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PostPosted: 2015/04/24, 19:18 
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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 :mrgreen: just feel strongly about this topic

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PostPosted: 2015/04/24, 20:44 
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Very nice writeup. I share your opinion almost completely, but diverge a bit on two issues:

First, the modder / developer / Valve share of income generated from Mods: 25% may sound like almost nothing and I do think that it's a bit small (maybe something like 50% would be nice), but I can actually get behind the idea of giving a large portion of money to developers and Valve. Mainly, because they make all of this possible in the first place:

Valve keeps the whole platform up and running. There is maintenance cost that certainly scales up with usage, and the Steam workshop generates a lot of traffic, both as raw data and community interaction. Bandwidth and server storage need to be paid, servers need to be maintained, people will need to be hired for this. So I think they do actually deserve their share on this - not talking about the actual amount though.

Then, there's developers of the game that is modded. No maintenance cost here, no obligation to support anything.. it seems like this is just free money for them. And who knows, maybe it actually is. But this is not a bad thing. Remember that they're the ones who made all those mods possible in the first place? Sure, that particular project might be done and finished, but a steady income will help them power future projects and provide a safe and creative work environment for their employees - who helped bring to life that game in the first place. The game industry is not always a great place to work in, and a lot of it emerges from the fact that developer companies are in a constant race for not going bankrupt. A little mod money certainly won't change that, but still..

So yeah, I think they both do deserve a bit of the money that others generate modding their stuff. Maybe not 75%. Maybe more like 50%, no idea, I'm not a business guy.

I think this is not a bad move. It needs to be properly executed though.. :troubled:

Quote:
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..)


This for once. It won't affect people who are doing stuff for free, but I guess a lot of people selling it might run into problems here.

Quote:
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).


This as well. There needs to be a really good system to stop fraud. No idea how it could look like, but since customer support apparently hasn't been Valve's strength so far... it could get a bit tricky.

Quote:
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?


In a perfect world, someone would determine the portion of A's work that was taken from B, enter that into some text field and that percentage of income would get forwarded. If a feature like that was offered for mod authors and "shared revenue" was publicly displayed on the mod page, maybe it could work out in a lot of cases.

Still, while I have a positive tendency towards Valve's move, I still think that it could easily "crash and burn" and tear down parts of the mod community with it. Fingers crossed that Valve will have a keen eye on the whole issue and make a lot of good decisions - otherwise, this could turn out really bad.

I don't know, maybe 75% is too high after all.



Edit: Just throwing this here into the mix. It's the author of Garry's mod giving his personal summary on the topic.

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PostPosted: 2015/04/24, 21:50 
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SirePi wrote:
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 :mrgreen: just feel strongly about this topic


I get your point.

Sometimes I hang out in mods chatrooms on IRC. Then I find out that letting the user decide whether or not to help the mod's creator is much more efficient than making the mod pay-to-play. And you can see that this happens not only in the modding community, but everywhere.

If someone needs to pay for something first to use it is worse than releasing the program for free and asking for donations.

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PostPosted: 2015/04/24, 23:19 
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Adam wrote:
...
Valve keeps the whole platform up and running.
...
Then, there's developers of the game that is modded. No maintenance cost here, no obligation to support anything..
...
Still, while I have a positive tendency towards Valve's move...


For me, these are the main reason that make me feel that Valve's decision is shady as best. The way they set it up is basically a way to make a quick grab for money.

It's true that they provide the bandwidth, the servers and the game, but on the other hand mods provide publicity and incentives for people to buy the game in the first place - which in turn generates money for Valve and Bethesda (in this case)

This, and also the fact that basically they get 75% of the money while, at the same time, leaving all responsibility (support, updates, IP claims, ...) to the modders.
They are even actually allowed to break your mods with a patch! And it would still be your responsibility to fix the situation - if at all possible.
Even with the best intentions, a modder might not be able to solve it, leaving the mod broken and the people that bought it with a piece of useless software (and probably angry at the modder itself)

Oh, and the 25% revenue modders get it's in the steam wallet! it's not even real money.

RockyTV wrote:
...
If someone needs to pay for something first to use it is worse than releasing the program for free and asking for donations.
...


Also because, as I said before, it changes the relationship from modder-supporter to modder-customer. You are not anymore in the position of saying you are just a modder and doing it in your free time. You'd better be ready to be treated like a developer and behave like one.

Of course, the alternative is to keep the mod free - but even in this case you now have to be prepared to keep out leechers and other kind of people ready to sell your work as theirs the moment you turn your head.

If they only added a donation-based system (you pay after you enjoyed the game) instead of the paywall that they did, I probably would have accepted even the fact that some money is shared with Valve and Bethesda (and still, 75% would not be acceptable).

I understand it's a definitely gray area.. I just think they could have done it much better for everyone, if only they were not so greedy.

In the end, we'll see.. but I am doubtful this will become the norm.
Or I should say, I hope not, knowing how some people with too much money on their hand think :mrgreen:

Fingers crossed for the modding community

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PostPosted: 2015/04/25, 15:00 
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The first paid Skyrim mod was taken off air.

http://www.pcgamer.com/paid-for-skyrim- ... -of-hours/

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PostPosted: 2015/04/28, 01:05 
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They have removed the feature.
http://steamcommunity.com/gid/103582791 ... 5253244218

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PostPosted: 2015/04/28, 09:35 
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RockyTV wrote:


Wow. I definitely didn't expect this. I wonder what their plans on this are - maybe it will come back at some point with the core issues addressed somehow?

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PostPosted: 2015/04/28, 10:38 
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RockyTV wrote:

Yup, this happened :mrgreen:

Adam wrote:
Wow. I definitely didn't expect this. I wonder what their plans on this are - maybe it will come back at some point with the core issues addressed somehow?

If they really want to do it like that, they should probably start with a clean game, where no mods are present yet, so that everyone can claim his mod as his own work and protect his investment. And possibly in a game where mods cannot break each other so easily.

Otherwise, I think that a big, nice Donate button next to the mod would be more than enough (and give at least 75% to the modder)

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PostPosted: 2015/04/28, 11:54 
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SirePi wrote:
RockyTV wrote:

Yup, this happened :mrgreen:

Adam wrote:
Wow. I definitely didn't expect this. I wonder what their plans on this are - maybe it will come back at some point with the core issues addressed somehow?

If they really want to do it like that, they should probably start with a clean game, where no mods are present yet, so that everyone can claim his mod as his own work and protect his investment. And possibly in a game where mods cannot break each other so easily.

Otherwise, I think that a big, nice Donate button next to the mod would be more than enough (and give at least 75% to the modder)

I don't know if I read it right, but Gabe Newell did an AMA session and someone suggested to add a donate button to the mod page. If I read it right, they will probably allow mod creators to request money.

Now, this is a great step for Valve. It is the first time that I've seen Valve removing a feature because users did not approve it. They are listening to our oppinion, which is kind of surprising, since they almost never do it.

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PostPosted: 2015/04/28, 13:26 
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RockyTV wrote:
Now, this is a great step for Valve. It is the first time that I've seen Valve removing a feature because users did not approve it. They are listening to our oppinion, which is kind of surprising, since they almost never do it.


Also, they seem to be putting community above business relations - which I would consider a big move if it was true. To me, it looks like they planned this for quite a while in cooperation with Bethesda; there are expectations and probably contracts. I'm pretty sure backing off on this is not an easy thing to do for Valve.

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