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Paid Mod Complaints Have Cost Valve $1 Million



/ 2 years ago

Gabe Newell Beard

Ever wondered what happens when you spark outrage in almost the entire PC gaming community? There’s no need to wonder, it’s happening right now and our lord GabeN is working hard to brave the unrelenting storm that is raging over at Valve HQ right now.

With paid-for mods now being available in the Steam Workshop, an optional service that can be utilized by developers to sell their wares, users have been taking the fight right to Valve and Gabe himself to complain about the new system. However, Gabe has been quick to respond to many claims, even going as far as telling people “You need a more robust Valve-is-evil hypothesis.”

“Let’s assume for a second that we are stupidly greedy,” Newell said. “So far the paid mods have generated $10K total. That’s like 1 per cent of the cost of the incremental email the program has generated for Valve employees (yes, I mean pissing off the Internet costs you a million bucks in just a couple of days). That’s not stupidly greedy, that’s stupidly stupid.”

A million buck, yipes that’s a lot of extra man hours just to deal with complaints. However, he’s not wrong, he would have to be mighty stupid to think this is a good way for Valve to make money, because it won’t be, at least not yet. It’s clear they’re trying to encourage a more worth while ecosystem, that has the potential to see more complex and better funded modding products in the future; they just went the wrong way about it.

“If you are going to ascribe everything we do to being greedy, at least give us credit for being greedy long (value creation) and not greedy short (screwing over customers).”

Everything is going to hell right now, people trying to charge a few dollars for a HD knife texture and high-resolution horse genitals; this won’t last. People aren’t that stupid and will vote with their wallet, helping turn the tide towards the content that really deserves our attention and those passionate about modding and gaming, like you and me, will still mod and distribute for free.

Gabe has said they will actively improve and change the service over time, but he even went as far as saying that if the service doesn’t work out, it would be removed and that’s a pretty bold statement that we suspect he may have to uphold.

Can paid mods be a good thing? Absolutely, will the majority of users see it that way? Unlikely.


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  • Jordan Kytyn Benns

    I could go on about why it’s a bad idea but I think everyone already knows what’s up. I guess at least they’re considering removing this crap altogether. I’d be much happier to just see it replaced by a donation system (even if Valve still take unfair% profit) rather than a paywall that eliminates one of the main factors that makes it worth getting a PC over a console.

    • Alistair Hardy

      Spot on. I have no issues with donating money to modders, or an optional cost. But putting up a paywall means it ceaces to be a mod and becomes DLC. Those lines should never be blurred..
      They went in on the wrong foot with this one.
      EDIT: The cut that’s taken by valve is actually set be Bethesda first, then valve add their cut. As far as I’m aware, Bethesda set their portion really high

    • Futilizer

      If Valve introduces a donate button it’s very likely people could just post their paypal in the info and bypass it.

  • grumpytrooper

    This is what I wrote on an article on PCGamer :

    As I have said a few times before this WILL lead to tool-kits becoming paid for content from now on meaning that the modders will either HAVE to charge to recuperate their investment or give up modding all together.

    Also before if you installed a crappy mod or one that wasn’t quite what you expected you uninstalled it and moved on, now if you buy a crappy/not what expected mod you will have to fight for a refund – anyone who has ever tried to get money out of Valve will know this to be true.

    This is on the same level as day one DLC (obviously not literally the same just same disgusting level) the same as the bad parts of early access, the bad parts of Greenlight. By allowing this Valve has just entered PC gaming into an even darker time by allowing more devs/publishers (they would have never thought they could get away with it before) to charge more money for items that used to be free if they were released.

    I believe that a “donate” button was by far the better option as the people could try out the mod first and then decide what it was worth to them instead of being charged a set amount. PC Gamer I am quite disappointed that none of your writers can see what is going to happen from now on. Even if Steam cancel the “paid for mods” the damage is done and already the Electronic arts/blizzards/other money grabbing companies are now revising their attitudes to free tool-kits.

    This won’t kill PC gaming but it will hurt the modding community a lot and stir trouble for weeks to come.