Gabe Newell Takes to Reddit to Answer Questions on Paid Mods
Peter Donnell / 2 years ago
It has been one hell of a week for Valve, as their latest business move sent a shockwave through the PC gaming community and put bluntly, left a lot of people seriously p***** off. For those of you who missed this commotion, Stream Workshop now allows modders to sell their work, but it has left a bitter taste in the mouth of many gamers, as we’ve all become so accustomed to the well established and mostly free or donation based nature of the modding community.
“On Thursday I was flying back from LA. When I landed, I had 3,500 new messages. Hmmm. Looks like we did something to piss off the Internet. Yesterday I was distracted as I had to see my surgeon about a blister in my eye (#FuchsDystrophySucks), but I got some background on the paid mods issues. So here I am, probably a day late, to make sure that if people are pissed off, they are at least pissed off for the right reasons.” Said Gabe on reddit.
There does seem to be some confusion about the mods, that all mods are now paid for, which simply isn’t true. Free mods are still available on Steam Workshop and it’s really down to the content creator to add a price. Naturally, most have opted to try their hand at making a few bucks, but gamers are already voting with their wallets and keeping well clear of such thing anyway.
Gabe came under fire for content creators only getting 25% of the sale of their mods, with the remainder going to the games creator, for the case of Skyrim, this would be Bethesda and Gabe was quick to point out that this percentage was set by Bethesda, not Valve, as this rate will always be at the discretion of the publisher/developer; Gabe even went as far as saying he would be happy to tell a publisher they’re being dumb on the subject of this percentage.
What’s really good to see, is that Gabe has been taking on so many questions on steam and saying they’re absolutely looking to revise and improve the system and that him taking to reddit is just one of the first steps in that process.
“In general we are pretty reluctant to tell any developer that they have to do something or they can’t do something. It just goes against our philosophy to be dictatorial. With that caveat, we’d be happy to tell developers that we think they are being dumb, and that will sometimes help them reflect on it a bit. In the case of Nexus, we’d be happy to work with you to figure out how we can do a better job of supporting you. Clearly you are providing a valuable service to the community. Have you been talking to anyone at Valve previously?”
I would love to quote all the replies, but of course, it would make far more sense to read them on reddit, as Gabe really did spend a lot of time responding to virtually every question on there and it may help clear up many issues surrounding the new marketplace.
“Skyrim is a great example of a game that has benefitted enormously from the MODs. The option for paid MODs is supposed to increase the investment in quality modding, not hurt it. About half of Valve came straight out of the MOD world. John Cook and Robin Walker made Team Fortress as a Quake mod. Ice frog made DOTA as a Warcraft 3 mod. Dave Riller and Dario Casali we Doom and Quake mappers. John Guthrie and Steve Bond came to Valve because John Carmack thought they were doing the best Quake C development. All of them were liberated to just do game development once they started getting paid. Working at Waffle House does not help you make a better game.”
It’s good to see Gabe, who many of us PC gamers hold in the highest regard, being so hands on with the community and while the whole mod-payment thing has caused an internet outrage, feedback from Gabe and the community on reddit does seem to be improving as there’s been a fair amount of miscommunication until this point. People have been banned from Steam forums, had their message histories deleted for speaking out about this issue and Gabe has said this will stop, he was unaware of this and has even unblocked a few accounts of Steam members who posted such concerns on reddit. Admittedly, that part shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but at least the CEO is now addressing the issue.
“Our view of Steam is that it’s a collection of useful tools for customers and content developers. With the Steam workshop, we’ve already reached the point where the community is paying their favorite contributors more than they would make if they worked at a traditional game developer. We see this as a really good step. The option of MOD developers getting paid seemed like a good extension of that.”
You can check out the thread here, be sure to give it a good read first, field any questions you think should be addressed, if they haven’t been already and lets see if we, as the PC gaming community, can make this a better situation for both gamers and modders alike.