Oh shit... Steam Workshop now allows mod authors to charge for them


Some would argue we already do in some games. Game is borked, buy the expansion/DLC that adds new features and makes it playable! Fortunately that’s very much the minority and consumer backlash for those that pulled it was severe.

I think paying for mods COULD work, but the way they have things set up is a recipe for chaos where no one wins, other than maybe Steam because they get some cash on the side for doing something they were already doing anyway.


I remember the Horse Armor not going over so well. Didn’t Bethsoft release Shivering Isles to make up for it? The horse armor was viciously ridiculed at the time. But while I avoid crap like that (almost) all the time, I feel like an idiot for buying a gun for Dead Space 3 last night… It made me feel dirty and ashamed. And the gun sucked.


They were in the Reich too. Doesn’t make it a good thing though.


Market forces assume rationality. With gamers and AAA publishers involved, that’s long gone out the wayside.

I do think I’d be a lot less negative about the whole deal if it was a company with a better reputation for customer-fairness being the guinea pig, such as say Paradox.


Haha, now we’ve got “paid mods are going to kill PC gaming” and “paid mods are like Nazi Germany.”

This topic delivers.


Market Forces don’t quite work right with a monopoly…Right now it would appear that the Steam Workshop is the only way to buy mods. Is there any word on others marketing mods in the near future?


No, you didn’t just Godwinize a thread about paying for mods, did you?


I’m glad you articulated that since I think that is an undercurrent to a lot of thoughts posted in this thread (along with the whole “sheeple” thing). Why are we assuming the agents involved (mostly gaming consumers) are irrational? Is it because their patterns of behavior don’t match our principles?

I would argue that the larger “market” here includes all of the places where mods are being freely distributed such as the Nexus, direct downloads, etc. The paid mods still need to compete with free options and cheaper options (that may spring up on Steam workshop or elsewhere). Monetized mods may never gain enough traction in the wider world of freely available ones. Also, as many people already noted, since some mods are small and easily duplicated there is a potential race to the bottom in terms of pricing.



Yes, another can of worms - Intellectual property rights on these mods. It is very ambiguous who really has the right to charge for a mod and power to control the sale of that idea/concept, and how assets can be protected. I wonder if we already have one “extra apple” mod for sale in the market place, will Steam allow 50 different but extremely similar extra apples for sale.


People consistently pay for DLC that is extremely aggressively priced and not infrequently never discounted or reduced in base price. Free to play games make millions on in game purchases that literally just make numbers go up a bit faster. Consumer rights in this industry have never been in a more dismal position. For market forces to correct problems, the market would have to be composed of rational actors, and that just is not so.

Because we’ve observed their behavior for decades now? But even if we assume that they are rational actors acting in their own best interests, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to act in a way that corrects the situation for our interests. So I’m not real excited about trusting to market forces to solve the very real issues raised here.


Mine was more aimed at the publishers than the consumers. That said, you do have the crackpot consumers whose “rational” response to “ethics in games modding” is to send death threats. Those folks are loons.

I do think seeing the potential problems in the current system and expecting them to happen is rational, especially given Valve’s weaknesses as a company.

As for the publishers, big AAA publishers really seem to be short-sighted and look at the immediate future rather than the long term, and that shreds goodwill quickly. I don’t know how many sales on PC this decision will cost Bethesda, but I can see bad word of mouth on their next title due to this, and given how many great games there are these days, it’s never been this painless to vote with your wallet.

That’s because some games are inelastic goods to some people, and they’ll pay through the nose for their favorite game. The downside to this is if you try to capture (as a publisher) all of that monetary value from the whales, you price out everyone else.

I made an irrational decision last week with MKX. Regretting that one due to buggy port+ shady DLC practices. That’s why companies will always get away with it- we’ll always find a way to justify it if we care enough. Gamers keep coming back to the abusive relationship , and there are new suckers born every minute.

I have noticed the last couple of years, the amount of games I’ve bought has decreased though- as my backlog increases, my standards for what’s good enough to spend money on increases, and I can wait for sales more easily. Doesn’t mean I won’t pay full price if I feel very strongly that I’ll get value for it, but AAA’ed up DLC-heavy games or FTP whale games just don’t provide that value. This is another layer of cost-raising effectively, and if I felt that having to pay $10+ for mods was part of the experience, I might just decide the whole package isn’t worth it anymore for some games.


Sheeple and Nazis already. People really takes this seriously. Hopefully, modders will be as high minded as everyone things they should be, and keep giving us stuff free.


My point above, is that despite the existence of F2P whales and overpriced DLC, I–in my own little gaming corner of the world–have barely been touched by those trends in the way I engage with the market. The F2P model is a specter that everyone feared would take over gaming a few years back, but that never came to fruition and on some platforms (PC notably) there has been a vocal push-back to that model. Some people argue that we “lost” the war to DLC years ago after the Horse Armor outcry, and there may be some currency in that, but DLC has also not entirely consumed the whole marketplace. With some titles, yes that is the case, but look at the resurgence of old-school titles (in both style and business models) that have been released in the last year or so: Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, Banner Saga, Shadowrun Returns, Offworld Trading Company (not yet released), Lords of Xulima, etc. that have released at a fair price with no/minimal DLC. The PC is still a wide open marketplace and I have been able to ignore the worst aspects of the business with little lost. Probably the biggest losses to the F2P cancer, that i have noticed, are designers like Brian Reynolds.

Now if we were talking about the market on the iOS platform that would be a different story entirely.

That is why I, even if mod monetization takes off, am not fearing some end to the sanctity of PC gaming as we know it. The PC platform has easily weathered DLC gouging, the F2P model, and other pernicious business tactics. By “weathered” I mean that there is still a huge variety of choices available not partaking in the business practices that you or I find deplorable.



Now that Zak has thrown his hat in as being anti-paid mod by bringing up the Nazis, I think I’m fully in favor of them if only not to be on his side of the argument.



Sure. If you’re content to limit yourself to a small corner of the overall gaming market and largely ignore anything from major publishers or with a significant budget, and some entire genres, you can avoid many of the most odious business practices that are affecting the majority of the market. That’s something, I suppose. I don’t consider that “little loss” myself, though. Nor do I consider that evidence that “market forces” are “correcting” the issues. You’ve just chosen to quarantine yourself.


Fair enough, but I don’t feel like have have quarantined myself at all (save for the fact that I have such little gaming time now). I still play tent-pole AAA releases, titles with tons of DLC, and the occasional F2P title like Planetside 2 or Card Hunter. Since about 2009 pricing on the PC has favored savvy consumers and I have been able to participate in the wider gaming market quite easily. I mentioned upthread that I just purchased all ~17 peices of DLC for Shadow of Mordor for $6.25 and looking back at my emails I purchased the full game, on release day, for ~$37. That isn’t just one isolated example either as I have been paying decreasing amounts per title since 2009…even at or near release. That pricing is due to the healthy competition of distribution marketplaces on the PC and increasingly due to currency values in different regions. I perceive a very healthy market on the PC that has some odious practices (like any market) but I do not feel they rule the day by any means. The fact that terms like backlog or pile have entered our gaming nomenclature in the last half-decade suggest a very healthy market for average consumers. Even if things took a disastrous turn for the worse tomorrow, I still have years of quality gaming to catch up with from 5+ years of a consumer-friendly market.



I’m surprised Godwin’s Law hasn’t come up earlier, to be honest.


Congratulations, you just waited 6 months to pay $45 (near RRP) for a game with additional content that would have been included in a full game release of circa 2009.

And you have been convinced you got a bargain!


Well I think we all value our entertainment differently and each of us pull the trigger at a point depending on where we value the given product. I appreciate your misguided caustic sarcasm, as that was a danger or mentioning specific price points and putting myself out there. Not convinced that I got a bargain, but happy with the price I paid for the content delivered. I love bargain hunting but at the same time I want the developers I care about to survive in the industry so I don’t mind paying and also why I have never pirated a game in my life. On the aggregate I pay less now per title than I did pre-2009.

You are also commenting on one example I mentioned in a post…congratulations! In that case I opted to purchase the title on release for reasonably below RRP. In many cases I happily wait until there is a deep discount 6-12 months later. Sometimes I pay full price…if I care about the IP, developer, or history of the product.



You’re saying you have been untouched by recent trends such as F2P, DLC, etc, and that any worry that paid mods will end up poor for consumers is misguided.

I call bullshit. By your very own example of SoM, you have been affected by the trend of slicing content out (a couple of missions and some skins) of a game and selling as additional DLC.

In the end you own all the content, at the price it would have retailed for in a complete package in circa 2009. And as this trend has progressed over time, you have convinced yourself, or been convinced by the market, that you have grabbed a bargain, or are somehow better off or unaffected, when in actuality, you have just paid full price and waited 6 months for the privilege.

Publishers -1, you - 0.

But you are too blinkered to see that.