The saga of Valve’s controversial decision to introduce paid mods to the Steam Workshop has concluded with the company removing the feature entirely.
The move comes on the back of tremendous fan backlash over the decision to allow modders to charge money for their work. From the moment it was introduced, fans immediately began voicing their displeasure at the monetization of something that was previously free.
At any rate, the backlash has been so intense, with a Change.org petition amassing over 130,000 signatures, that Valve has decided to throw in the towel and remove the feature entirely. Valve spokesman Alden Kroll confirmed the news on the Steam Workshop with the following statement:
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.
This news comes in spite of several prominent figures, such as Gary’s Mod creator Garry Newman, CounterStrike modder FMPONE, and Gabe Newell himself speaking out in favor of paid mods. Bethesda themselves also released a statement prior to Valve’s announcement that explained their support for paid mods.
Gamers already pay through the nose as it is for the games they love, and the last thing they need is to be forced to pay even more for mods. This will certainly be a memorable lesson to Valve and other companies to not screw with the PC community like this.