Valve’s decision to introduce money into the realm of modding has gotten off to a rocky start. Alongside the appearance of several “protest mods”, the creator of the Art of the Catch fishing mod for The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Chesko, has voiced his anger at Valve over their handling of his mod, which was removed from the Steam Workshop over allegations of stolen content.
Yesterday we reported that one of the first mods to be featured as a paid mod on the Steam Workshop, the Art of the Catch, was removed after it was learned that it used content from a different mod, Fore’s New Idles in Skyrim. Chesko, the creator of the popular fishing mod, explained that prior to putting the mod up for sale, he was told by Valve that mods that depended on third party content, in this case FNIS, could be put up for sale with no problems.
After the backlash from both users and the creator of FNIS, Fore, Chesko voluntarily chose to remove his mod from the workshop and refund everyone who purchased it. He also spoke with Fore and smoothed things out with him.
However, Chesko ran into some issues when Valve told him that while they would delist the mod from the Steam Workshop, they would not be removing it entirely; only users who already paid for the mod would still have access to it. After speaking to one of Valve’s lawyers, Chesko reported:
He stated that they will not remove the content unless ‘legally compelled to do so,’ and that they will make the file visible only to currently paid users. I am beside myself with anger right now as they try to tell me what I can do with my own content.
Fed up with the whole ordeal, Chesko added:
With the complete lack of moderation control over the hundreds of spam and attack messages I have received on Steam and off, I am making the decision to leave the curated Workshop behind. I will be refunding all PayPal donations that have occurred today and yesterday.
I may just host my mods on my own site for anyone who is interested. What I need to happen, right now, is for modding to return to its place in my life where it’s a fun side hobby, instead of taking over my life. That starts now. Or just give it up entirely; I have other things I could spend my energy on.
Meanwhile, a number of “protest mods” have been appearing on the Skyrim Steam Workshop. Most notable of these is the Extra Apple mod, which for $35, more than the price of Skyrim, you get an extra apple added to the counter of The Bannered Mare, a pub within the game.
There’s also the Literally Nothing mod, which does…literally nothing, the Immersive Paywall mod, which adds, among other things, a massive mural of Gabe Newell’s face that prevents players from progressing past the opening tutorial, and the REMOVE PAID MODS PLS VOLVO, THE MOD REBORN mod which…I have no idea what it does, but its Steam page has an image of a naked Gabe Newell swimming in an ocean of money.
Finally a Change.org petition has been established, calling for Valve to remove paid mods from the Steam Workshop. Within the span of a few days, it has amassed 77,603 supporters.
This is a firestorm that probably won’t die down in a while, and Valve, long perceived as one of the last bastions of PC gaming, would be foolish to ignore it.