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Gabe Newell Takes To Reddit To Answer Questions On Steam Paid Mods

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In an attempt to cool things down, Gabe Newell of Valve took to reddit to answer questions and concerns from people. I throw some opinions in too.

There’s a lot of genuine concerns from people, and a lot of the usual junk posts you would expect.

Gabe has stated they will add a pay what you want option, so that people could technically “donate” if the mod author sets the minimum to zero.

See the full Q&A post here on reddit.

My thoughts
Previously I wrote that it was all a big hoohaa, but thinking more on it, and reading thoughts from others my own thoughts have changed somewhat. I don’t think it’s as good an idea as I did before. Well, I still think it’s a good idea, but the execution isn’t the best.

I do think it’s open to more abuse than other systems Valve has rolled out. It’s not just the abuse factor, but the mods themselves that can become a problem. There was also the fact that in less than 24 hours it was already abused, and a paid mod had to be removed that used someone else’s work.

Let’s say you buy a mod for £10, and you get a good few hours out of it and enjoy it. That’s great, but what happens if the mod is no longer worked on and the game is updated breaking the mod. Will it still be sold/How long will it take for the developer and/or Valve to act on it? Will people get refunds? Things like this aren’t clear at all.

We all know how slow Valve’s support is, and they generally don’t give refunds. This is why it worries me, it’s going to open them up to a massive amount of support issues, and they weren’t dealing well with support as it was anyway. Gabe is even open about their support being an issue, so this isn’t me putting some sort of spin on it.

Honestly, if they rolled it out with a pay what you want including zero, or just a donation option with a small cut to Valve and the original game developer this would have been much better received I think. People would have been much more open to fully paid mods once that system had been in place for a while too. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial, Mod, Steam
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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18 comments
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Maelrane 26 Apr, 2015
I must have been really, really lucky then. I do not often contact any support but when I did with Valve a few years back it was awesomely fast.

On the other hand in 2007ish it did take them about 1,5 week to give me a working retail code for a DoD:Source which I bought but the code in there had only 24 digits while it needed 25. I sent them a copy, including the receipt and about 1,5 weeks later I got a working key.
zimplex1 26 Apr, 2015
The only good option is to add a donation button. Then when you hit subscribe a popup will ask you if you would like to donate. For profit cuts I think 100% should go to mods but since that is probably not going to happen I would at least like to see 50% for modders, 25% for bethesda, and 25% for valve.
emphy 26 Apr, 2015
I suspect one of the main reasons for the huge backlash is that paid mods, like most monetisations, will quickly turn into a cynical money grab for some publishers. One can easily see the ways in which publishers could pester modders into turning their work into paid mods; they certainly will find new more imaginative ways, just as in the case of dlc in paid games and pre-order packages.
melkemind 26 Apr, 2015
That is exactly my concern. Far too often, mod developers say, "I'm busy with school now, so do whatever you want with this mod." Others just disappear without a word. Valve doesn't seem to have any accountability for them. We already know early access devs can walk away without finishing a game. So too might modders sell mods and then walk away without supporting them.

In the free software community, we tend to place more value on people who actually work to earn their money. Software development doesn't stop when the last line of code is written. Those in favor of paid mods say that they will produce higher quality mods. That may or may not happen. We all know, for example, there is some very good community-supported software out there that rivals any paid software. Like anything, paid mods have their advantages and disadvantages. It's up to the consumers to decide if the good outweighs the bad.
Karti 26 Apr, 2015
"Honestly, if they rolled it out with a pay what you want including zero, or just a donation option with a small cut to Valve and the original game developer this would have been much better received I think. People would have been much more open to fully paid mods once that system had been in place for a while too."

/sign
Xeekei 26 Apr, 2015
I fail to see why Valve should have any cut of the profits at all. They already make money on the games sold. Maybe 5% maximum. Yeah, game devs 20-30-ish per cent, Valve 5, and the rest for the modders.
Bumadar 26 Apr, 2015
melkemindFar too often, mod developers say, "I'm busy with school now, so do whatever you want with this mod." Others just disappear without a word. Valve doesn't seem to have any accountability for them.

As long as mods a free and a hobby its perfectly fine to do that. :)

Basicly valve gives the people who done all this as a hobby/fun/showcase the opportunity to earn money with it, which could be cool but that comes with responsibility and commitment. Mods are, especially in games like Skyrim, close to real programs which often not only depend on the main program but also on other mods. You as a (paid) modder can fix your stuff if there is an update but if another mod on which you depend does not get updated (paid or not) then what ? You can't update other people's paid mods and publish them, you can't take parts of their source and put it into yours which your getting paid for. You might be able to update or include an updated version of a free mod but still I can imagine that causing problems too.

Its a can of worms.....
Ilya 26 Apr, 2015
I don't think "Pay what you want" is the right thing either (although a step in the right direction). I'd prefer to donate money e.g. after my first try. (Maybe after you close your game you'd get something reminding you that if you like the mods you're using you might want to donate)
Another thing I really have issues with atm is the cut. 25%? That's a very small cut. Too small in my opinion. Valve definitely needs a cut for maintaining the infrastructure and offering a marketplace. Bethesda also deserves a cut IMHO for maintaining the game and providing mod support. But 75%, seriously?
burzmali 26 Apr, 2015
melkemindIn the free software community, we tend to place more value on people who actually work to earn their money. Software development doesn't stop when the last line of code is written. Those in favor of paid mods say that they will produce higher quality mods. That may or may not happen. We all know, for example, there is some very good community-supported software out there that rivals any paid software. Like anything, paid mods have their advantages and disadvantages. It's up to the consumers to decide if the good outweighs the bad.
That seems to be changing these days. I got dog piled pretty hard on r/linux_gaming for suggesting that distributing FOSS as gratis and charging for support is better model than selling licenses.
tuubi 26 Apr, 2015
burzmaliThat seems to be changing these days. I got dog piled pretty hard on r/linux_gaming for suggesting that distributing FOSS as gratis and charging for support is better model than selling licenses.
Well if you do your market research on reddit, you're doing it wrong. Nothing's changing from what I've seen. Of course it would be stupid to charge for support of a game. The kinds of open source software you'd normally get paid support for are the kinds your business depends on.
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