In what might be the most controversial news for PC gamers in 2015, Valve have added functionality to the Steam Workshop that allows modders to sell their creations instead of providing them for free. Starting with Skyrim, the functionality will soon be available to any game with Workshop support where the game developer has given the go-ahead. While the move is pegged as a move to help “support modders”, only 25% of the proceeds will actually end up in the modders pocket – with the rest being split between Steam and the game developer.
While Valve have tested the waters by allowing people to sell hats in Team Fortress 2 and skins in DOTA 2, this new move is likely to divide PC gamers right down the middle. On the one hand, modders often put anywhere from hundreds to thousands of hours into their creations, some of which are right up there in terms of quality alongside the main game. On the other hand, the modding community has been built upon the premise that everything is free – knowledge, assets, and ideas have traditionally been shared freely in a non-competitive environment. There is now nothing stopping a rookie modder coming along and trying to sell a cheap clone of a good mod just to make a quick buck.
Valve will be offering gamers a 24-hour cooling off period in which they can claim a refund on their purchase if the mod doesn’t work or isn’t what the store page described. You can read more about the programme here.
What do you think? Is this the end of the glory period for game modding, or is this just the beginning of a new era – where the best mods will earn their pay and the cheap knock-offs will just slip into obscurity at the bottom of the Workshop floor?
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