So, probably you have already heard, but starting from yesterday (April 23rd), Skyrim mods hosted on the Steam Workshop can be sold
by their creator for an arbitrary amount of money.
As expected, this has already caused a huge s#1tstorm in the community by dividing it between those that believe that mods should be free, those that say this will kill the modding community, and by cascade PC gaming in general, and those that say "good for the modders".
Personally, I believe that modders (I tend to put small, part-time developers, as in our case, in the same boat) should always expect some form of monetary compensation if so they desire, and that no one should be forced to work for free, as someone expects them to do so.
At the same time, I believe that what they are trying to say, is that when what once was a "play my mod and pay following your heart" world becomes a "just pay me to play my mod" scheme, the relationships between the modder and the player changes radically.
As long as the mod/game was free or donation-based, all was fair game, but now that I have to pay for the mod, I will expect it to
- work. plain and simple - before, didn't it work? well, nevermind.. on to the next
- be supported - before, the modder got bored and left the mod half-made? oh, tough luck
- be thoroughly tested; I don't want to spend money only to find out that after 3 days the game hits an incompatible function and crashes or - worse - corrupts my savegame.
- and let's not even start on the topic of compatibility between mods. See above point
Besides that, a new level of IP infringement cases will open.. what was once possible due to the fair use clauses won't be anymore - unless the mod stays free of course (I have seen enough spider men and ninja turtles around in Skyrim..)
Also, a lot of the modding community is based on the reuse and improvement of other people's work. If A makes something based on B, why should he get money and not B?
And of course, no one will be able to stop someone to take your free mod, change a number somewhere and release it as theirs for money (and this is already happening).
Of course, I don't believe Steam will do anything about it because it's getting money from the deal, and splitting it with the owner of the game. What's left for the developer? 25%
of the revenue.
And they already said that if a mod stops working due to a patch to the game that makes it incompatible and the modder doesn't want to update the mod, then that's that. You paid for something you can't use anymore.
Honestly, I hope this backfires immensely and burn Steam and Bethesda in the a$$.
I can understand paying for mods - if the author wants
Even better, I can understand asking for donations if the mod is supported and good
I can understand giving some small cut of the money to Valve and Bethesda, since they provide the base game and Workshop.
But not 75%. It's true that modders are using their games and platforms, but they should remember that if it was not for the modding community they wouldn't have sold so many copies.
If the most of the money went to the modder, maybe I could have gotten behind this. But why should I strive to release a good mod / tool / platform for free when others can build on it, sell it, and have third parties (Valve) make money out of it? It's like someone uses my FrozenCore plugin to sell a game and phpBB gets 75% of the earnings just because I happened to mention my mod on this forum..tl;dr;
When money starts going around, people's expectations change (rightfully I would add) and Valve pushed the boundaries too far this time.
Personally, I believe that whatever I manage to make with Duality will be free, possibly with donations.
The moment I charge for what I make I will feel obligated to support and do everything I can to fix any issues that appear.
What do you guys think?
Sorry for the wall of text
just feel strongly about this topic