And the “Steam selling mods” debate rages on. Good times, around what is honestly a great topic and, IMO, a major shift in gaming overall. And just to be very clear, I am 100% for this shift, as I think it will greatly improve gaming once some of the kinks are worked out, and I trust Valve that they will work them out.
This video is a nice quick update, including forum statements made by Gabe from Valve. Also more statements here on a Reddit AMA, including that the 75% cut from mods on Skyrim was set by Bethesda, not Valve, and that other devs can set the pay rate differently.
Already the process has changed that you can ‘sell’ a mod for zero, and then have a donation option where someone can select what they want to pay. Also from the video you will note that the most popular Skyrim mod, SkyUI, is getting an update thanks 100% because of this change, which is proof that this is already working in terms of getting more of the stuff we want and giving mod makers the motivation to keep going or return.
The other side of this is all of the freeloaders bitching and being children in comments sections because they can no longer get everything they want for free. Honestly these people are the absolute worst, and are a major reason why I overall despise F2P; the paywall with something not being free helps keep them out, and I’m glad for that if nothing else.
Ultimately I think we will see more examples like the SkyUI team coming back; we are going to have modders be motivated to keep going, and I think we will also see the natural growth of mod teams around successful ideas. For instance, I think the greatest mod I’ve ever played is Prophecy of Pendor for Mount and Blade. It is, quite literally, a better game with better systems than 95% of all professional games IMO (and is the game I’ve spent more time with than any other game, period), and it always drove me nuts that all of that work was given away for free, and that support/work on the mod would come and go. If PoP was on Steam for a price of $10 or so, I think not only would the mod still be supported today, it would likely have a much bigger team and be a much better mod than it is today. For $10, that is such a crazy bargain, and one that wasn’t possible prior to Valve making this change.
I also think this will be a major change in gaming much like Kickstarter has already shifted gaming, giving us gems like Pillars, Divinity, and plenty of other games that would have never happened without it. Again lets take Mount and Blade, a game with awesome mod support. Imagine if selling mods had been around when the game was released. How much money would the original developers have made off mod sales vs what little they still make off the sale of the original game for $5-10? How much better would Mount and Blade be with that increased support? How much better would the modding tools be? Would we already have the next game, Bannerlord, finished and delivered with a larger budget than what it has now?
This change would also lead to more products like Mount and Blade; where the original game is good, but the true value in the software is the mod tools it provides. Now that top-shelf mods can be sold on a solid platform like Steam, its reasonable to assume we will see more stuff like this, and again, basically everyone benefits. More games, more creativity, more flexibility, and lower reliance on a major publisher and the need for VC money. Sure, we aren’t going to see anything on the scale of a GTA V, but not everything needs to be that, and as good as that game is in large part thanks to its mega budget, I’ll still ultimately have far more hours played on M&B PoP than I will in GTA V, so what really is more ‘valuable’ to me? Or to you?