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


“Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”

I worked for a Fortune 100 company. At one point, leadership decided to make a ginormous change that they hoped would be transformative and allow them to eventually dominate their market. Almost to a person, every single “underling” knew it was beyond idiotic, but gosh darn it somebody had a brainstorm/fart and they went ahead with it, anyway. Two years later, there were large scale layoffs and the company walked back entirely the previous plan, as they slipped down in their market share and collected data which showed unequivocally that the business plan was to blame.

Even wildly successful and amazingly intelligent people occasionally do incredibly stupid things because sometimes they’re simply being incredibly stupid. “Knowing better” doesn’t really help as often as we’d like to think.


I’m sure somewhere, somebody has gone to jail in the last ten years for copyright infringement, but usually that is handled in “civil” courts, and the settlements are monetary damages.

Beyond that, American law is very big on free speech, which extends to “freedom of expression” in art, music, and associated endeavors. Make a game which features school kids shooting up their teachers and classmates? Free speech.

Yet, there is one exception, which I am guessing is what playing with knives saw: child pornography.


Last I knew child porn wasn’t illegal as long as it doesn’t involve actual people. Hence why various anime aren’t illegal and the like.

I also don’t think playingwithknives is in the US (though I could be wrong), so that could change things quite a bit.


Considering he mentioned 4chan, yeah, probably child porn.


Ah, Teiman said “US law,” which I went with since it is just about the only law I know. And I there is at least one person to have gone to jail for possession of pornographic anime featuring children, though it does appear to be a legal grey issue that doesn’t come up often. http://www.wired.com/2010/02/obscene-us-manga-collector-jailed-6-months/?+wired27b+%28Blog+-+27B+Stroke+6+%28Threat+Level%29%29 .


We certainly do get around in this topic.


Yeah there is the whole “obscenity” thing, which just makes it weird. I’ve never been a fan of the Miller Test or it’s ilk.


Many people have downloading the “Kill childrens” mod, because theres no laws against that.


I was curious what can cause a skirim folder directory to be illegal. And yea, I could see how child pornography can cause that :P


Maybe I should not have asked.

The point is that theres a disgusting face to Skyrim modding, in the corner where … humm… people have unhealty obsessions. I was too naive, I should not have asked.



Rule 34, dude…


Was Valve offering refunds initially? Seems like if something isn’t curated you need to offer refunds to customers who buy something that either doesn’t work or is crap.


iirc, they would honor refunds for 24 hours


They had a 24-hour refund policy on the mods. As many pointed out, 24-hours isn’t really enough time to tell if a mod breaks the game (or vice versa) when you’re talking about Skyrim. There have been numerous times in which mod A didn’t work with mod B or vanilla quest C until hours later. That’s not even covering when an official patch breaks mods.


Seems like they should err on the side of the consumer if they are not going to curate and give consumers a longer trial period. Some people will abuse it but if Valve doesn’t want to spend to curate don’t offload that expense onto the consumer.


I think the real lesson from this is at the bottom. The best way customers can defend themselves from having costs passed onto them is by being militant in ways that hurt a company’s bottom line. (I know certain devs will freak at that statement). Skyrim getting a ton of negative reviews, and folks saying this would impact future purchases (especially since the folks complaining were previous customers), alongside folks talking about Valve losing goodwill and looking at other services, that’s what freaked Bethesda and Valve into changing things back. Very similar to the Xbox 360 situation.

Customers only preserve their influence if they assert it vigorously.


If you read both Valve and Bethesda’s statements regarding the 180, you’ll note that they carefully used language to leave to the door open for trying this again with a future title. Skyrim’s mod community was the wrong testing environment because people had been getting mods for free for years. That’s not a learned behavior that you can reverse in one weekend.

Fallout 4? I expect that to launch with this program from day 1.


Indeed. Got to fight for your freedoms all day long every day until I die, man. That’s just the way it is.

Bethesda have been awesome since Morrowind and with the TES games (and Fallout 3 and NV too!), and they have been rewarded for that by better than most game sales and over a longer time period, because as ‘we’ (modders and mod fans) have always said and a few wise devs know, allowing for modding in your games massively extends the life of a game, AND often makes it better dow the iterations of a game series. Many things that ended up in each new TES after Morrowind were a direct copy by Bethesda of previous mod content, and their TES games nearly always got better for that. It’s a win-win, which is why it is such a shame to money-grub that perfect balance for what exactly? More money? Not if your rep goes to the dogs and people don’t buy your next stuff, or stop making mods etc.

Modders should be able to make money, HOW exactly is the tricky part (legal, ‘ethical’, logistic issues etc), but i hope we have seen one way HOW NOT TO do it.


Of course they want to leave the door open- they see this as a money-maker. Companies like making more money for less work.
Consumers like getting more value for their money. That’s why you have to be assertive- it’s the only way you can convince most companies that doing things in your interest is in their interest (because not doing it means they’ll have to do more work for less money)

I have the same expectation, which is why I won’t pre-order it at all. (probably wouldn’t have anyway)
The good thing about Steam is all the competition on there and all the backloggery really does make it a consumer’s market, especially when compared to console. You don’t have to take it unless you’re a huge fan of the game.


Surely a Paypal link on the download page for the author, or even how Curse gives you points for each download of your mods that you can “refund” into Amazon cards (I average 10$ a month from mine…) would work for STEAM as well?

Heck, even I have gotten some $ through PayPal for some TESO mods I made, so surely those who make ‘good stuff’ would be able to earn quite a bit from that.


The “just have a donation button” sentiment is cute, but all evidence points to orders of magnitude less actual income than through selling your content through a widely adopted sales channel like, I dunno, Steam.