Valve representative Alden Kroll announced today that the Steam Workshop’s controversial paid mod functionality will be removed, and that anyone who spent money for mods will be refunded in full.
“We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing,” Kroll admitted in a Steam Workshop update. “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.”
While the idea was to allow modders to make some kind of profit from their endeavors and to encourage higher-quality content, the functionality was immediately met with heavy resistance from the gaming community. After several years of being able to download content that would greatly enhance the game for free, players believed that the decision to allow a price to be placed on the mods was a slap in the face, especially for those who had diligently relied on the modders who created high-quality content for nothing but the satisfaction of the community. You know there’s a problem when a subreddit titled /r/modpiracy appeared last week, along with several reports of mods that were already overpriced for their quality.
A few well-known modders and programmers also weighed in on the issue of charging for mods, including Garry Newman of Garry’s Mod fame and one of the developers on the Skywind team. A petition with over 130,000 supporters appeared, along with a very snarky Skyrim Workshop mod.
Valve claimed that their main reason for allowing the payment functionality was to give mod creators the opportunity to work on their creations as a full-time job, and to encourage game developers to put more effort into supporting their modding communities.
“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,” said Kroll.
Kroll also said that attempting to introduce a payment model to a well-established, aging modding community like Skyrim was a poor decision.
In an odd yet interesting timing conflict, Bethesda released their stance on the matter of paid mods only an hour prior to Valve’s statement. As of now, we have no further information as to when this functionality will be removed, but we do have a slightly bitter-sounding ending to Kroll’s earlier statement:
“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.”