Valve did the smart thing late yesterday. They removed the payment feature from the Skyrim Workshop. I’ll give Valve some props here. They released a feature, which was universally panned. Valve listened to the feedback. And, acted on it.
Here’s the full statement from Valve’s Alden Kroll:
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.
That’s a pretty honest statement, which is nice to see. Valve’s feature for compensating modders has merit, but they picked the worst possible game to implement it. A fact Kroll touches in the last paragraph of his statement.
Skyrim’s long-term success is directly tied to the modding community. There’re 48,000 people playing Skyrim right now. It’s a great game, but no way would that many people still be playing without the modding community.
Will this feature ever come back?
Valve likes the idea. It wouldn’t surprise me to see it come back in some form. It’s all about finding the right game to implement the feature. First, it needs to be a new game.
A multiplayer game could work, but it will bring its own potential pitfalls. Namely, fragmenting the player base. That already happens with developer DLC, but it would be multiplied with mods. It could work, though. Charge the right price and people would buy extra maps.
But, publishers use the DLC model to make more money. Why allow modding when you can make all the money creating DLC?
If Valve believes in the model so much, they should implement it in their next game. If they make another game. Hell, I would put up with it if it meant finally getting Half-Life 3.
Is there a game that would benefit from this model? Let me know in the comments below.