It is amazing how quickly companies can respond to community feedback. Such is the case for Valve in regards to its Steam Workshop and the launch of paid mods in Skyrim. The payment feature for mods has been removed from the Steam Workshop just a few days after it was launched. The problem seems to be with the payment model for the mods.
Valve explains the situation in a post at Steam Workshop. Part of it states that their goal was “to allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to, and to encourage developers to better provide for their mod communities.”
But we underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim’s workshop. We understand our own game’s communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the best place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.
Valve also says that anyone who spent money on a mod will be refunded the complete amount.
Bethesda, maker of The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim game, has also posted an update on their blog in regards to the paid Skyrim mods in Steam Workshop.
After discussion with Valve, and listening to our community, paid mods are being removed from Steam Workshop. Even though we had the best intentions, the feedback has been clear – this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you.
I’ve been reading through comments on both the Valve and Bethesda blog posts regarding this issue. There seem to be two main viewpoints about why the paid mods were removed. One is that people were upset because they did not want to pay for mods at all – they wanted to continue to obtain them for free. Previously, there were some Skyrim mods that were free to use.
The other view is that people were upset about the payment split. The mod creator would receive 25% of the payment, and the rest of the money would be split between Valve and Bethesda. It seems to me that some people felt that Valve and Bethesda were getting too much of the profit, and that others felt the price of mods would go up as creators attempted to make the effort they put into the mods worth the money they earned from them.