mods are doing it in their spare time because they want to if they want to charge for it why not? If you spent like 10 hours on something and have them use it for some number of hours as well only to nod and say “neat” you might start to think to your self “I could have been playing a game in that spare time.”
The Capitalism door swings both ways though if you don’t like it then don’t contribute and don’t buy into it then it will die. From that point those developers will continue to make mods out of the goodness of their hearts and maybe you’ll donate and maybe not. It’s kind of like art or any sort of content that people make. They don’t understand the value of it when they can generally get it for free.
There is still always the Skyrim Mod Nexus.
There are many valid concerns about this paid mods service however such as quality and scammers posting up mods don’t deliver or they just post something from the Nexus. That will be up to the community and Steam to police much the same way any app store works. For the quality people will rate the mod and leave a review then people will know if it’s good or completely terrible and it will all kind of normalize from that. There is also the concern about compatibility with other mods and the solution to this, as well as the first two issues, is that you are able to “try any mod, risk free” and “newly posted items to be sold must first appear as visible to the community without a purchase option before they can be sold.” (http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/aboutpaidcontent/) with a 24 hour refund period.
The backlash has been wildly negative from the community and why is everyone angry about it? Well mods have always been free so they should stay free. Mods have historically been free because there have been no ways for anyone to charge for them without the company throwing a ban hammer at their mod and forcing them to take it down and there is a whole bunch of copyright issues.
But look at this fairly successful Patreon done by GulaGames he’s an ex-Maxis employee who was laid off and he is creating some premium looking building mods for Cities:Skylines so he can help pay off student debt, etc. Currently he is busy looking for a job in the gaming industry and is doing this on the side so he can keep creating content for us rather then spending his time as a bus boy or something.
We’ve also already seen some people feel like they could use this as a donation system where their mod is listed both in the free section and the paid section. That’s nice he didn’t have to list it as free.
I’m going to say it again because it’s important that people understand that doing something like this as a labour of love is not a reason to not make money off of it. It takes time and effort. If you say “Oh but he was enjoying it and it was his free time” I would reply “You’re in the wrong job if you don’t enjoy it and of course it was his free time because this isn’t his job. He isn’t being paid for it.”
You could also retort “Oh but they didn’t build the game, they are just adding onto other peoples work.” I did mention above that this is normal for any game that has a community generated market place and look at the Apple App Store. Apple built all of those utilities, platform, and market place for people to create content. Same thing.
I know you PC gamers, you’re going to retort yet again with something like “Apple wants them to create content on their phones so people will buy it and use it.” There’s the trap. Valve and Bethesda just did exactly that.
You’re also going to blame Valve for this one and I’ll tell you what. This is in no way Valve’s fault. It is 100% the modders decision that they want to charge money for their mod. If you say that Valve shouldn’t have created the place for people to sell their content then you just don’t belong on Steam. Or the Internet.
In this TotalBiscuit video he brings up the point that Valve’s implementation of the workshop like this is flawed and something closer to patreon where there is a minimum payment and the rest is pay what you want is kind of a nicer idea. Who knows where this will end up it’s a great idea.
TL;DR Some mods are just huge and given how popular Skyrim is with modding and the success of the TF2 marketplace I’m certain that we will see a major increase in not just mods in general but quality mods because people deserve to be paid for content they create. But this is a new concept and it’s not without its drawbacks, we need to adjust to it and stay vigilant about moderating this stuff and just go along with it for just a little bit. It is trying to make the game that you like a bigger and better experience.
If you are new to Skyrim and have doubts about how awesome the mods are, here are just a couple examples of why these modders could deserve some compensation starting with this album of screenshots from /u/Sprakisnolo
The mod in the main image of this post is from a younger modder who spent over 1000 hours creating a mod so large it is basically an expansion. He submitted it as a part of a job application. http://www.nexusmods.com/