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


“Donate if you have the money and like it” is the best way I think. I also think it’s important for developer to give professional modders some motion for official integration into their games. Otherwise all the things you mentioned rear their ugly heads @Dagaar and they absolutely will. I can name several semi-recent Firaxis games where modders screamed Firaxis was breaking their mods on purpose. Yea this is going to be a nightmare. On the other side of the coin, gamers were already demanding of modders when their work was free. I sense a lot of scams and lawsuits in the coming years. Think the issue of mods being stolen and re-distributed was a problem before? You ain’t seen nothing yet. A single game can have 40,000 separate mods. How are you going to police that?


Maybe developers should be paying modders (as freelancers) if they improve basic functionality? That’s the kind of thing a customer might expect to see in a free patch. Additional content, though, if it came from the developer you might expect to pay for it anyway. That’s the kind of mod, such as total conversions, that I suspect most people might pay for.


The way Firaxis is working with Pavonis Interactive to make their XCOM 2 mods is pretty cool.


Yep but you know how things go. Everything is a conspiracy. It’ll get worse. Think about the abuse a lot of game developers get. Now transfer that to modders who aren’t punctual, don’t perform, or drop out killing someone’s favorite version of their game after they paid for it.


It seems like here the shop owner (valve) is offering to lend the blueberry donor his credit card reader.

Still, reading some of these posts I’ve flipflopped a bit. I think paid mods might make the gaming public even more abusive towards developers. E.g. if a mod maker is making good money, and the original game developer knows the next update with completely break the mod or worse, implement its entire feature set… What are the ethical implications here? This might genuinely result in developer paralysis or torrents of abusr as stated upthread by @jpinard


Not this can of worms again. I’m not paying money on top of the cost of the game for bugfixes and features that should be in the base game. If devs think modders should be paid, put them on the payroll.


Interesting. You would think this would be the kinda guy the Ludeon dev would send dollars his way to keep him going with the money that is being made there. It will be a shame when it is all said and done, if he has the ‘satisfaction’ of making mods but is still working at the local Mickey-D’s, especially when Ludeon has continually had posted that they are looking to hire someone creative like that. So to some degree his contribution is perceived to not be of much value by the dev if he is not supporting him for the time he could put into it.

I have seen you @jpinard recently express how much you like the game publically, and some of that could be due to these mods. So who is responsible for this value (of the mod)? In the RimWorld case, is it Ludeon or is it Fluffy? I am sure the answer is both to some degree, as RimWorld does have an interface for modding that was designed and developed, but is Fluffy’s contribution zero? and how does his contribution differ from some one else that just makes a five minute mod where the colonist are always happy?

And then there is the mod within a closed system where I looked and learned about how the program works through a hex editor…is the modder’s contribution 100%? Though I believe mostly these days are gone, as people expect the ability to mod a game in many cases.

Mods can enhance a game and give it more life and goodwill and thus gives it value. I believe Mods occur beyond someone screwing around when a game’s community has reached what I will call "Critical Mass’ where they want to share enhancements with each other. Then they get iterated on. Then there is some level of “work” performed by the modder. Traditionally modding has been a fan energy enterprise, with no expectation of return value other than satisfaction - but this has changed as we hear about modders offered work with dev companies and other cases where people say you have to use a certain mod to enjoy a game…

And you bring up the good point of mods being “unsupported” in that they may break, wither and die in the future. If a particular mod is very loved and popular, I think this is a bad move by a dev to not help support it through a change - but you are right in that complicates development.

Other cases I have seen where a modders popular changes have been incorporated into a game without a modder being compensated. Does a modder have any claim to compensation here? Could it be that perhaps in order to charge for mods, it should somehow be an agreement between dev and modder where the former pays the latter in exchange for the right to sell the mod? And who does have rights to the unique ideas contained within the mod itself? And if you are selling a mod, does it really needs to be like DLC where it is seamlessly integrated into the product?

Somehow these questions need to be resolved for the value to be properly assessed/valuated and for the selling of certain mods to work.

I think the whole mod business is already so set and traditional that it is like people mucking with how the Internet works. People get really pissed at it when someone is trying to change it so they can monetize on it in another way - but that will not stop them from trying. Valve does not care who makes the value, they only want to market it because they have already established their cut. I think they will continue to attempt this and continue to muck it up until the question of individual value is figured out.


How about a system where the devs curate what’s allowed to be a paid mod for their game?

Steam hosts, gets x%
Devs curate, and try to make sure updates won’t break it for y%
Modder gets the rest for z%

If the mod does break, the consumer gets a Steam wallet refund for x and y

If the mod doesn’t work, period, a full refund


Paradox manager: “Boy, we have a lot of really nice features lined up for the 1.5 “Banks” update!”

Paradox dev: “Bad new boss, our awesome new features change the mod API and will break 80% of non-cosmetic mods out there.”

Paradox manager: “Well, that’s too bad then. Modders would hate us if we cause a flood of refunds with our free patch of amazing fixes and content, but we can’t prevent the API breakage. Guess we’ll just package and sell it as Stellaris 2.0.”

Six months later…

Paradox manager: “Sorry guys, I’m letting you all go and Paradox is shutting its doors. Our customer base revolted saying we were cash-grabbing by releasing stuff that should have been in a patch as a whole new game. Shame about that whole paid mod thing.”


Just to clarify the idea, if the update breaks the mod then the modders keep their cash. But yes, otherwise the concern is still valid. That’s why I think if someone adopted it, they’d be VERY particular about what mods they allow to be paid versions.


I don’t want devs getting any cut of mods that fix their damn game. Bethesda is the most guilty of leaving things unfinished and hoping mod authors fix their bugs, make their textures look decent and make their UI not be shit.

I would pay for stuff like the long war mod for xcom 1/2 and Enderal for skyrim. If devs worked with them and gave them official support, i would support them getting a cut potentially.


Dear god, that’s even worse. Oops, Skyrim update broke the $9.99 SKSE mod that is require for 90% of all other mods in existence and those devs are no longer working on the mod. But that’s okay, there is a new SKSE-NG mod available from new devs for just $9.99!


I think you’re missing the main part of what I was saying; the devs would be out money, so they wouldn’t want to break the mods. Because of those handcuffs, there wouldn’t be many - if ANY - mods that they greenlighted to be paid. Eh, whatever. I have no skin in this game, it just annoys me when I’m not able to communicate as well as I’d like.


No worries, no skin in the game here either. I just see more wrong with the plan than right (the “general” plan, not your ideas).

Based on what you’re saying, if the mods are that valuable to the game (such that they should be paid mods) that should be entirely transparent to the customer - the devs add it as (optional) DLC and it becomes part of the base game. Which is probably what you were suggesting anyway!


Yes! Words - you have the best words.


What happened to doing something just for the absolute joy of doing it?
Isn’t that why we have mods?
Personally I don’t think the modding scene requires monetizing in any way. This whole argument of “we’re doing it for the modders!” is just a smokescreen. What Valve are really doing are trying to exploit what they see as an untapped market.

F*ck you Valve, leave the modding scene alone. It was working and will continue to work just fine without your interference.


These are the best words.


The argument for it is that giving money to modders would allow them to work on their mods more and/or do it as a full time job. This is something i support in theory However obviously as everyone says, valve just wants a cut of a new market and converting existing free mods to paid isn’t going to make anyone happy.

If they really want to do this, the paid mods need to start as paid mods and be seen as something more than a minor change/fix to the game.

Also, once they start charging, there will need to be a huge support structure because all of these games already have issues with people stealing mods and re-releasing them as their own.

In the perfect world these companies would just hire the modders who make the most critical mods instead of passing the cost off to customers.


I’d be interested in a compromise where Valve uses their marketplace and Steam wallet infrastructure to make it easy to donate to modders. Add a prominent donate button on each mod page with a suggested donation amount.


My main concern is that this will shift the effort of modders from complex gameplay enhancing mods to ‘cheap’ mods like individually textured and modeled characters or new skins, not unlike what publishers are already selling as DLCs for their games. It’s very low effort (not much testing required) and generally doesn’t conflict with other mods. It’s also not much of an enhancement to the base game.