Valve announced today they are removing paid mods from Steam effective immediately.
Since their announcement and institution, Valve’s decision to charge for Skyrim Mods has been controversial to say the least. Reddit, Twitter and Valve forums have been ablaze with lively discussion for the last few days. In fact, when Gabe Newell conducted an AMA on Reddit’s r/gaming subreddit to discuss the issue, he faced an extreme amount of backlash for the man jokingly considered the deity of PC gaming. Valve made the announcement today on the Steam community site:
We’re going to remove the payment feature from the Skyrim workshop. For anyone who spent money on a mod, we’ll be refunding you the complete amount. We talked to the team at Bethesda and they agree.
We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing. We’ve been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they’ve been received well. It’s obvious now that this case is different.
Valve stated they wanted to encourage the development of more great standalone projects that were borne of mods, like Dota, Counter-Strike and DayZ, but concerned gamers argued that the system would restrict projects like this from growing. The payment split between Valve, the developer and the mod maker was criticized for being unfair and exploitative with the modder receiving 25% of revenue. The opportunity for modders to exploit other modders work in their mods was raised as well, with a mod being removed incredibly early in the process for using another mod’s animation assets.
One of the loudest criticisms was the possibility of someone taking a mod from a free modding platform like Nexus Mods and putting it up as a paid mod on Steam to make quick money. Some Steam gamers protested the decision to institute paid mods by offering up an “extra apple” mod and a horse genitalia mod for the low low price of 99 dollars.
Valve neglected to promise that Paid Mods will never be back, instead saying it was a mistake to impose them on an established Skyrim modding community and adding that “we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.”
[UPDATE]: The removal has been confirmed by Bethesda on their official blog, stating “the feedback has been clear – this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you.”