Valve’s decision to allow modders to host their work on the Steam Workshop for a price has sparked much anger in the PC gaming community, and with the intensity of their frustration showing now signs of dying down, co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell took to Reddit to address the community’s concerns. “Looks like we did something to piss off the Internet.” Newell said in his opening remarks on the Reddit thread.
Addressing concerns over paid mods, Newell said that “The goal [of paid mods] is to increase the total investment the community makes in extending its games,” but added that “If something doesn’t help with that, it will get dumped.”
In recognition of the controversy, Newell announced that the Steam Workshop will have a new feature that allows modders, if they choose, to host their mods under a “pay what you want” system, in which users donate whatever amount of money they feel is appropriate for a mod.
Robin Scott, the founder of popular modding site Nexus, asked Newell what Valve would do if game publishers decided to restrict mods for their games to the Steam Workshop. Newell responded:
We would be reluctant to force a game developer to do “x” for the same reason we would be reluctant to force a mod developer to do “x.” It’s just not a good idea. For example we get a lot of pressure to police the content on Steam. Shouldn’t there be a rule? How can any decent person approve of naked trees/stabbing defenseless shrubberies? It turns out that everything outrages somebody, and there is no set of possible rules that satisfies everyone. Those conversations always turn into enumerated lists of outrageous things. It’s a lot more tractable, and customer/creator friendly to focus on building systems that connect customers to the right content for them personally (and, unfortunately, a lot more work).
He did however, add that “we’d be happy to tell developers that we think they are being dumb.”
Some users also expressed their anger at being banned from the Steam forums for speaking out against the paid mods scheme, to which Newell said: “If we are censoring people, that’s stupid. I’ll get that to stop.”