Steam and Bethesda made a major announcement today. The launch of paid mods for the PC version of Skyrim.

“We think this is a great opportunity to help support the incredible creative work being done by mod makers in the Steam Workshop,” says Tom Bui at Valve in a press release. “User generated content is an increasingly significant component of many games, and opening new avenues to help financially support those contributors via Steam Workshop will help drive the level of UGC to new heights.”

What does that support translate to? Mod makers get 25% of the revenue from direct sales of the item through Steam. Damn Valve and Bethesda, can you spare it?

Before I dive into my thoughts on the move, here’s the details.

Try any mod risk-free for 24 hours. There’s a 24-hour refund policy in place from the time you purchase. Is the mod not working as advertised? Click the ‘Get Refund’ option of the item’s Workshop page. You can read the full refund policy here.

Modders control the price of their mod. Modders can keep their mods free, charge a certain amount or let users pay what they want.

Valve has a FAQ that should address most of your questions. Mods containing artwork or content from another game or movie are a no go. “You must have the necessary rights to post any content that you post to the Steam Workshop, whether it is for sale or not.” Translation? The content needs to be original unless you have permission from the copyright holder of the content. Check out Valve’s entire FAQ to learn more.

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Play Skyrim free this weekend. Bethesda is celebrating the introduction of paid mods with a free weekend of Skyrim. If there’s any of you out there who haven’t tried the open-world RPG, now is your chance.

You will see a lot of arguments on the good and the bad about today’s announcement. One thing I don’t like is the 25% share of revenue for modders. That is pathetic. It should be at least 50%.

skyrim paid mod armor

The idea of paid mods is getting a lot of push back. A lot of people are asking themselves, ‘why pay for something that used to always be free?’ And, it’s a valid complaint. Skyrim’s long-term success is tied directly to modding. The game still sits in Steam’s top 10 played, and it released in 2011.

It’s going to be interesting to see how many modders decide to start charging for mods that used to be free.

I don’t have a problem with modders being compensated for their work if that’s the route they want to take. The market will dictate pricing in the coming months. Right now, there’s weapons and armor sets ranging from $0.25 to $2.

$2 for an armor set? Yeah, never happening.

But, the potential for compensation will encourage other people to take a crack at modding. There will be bad mods, but there is also the potential for even better mods.

The biggest issue for Valve will be policing. Stopping people from posting other people’s work for a quick buck, using copyrighted content, etc.

Let me know what you think of today’s news. Obviously, starting this program with Skyrim wasn’t the best move. People have been enjoying free mods for years, and now there’s paid mods?

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Is there a game you would support paid mods for?

Image credits: Steam, Steam Workshop

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