PC gamers, or the PC Master Race as they love to call themselves, are notorious for many things, chief among them their reticence to pay for anything outside of actual games (and in some cases not even that). This was demonstrated over the weekend after Valve and Bethesda announced that they would be providing paid mods for Skyrim via Steam. The outrage that followed was swift (and loud).
Due to all of the complaints that arose over this situation, Valve has decided to cancel mods for Skyrim just days after implementing the project. I guess when you have PCMR god Gabe Newell getting downvoted to the lowest parts of Hades on Reddit, drastic actions had to be taken.
Over on the Steam Community site, Valve employee Aldon Kroll had this to say:
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.
To help you understand why we thought this was a good idea, our main goals were to allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to, and to encourage developers to provide better support to their mod communities. We thought this would result in better mods for everyone, both free & paid. We wanted more great mods becoming great products, like Dota, Counter-strike, DayZ, and Killing Floor, and we wanted that to happen organically for any mod maker who wanted to take a shot at it.
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 right 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.
Now that you’ve backed a dump truck of feedback onto our inboxes, we’ll be chewing through that, but if you have any further thoughts let us know.
Over on Bethesda’s site, the studio had this update:
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.
So there you have it, folks. Truth be told, this was a plan which was horribly implemented and which didn’t take into account how PC gamers would react. As I said before, this is a community that refuses to pay extra for anything. Why Valve or Bethesda thought it would be a good idea to charge for mods, the main thing PC gaming has over over console gaming, is something that’s a bit perplexing.
Though paid mods may make a return in some fashion, for now, they are dead.