Charging for Skyrim Mods Was a Horrendous Idea

Shamus Young

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Charging for Skyrim Mods Was a Horrendous Idea

The controversy over paying for Skyrim mods on Steam has almost subsided, but Shamus still has a lot to say on the subject.

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Signa

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All that, and you didn't even touch on the problems regarding copyrighted content, like Lightsaber mods. It's amazing how bad this whole idea was.
 

Olas

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I agree with most of this. Bethesda certainly shouldn't profit from someone else fixing bugs in their game, but I don't think the underlying idea of letting modders monetize their work is a bad idea.

I just think it needs to be properly policed for plagarism, which Valve probably isn't the best company for.
 

Fdzzaigl

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Agreed with all that's said in this article. Valve has no business barging into the modding community and wrecking up the place.

It's the story of the goose with the golden eggs all over again. Modding was already giving you golden eggs, because it fixes games and adds immensely to their longevity, thereby also increasing the chances that people will buy your DLC (many Skyrim mods depend on the official DLC). But they just had to cut in there to get more than that.

An easy to use donation system, that's something I could get behind, but not this.
 

Firanai

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Of course it was a bad idea. But you know what is the worst of all? That it was an obvious cash grab and they though that we would be stupid enough to fall for it. I don't know you guys but I feel insulted. I mean come on! 75% for valve and bethesda and a 25% for modders? what the hell! Don't pretend that it's anything else.
Look I said in other posts, if they really cared about the modders they would have add a donation button. Simple as that. You choose if you want to pay and how much you want to pay. I have no problem helping my favorite modders with some cash but I'm not okay with companies robbing me and taking advantage of the modders hard work. I hope that they consider this idea in the future.
 

Lightknight

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Caramel Frappe said:


It baffles me why Valve or anyone thought this was a good idea... heck, i'm not even an economic apprentice or some form of businessman and even I could see this failing HARD. Never try to make profit on a free service ... it would be like a company allowing charities to charge the homeless money for shelters, but 75% of the charities' money goes to said company. Just no... charities do what they do for the good of the community, same as modding communities (sorry if that wasn't the best example).
Two things:

1. The fact that we've had modding for free does not mean we could not have had even more money and resources put into modding if there was also a financial incentive. Money does steer work. Not everyone who is skilled enough to do so is able and/or willing to mod for free. So this could have hypothetically led to more and higher quality mods.

It also wasn't like people couldn't still produce it for free.

2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.

This was only one more option that was being made available. Shame we killed it due to not understanding that this is an industry norm.

Now, is Bethesda asking for too much? Probably. But that's their prerogative. Especially when the previous model was 100% free and no one got paid at all.
 

Dark Wraith

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Quick correction: Under the now-defunct plan, authors could cash out once they've earned $100 dollars, which means $400 in sales. The internet telephone game is responsible for morphing this into the $400/$1600 number that's been floating about.
 

Smiley Face

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Lightknight said:
(Truncated)

Two things:

1. The fact that we've had modding for free does not mean we could not have had even more money and resources put into modding if there was also a financial incentive. Money does steer work. Not everyone who is skilled enough to do so is able and/or willing to mod for free. So this could have hypothetically led to more and higher quality mods.

It also wasn't like people couldn't still produce it for free.

2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split (...) This was only one more option that was being made available. Shame we killed it due to not understanding that this is an industry norm.
This wasn't killed because people on the receiving end didn't understand it, it was because on the balance of things, this was a policy that had the potential to seriously disrupt the modding community with very little upside. The fact that there are minor possible upsides doesn't make it a good idea in the face of the massive problems and downsides it creates.

Your first point is a valid possibility, financial incentive might lead to higher quality, but the article makes a fairly good case that the problems this system would create and the behaviour it would incentivize would create an environment where there would be poorer overall products.

Your second point is largely irrelevant, and somewhat flawed. Even if it were accurate, it's neutral to the modding community at best, and therefore does little to outweigh the problems that have to be outweighed before this is a good idea. But the point does have flaws.

First, it makes little sense to compare this to an industry standard, since modding is not an industry. Modders are not employees, they are not paid by Bethesda, and their work isn't guaranteed any money at all. In fact, their work costs Bethesda nothing, and is good for them as it promotes sales and people becoming invested in the company brand. Given all of these things, perhaps the smarter move, from a business standpoint, would be to take less of a percentage, rather than strangling the Golden Goose in an effort to squeeze all the eggs out.

In short, it's not that people don't understand this, they do. And it's not that anyone thinks the companies involved shouldn't have the power to do this. It's just that it's a stupid idea with few upsides for anyone involved.
 

rgrekejin

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Oh hey! I didn't know you had a Patreon!

Here, have a small amount of money! It's the least I can do for all the joy 'DM of the Rings' brought me.
 

shirkbot

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Lightknight said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split.
A bad split is a bad split, even if it is better than the industry average. Not to mention that those companies are not splitting the sale directly with all other parties. They make contracts ahead of time, they have terms and timetables which decide who is paid what, when and for what duration of time. Contracts that the companies in question negotiated for themselves, as opposed to being dictated to them from on high.

We killed this because, even if the core idea of compensating modders for services rendered is a good one, the execution was poor at best.
 

Bad Jim

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Signa said:
All that, and you didn't even touch on the problems regarding copyrighted content, like Lightsaber mods. It's amazing how bad this whole idea was.
Too bad they didn't let the system run a little longer. It would have been amusing to see Valve and Bethesda in court over all the money they were making from copyrighted material, defending against Lucasarts, Disney, etc
 

Sniper Team 4

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Thanks for breaking this down and summing it up for me, Shamus. I don't have Steam and played Skyrim on the PS3, so I didn't really understand what was going on. All I heard was that Valve was going to start charging for mods. After reading this though, I understand why this backfired so horribly, and honestly, I'm more than a little disappointed in Valve. They're supposed to be the good guys of the gaming world, but this? This is on the level of EA and Activision in regards to some areas. That's pretty low.
 

fix-the-spade

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Sniper Team 4 said:
They're supposed to be the good guys of the gaming world, but this?
The days of Valve being in any way consumer oriented are long past us. They basically take the attitude of it's your problem, fuck you now, even EA has a better sales and refund policy than Valve.

Think about that, EA has better customer service than Valve, how times change.
 

Sardonac

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This piece is misguided, even for something written on Sunday. Most of its contentions are with the incentive schemes of capitalist markets, not this marketplace in particular. It also takes the 75/25 number at its face, rather than seeing it for what it means. I've already posted about the confusions about capitalist incentive schemes in this discussion here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.874507-Gabe-Newell-Speaks-on-The-Whole-Paid-Skyrim-Mods-Debacle?page=3#21973324 and here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.874507-Gabe-Newell-Speaks-on-The-Whole-Paid-Skyrim-Mods-Debacle?page=4#21975310

The 75/25 number is worth talking about independently. The proposed split was plausible: modders would retain financial incentives, Valve would cover their costs, and Bethesda would retain a strong financial incentive for supporting the modding community. As I outline in the above links, getting developers actively engaged in the modding community can be a big win for everyone. But all this is assuming the split is inflexible. Bethesda and Valve could agree to new terms, offering more money to modders, or a different split for certain sorts of mods. Bethesda could even offer their full share in particular mods, or just a flat buy-out, to modders who fix their product. These are workable solutions to foreseeable problems - nothing that's worth writing home (or an editorial) about.

The biggest issue with this roll-out was its lack of consumer resources. If Valve had offered more transparent methods for administering to the community, policing copyright, and growing the system of incentives then this idea would be quite nearly ideal. As it stands Valve has been cowed by a largely misguided response from consumers. I hope they implement a mod shop in the coming years, one that has learned from this week's mistakes.

EDIT: It's also a little startling that so few have recognized the tension between the claims that "mods keep Skyrim/[other games] alive!" and "this 75/25 split leaves no money for modders!" If mods really are essential to playing a game then most people will buy them, especially since so many people buy games during Steam sales. Bethesda, too, would have a substantial financial incentive for making this market viable and popular.
 

DrOswald

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Sniper Team 4 said:
Thanks for breaking this down and summing it up for me, Shamus. I don't have Steam and played Skyrim on the PS3, so I didn't really understand what was going on. All I heard was that Valve was going to start charging for mods. After reading this though, I understand why this backfired so horribly, and honestly, I'm more than a little disappointed in Valve. They're supposed to be the good guys of the gaming world, but this? This is on the level of EA and Activision in regards to some areas. That's pretty low.
Don't be swayed by this shoddy article. Speaking as an actual modder turned software developer, this article is of shockingly poor quality and Shamus should be ashamed for writing it.

I mean, consider this: One of the big points he brings is that by making mods paid people will have an incentive to steal mod content and pass it off as their own. Well of course! The only reason this didn't happen before was because the content was inherently valueless. His solution to this problem is for the content to remain valueless. That is like saying that selling comic books is bad because someone might photocopy the art and sell it as their own. It is a pathetically bad anti-creator argument and I am shocked he would repeat it. We can't let creative content be sold! If it has value then people might try to steal it and sell it, so the creator wont get compensated! Far better to just prevent creators being compensated in the first place!

And then, get this, he goes on to talk about how a donation button would be a more appropriate method. But donation buttons already exist, he even gives himself as an example of how it can support people. But his entire stolen content point rests on the assumption that mod content is valueless!

Either donation systems are so ineffective that content that relies on them is typically valueless or the theft problem is not nearly as bad as he is assuming it would be (because, if they work, content is already valuable enough to steal.) Either way he is dead wrong about something. And I am pretty sure what he is dead wrong about is the effectiveness of donation systems. They can work, but it is rare.

And he didn't even properly fact check the article. You know the 1600 sales/$400 dollar figure he gives? The actual figure would be 400 sales/$100 dollars. But because Shamus didn't bother to do a 5 minute fact check and instead relied on rumors from his besty he inflated the figure by 4 times. Can you really trust that Shamus was thinking critically about this subject when he wasn't even willing to source a publicly available fact?

And that isn't even getting into his questionable assessment of the 75%/25% split or his incredibly anti-creator views on the dependency chain issue. "Modders should just work for free and then beg for donations (which by my own logic is damn near worthless.) That solves all the problems!"

Edit:
"if I was a mod author, I'd rather have 90% of optional donations than 25% of mandatory fees."

[sarcasm]Thanks so much for deciding how I should want to be paid.[/sarcasm]
 

Phrozenflame500

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I'm firmly in the camp that payed modding is a possibly ok idea, but would have to be implemented extremely well, and we got the exact opposite of that. All the IP and support issues shows that Valve had completely and utterly didn't think through this system and took the "free market" plan without thinking about the context of the situation.

Regarding the "cut" portion, which is one of the more argued about points, I believe Valve takes around 30% for all games on their service. Whether that's ok or not is up for debate (personally I'm ok with it since brick & mortar stores take similar cuts albeit with more expenses), but I would argue that 5% is definitely too low. The 45% Bethesda cut is duel-purpose stupid and unfair though.

I'm probably going to still use Steam since this wasn't a big deal for me, but it is yet another example of Valve being completely unable to manage such a big and important service like Steam.
 

CD-R

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It's certainly nice to read an article about this whole debacle that isn't parroting the whole "hurrr gamers are entitled" nonsense some of the other sites have been saying for a change.
 

luckshot

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for me one bright spot of this entire debacle has been drawing my attention to where a donate button may or may not be on some of the larger/necessary mods and considering if i should donate to the modder or not, interestingly only 2 of them so far have donate buttons on the nexus
 

SecondPrize

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Don't forget the companies that make the modeling and other creative software modders use. How much do you want to bet they're all using licensed versions and paying percentages where applicable?
 

Lazule

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Unjustified greed ladies and gentleman. Thats what happens some times in the industry.

Why not give the money (in optional forms of donation) to the modders directly instead? they are the ones who worked their asses learning the software and made the mods. Thank you Bethesda for letting anyone that has the game make mods of your game, they make your games infinity better actually the free form and "take it easy" attitude of that pumps up the sales by a huuuuge margin.

Skyrim without mods (this includes DLCs they are mods after all) is lack luster and boring.
 

SirCannonFodder

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Hey Shamus, the $400 figure your friend gave you is already taking into account the 25%. The amount of cash you personally need to have earned before getting anything is $100. Probably should have checked the FAQ [https://steamcommunity.com/workshop/workshoppaymentinfofaq/#Payments].
 

Amir Kondori

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Lightknight said:
Caramel Frappe said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.
A developer may get a relatively small cut, and many developers actually get closer to that 25% mark, they get paid to develop the content in the first place. The salaries and costs have been paid the entire time and THEN they cut their percentage. In this case nothing is getting paid for the content, so why should the split be the same?
 

Odbarc

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I think the ad for the 10 years-old mod (and probably outright stolen at this point) "Realistic Horse Genitals" for only $99.99 sums up this entire idea.

Most in-house made expansion packs sell for only $40 or what-not.
Everything else would be worth pennies on average, at least with the stuff I've used. Alternate colors, different designs, de-crap-ified UI removed start-up logo.
 

Shinkicker444

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I'm curious if Steam and Beth had to wait till a threshold to get their cut. I bet they didn't. What of the mods that don't reach that threshold? Beth and Steam keep the money? Or is in perpetual escrow.
 

Randomvirus

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I really never saw why any of this was bad. The complaint about "the money" was just asinine to me.

People are making things for a product they don't own, then selling it on a service using an infrastructure they didn't create.

If people didn't want it, they don't have to pay for it. I've downloaded tons of mods for Skyrim, I would seriously pay for none of them. Well, maybe Frostfall. Because they weren't significant in any way. But I'm pretty frugal on any DLC.

Maybe it's because gamers are seriously the dumbest demographic there is, and have to buy everything they see.
 

Karadalis

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Randomvirus said:
I really never saw why any of this was bad. The complaint about "the money" was just asinine to me.

People are making things for a product they don't own, then selling it on a service using an infrastructure they didn't create.

If people didn't want it, they don't have to pay for it. I've downloaded tons of mods for Skyrim, I would seriously pay for none of them. Well, maybe Frostfall. Because they weren't significant in any way. But I'm pretty frugal on any DLC.

Maybe it's because gamers are seriously the dumbest demographic there is, and have to buy everything they see.
Or maybe you should read the article and think about the arguments he brings up about there being no quality control, rampant stealing and bethesda and valve claiming money while doing jack shit instead of insulting everyone around you?

This scheme was a poorly implemented mess and shows that Valve does not understand modding culture, and aparantly some other people with capitalist boners in this very thread dont understand it either. Especially when they now get a steady paycheck at the end of the month instead of having to hope that no one steals their work with them having actually no legal protection to prevent it.

Valve doesnt take responsibility, Bethesda takes no responsibility... and good luck trying to get a dmca against a guy you only know as pwnzer348!!! who stole and uploaded your mod and claims that hes the original developer and you are the fraud. Steam has absolutely no copyright protection measures installed into their workshop, and unlike with their own games refuses to commit to any QA whatsofreaking ever, and even encourages people to steal mods that they found for free somewhere else!

Not only that but everyone keeps ignoring the "poisen the well" argument and instead keep stomping their feet on the ground and keep changing "if modders get paid they make better mods"

Without even having any arguments to back that up... as if repeating this statement makes it true.

Not only do these wannabe hardcore capitalists completly ignore modding culture and what makes modding actually possible in the first place (the cooperation of modders due to mods being a free labor of love) but they somehow think that being promised a vague payout at the end of the day suddenly means that people will invest huge sums of money into developing mods... when recent history has shown us that the oposite is true.

Did early acess actually lead to better games? NO! Most games that come out of early access do so with promised features never implemented, the rest are complete garbage unity assets using cash grabs, and then you have one or two games that are actually worth it every now and then.

Or how about steam greenlight? Yeah that one surely helped bring out the best games indie devs can make right?

How can people be so naive and think that introducing corporate culture into a digital HOBBY can lead to any positive outcome? Especialy those that have depended on this hobby to get themselves a job with a steady paycheck?

Its just sad to see how eager these people are to get shafted and sell out their fellow gamers to big corporations whos only care is how to make the biggest amount of money with the least amount of investment.

For fucks sake the quality of games, even AAA games has DECREASED over the last 10 years with the introduction of microtransactions and DLC... and yet these people somehow believe that this time it will actually help improve things?

Have you spend your live under a rock? Take a look around! Pre order incentives, micro transactions in single player games with no replayability, nickle and diming "free to play" games that like to go whale hunting, DLC ondisk, heavily monetized multyplayer for full priced games and it goes on and on and on.

But modders... they are saints... they would never try to abuse the system to make a quick buck... no sir.. because now they are promised some sort of compensation they suddenly will all quit their jobs and start developing mods fulltime...

Ignoring the fact that theres no copyright protection for modders work.

That there is no incentive for them to finish their mods after they sold them (quite the contrary from an economic standpoint, why should you keep working on something that doesnt make you money anymore?)

That there is no incentive to actually maintain their mods when something breaks due to a game update (again, an economical stupid decision seeing that word of mouth is useless when you can just upload new mods with a new account)

That there is a bigger incentive for developing tons of smaller mods instead of one single big mod of high quality (selling 3 x 10k 1 dollar mods is more profitable then selling 1k 5 dollar mods)


But because people are such saints they would surely never exploit the system and the overall quality of mods would improve?
 

Shamanic Rhythm

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Pretty well put.

DrOswald said:
One of the big points he brings is that by making mods paid people will have an incentive to steal mod content and pass it off as their own. Well of course! The only reason this didn't happen before was because the content was inherently valueless. His solution to this problem is for the content to remain valueless. That is like saying that selling comic books is bad because someone might photocopy the art and sell it as their own. It is a pathetically bad anti-creator argument and I am shocked he would repeat it. We can't let creative content be sold! If it has value then people might try to steal it and sell it, so the creator wont get compensated! Far better to just prevent creators being compensated in the first place!
You're projecting a bit here. His point was that Steam's method of offering paid mods would incentivise stealing more than donation buttons would, because under their model you would have to actually part with money to download the mod if the mod's uploader opted into the system. People could (and do) still try and get payment for the mods made by others under a donation system, but because donations are optional it means people are more likely to do the research before they give money - whereupon they might discover the person they are about to donate to is a fraud.

And then, get this, he goes on to talk about how a donation button would be a more appropriate method. But donation buttons already exist, he even gives himself as an example of how it can support people. But his entire stolen content point rests on the assumption that mod content is valueless!
No it doesn't. As noted above, it's the difference between providing a storefront that makes it extremely easy to shift what is essentially stolen property and giving the property away and asking for a donation. There's no doubt which would attract more potential thieves.
 

RedDeadFred

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May 13, 2009
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Most of the stuff in this article I'd already brought up before and thought of. However, the one thing that really sticks out to me is the idea of Bethesda profiting off of things that they should have done themselves. Don't get me wrong, I loved the base game of Skyrim, but I don't think I ever actually got Blood on the Ice to work when I was playing the game on console. Mods fixed so many bugs and the idea that Bethesda could make extra money off of something that should have been their job is inexcusable. I know the bug fix mods didn't ever go onto the Workshop, but just the potential alone was awful.

I should mention that I am completely for modders getting compensated for their hard work. I've personally donated to several mods that I thought were worth money in more games than just Skyrim. Mount and Blade Warband has mods that easily surpass the main game and the official DLC that it has come out with.
 

Steve the Pocket

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I'm not opposed to some mods being sold for money, on principle. Some of them are huge and had a lot of work put into them, and are essentially fan-made DLC. Nor am I opposed to Valve getting 30% because that's what they get from actual games already. But I would have treated it the way Valve treats the Half-Life 2 mods they put on Steam: Cherry-pick the ones that they (or Bethesda) feel are worthy to be showcased on the Steam store; everyone else is on their own. And as far as the copyright thing goes... OK, story time: You know the Team Fortress 2 map Mann Manor [https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Mann_Manor]? That map had a different tractor model when it was in development, but the person who had drawn the concept art for it (just the concept art!) couldn't be reached in time for Valve to buy the rights, even though it had been freely contributed to the TF2Maps resource pool [http://forums.tf2maps.net/downloads.php?do=file&id=3072]. So Valve asked the co-creator of the map to design and model a new one from scratch at the eleventh hour. That's the level of diligence that needs to be exercised here. Not the fucking honor system.

As far as Bethesda getting a cut... there are only two cases I can think of where this would be justified: The mods that recreated Morrowind and Oblivion in the Skyrim engine. Since it's Bethesda's games that are being poached. And that's only assuming that the mod makers want to charge money for them and all the rights can be cleared as I mentioned above.
 

Somekindofgold

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This Valve paid mod things is just like DLC, microtransactions, pre order bonuses or the Xbone's bullshit, yeah on paper it might be a good idea but as we've seen this industry and good ideas dont mix, especially when money is involved. Always be cynical, dont just buy into what they're saying because its Valve saying it, or Rockstar saying it, or your favorite dev/company saying it.

As soon as I hear some new way in which game companies will make money I'm always negative because we've had a decade long track record of this stuff blowing up in our faces and being abused.
 

LetalisK

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This is the first time Valve has done something that completely pissed me off. Usually if they do something off, it's a "Okay, I see what they're trying to do here. Even if I don't particularly like the method, I get it." Not this. They can completely fuck off with this idea.
 

pearcinator

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I haven't even mod games before and this still made me angry. It's the greed that really pisses me off. Valve are possibly the wealthiest developers (if you can still call them that) out there and they try to release a new way to monetize from Steam before fixing the many other problems that Steam has such as Greenlight and Early Access (which this 'paid mods' scheme would have become and completely tarnished the reputation of the modding community).

As far as I am concerned this is a victory for the gamers. The big companies don't seem to realise that when we smell something shitty we don't accept it! Valve now have had to backpedal on their scheme because we probably flooded their inboxes with hate. This whole idea was not thought out and terribly implemented. People will take advantage of anything and you could see from the first MINUTE the paid mods scheme was introduced there were already weapon skins costing $1 or people taking the piss with the 'extra apple' mod (which was pretty funny). People will try to make money off anything.

It probably sounded good in theory by allowing creators to actually make modding into an occupation rather than a hobby but you know what else sounds good in theory? Communism; and we all know how flawed that is when put into practice. As soon as the human element is involved, things go to shit.
 

CommanderZx2

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So much ignorance on this topic. Valve game the modders the option to sell their mods if they wanted to. They gave them a fair percentage of the profits of 25%, which by the way is the same rates that Dota 2 and TF 2 modders get for their items. This 25% is also far greater than what you would be getting if you were doing development as a real job.

This results in completely clueless people flipping their shit thinking it's the end of modding, never mind the fact that many popular games started as mods before turning into retail products. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how childish the response to this has been, but it has made me stop visiting several sites due to the outright stupidity on display in the overreaction.
 

Lightknight

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Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Caramel Frappe said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.
A developer may get a relatively small cut, and many developers actually get closer to that 25% mark, they get paid to develop the content in the first place. The salaries and costs have been paid the entire time and THEN they cut their percentage. In this case nothing is getting paid for the content, so why should the split be the same?
The game, the game engine, the development tools they're using, the marketing that went into the game they're modding, all of these are costs the publisher and core game developers incurred.

This is as silly as someone adding a chapter to Harry Potter and claiming they got no help from J.K. Rowling in the creation of it when all of the tools and setup were there. Heck, this is even more extreme as Bethesda even created the mod tools.

Beyond that, there's also the fact that they're renting space on Bethesda's storefront and in Valve's platform.

So.... you're extremely wrong here.
 

Kargathia

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Randomvirus said:
People are making things for a product they don't own, then selling it on a service using an infrastructure they didn't create.
While generally true, things get a bit more nuanced when applied to Skyrim.

This is a very mature community, creating content for a game that is widely regarded as heavily dependent on mods. Not "featuring mods", "enhanced by mods", but outright depending on them for its popularity. It may be true modders do not own Skyrim, but in monetary terms the value they have added far outweighs any investments on Bethesda's part to enable them.

Adding paid mods to a new game could certainly be done, and possibly indeed create net benefits for everyone. The lack of customer support, the bonanza of bad incentives, and the absolute disregard for chained dependencies can all be ironed out, but doing so takes time - and is exponentially harder to do if a decade's worth of work needs to be revisited.
 

Lightknight

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shirkbot said:
Lightknight said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split.
A bad split is a bad split, even if it is better than the industry average. Not to mention that those companies are not splitting the sale directly with all other parties. They make contracts ahead of time, they have terms and timetables which decide who is paid what, when and for what duration of time. Contracts that the companies in question negotiated for themselves, as opposed to being dictated to them from on high.

We killed this because, even if the core idea of compensating modders for services rendered is a good one, the execution was poor at best.
Oh, I'm sorry, I missed the part where modders were being forced against their will to charge anything for their game or even having to put it on Steam itself...

Seems to me that the ONLY option they have now is 0%.
 

DrOswald

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Shamanic Rhythm said:
Pretty well put.

DrOswald said:
One of the big points he brings is that by making mods paid people will have an incentive to steal mod content and pass it off as their own. Well of course! The only reason this didn't happen before was because the content was inherently valueless. His solution to this problem is for the content to remain valueless. That is like saying that selling comic books is bad because someone might photocopy the art and sell it as their own. It is a pathetically bad anti-creator argument and I am shocked he would repeat it. We can't let creative content be sold! If it has value then people might try to steal it and sell it, so the creator wont get compensated! Far better to just prevent creators being compensated in the first place!
You're projecting a bit here. His point was that Steam's method of offering paid mods would incentivise stealing more than donation buttons would, because under their model you would have to actually part with money to download the mod if the mod's uploader opted into the system. People could (and do) still try and get payment for the mods made by others under a donation system, but because donations are optional it means people are more likely to do the research before they give money - whereupon they might discover the person they are about to donate to is a fraud.

And then, get this, he goes on to talk about how a donation button would be a more appropriate method. But donation buttons already exist, he even gives himself as an example of how it can support people. But his entire stolen content point rests on the assumption that mod content is valueless!
No it doesn't. As noted above, it's the difference between providing a storefront that makes it extremely easy to shift what is essentially stolen property and giving the property away and asking for a donation. There's no doubt which would attract more potential thieves.
It actually does. The reason donation buttons are not an effective method of shifting stolen property is because PEOPLE DON'T READILY DONATE. They might donate later, after they try the mod, if they really liked it and they remember to do it and if they can remember where they got it from and if they feel like going out of their way to go and find the mod page again and they have some money to burn and if they don't find some excuse to deny the money while researching the modder and if this mod in particular is the best mod they downloaded and is therefore where they are willing to spend the modest sum they are willing to donate.

Of course people are more prone to steal the mod and put it up on the storefront, because people on a store front are looking to spend money now, not vaguely maybe possibly willing to spend some money in the future, but only if they decide they like the content creator. The pay upfront in a storefront model adds a significant amount of value to the mod.

No matter how you look at it, the argument is that we should deny value to content in order to mitigate stealing of that content. It is an insane anti-creator argument that people only support because the purposed "solution" is "everything should remain free for consumers forever."
 

Petromir

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Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Caramel Frappe said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.
A developer may get a relatively small cut, and many developers actually get closer to that 25% mark, they get paid to develop the content in the first place. The salaries and costs have been paid the entire time and THEN they cut their percentage. In this case nothing is getting paid for the content, so why should the split be the same?
Their salaries are paid out of the 15%/25%/whatever% (or 15%/25%/whatever% of all the games dev makes, with publishers using their cut to pay advances for future products.)

While there were plenty of problems with this implimentation, 25% without having to fork out for engine licences etc out of that is actually compared to what selling a game retail would work out as a great deal.

Now a pay what you want scheme with a steam administered free trial period would be better, especially if there is say a 'you have to have this level of rep or similar from free mod work to monitise' barrier to entry.

Now of course things like GoT or Star Wars TCs and the like would likely have to remain free unless the relevant licences holders agreed.

Steam also needs to find some happy medium between no curation by them and too much. Though an actual refund policy would go a long way to alleviate this.
 

Amir Kondori

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Lightknight said:
Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Caramel Frappe said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.
A developer may get a relatively small cut, and many developers actually get closer to that 25% mark, they get paid to develop the content in the first place. The salaries and costs have been paid the entire time and THEN they cut their percentage. In this case nothing is getting paid for the content, so why should the split be the same?
The game, the game engine, the development tools they're using, the marketing that went into the game they're modding, all of these are costs the publisher and core game developers incurred.

This is as silly as someone adding a chapter to Harry Potter and claiming they got no help from J.K. Rowling in the creation of it when all of the tools and setup were there. Heck, this is even more extreme as Bethesda even created the mod tools.

Beyond that, there's also the fact that they're renting space on Bethesda's storefront and in Valve's platform.

So.... you're extremely wrong here.
I would completely disagree and say that you are considerably and extremely wrong here. Obsidian got all the same tools and more but they were paid for their time building the content, which is why the small cut of sales makes sense. You are trying to pretend that just being given the platform is equivalent to being paid for creating the content. If developers didn't get paid to create the content they would never agree to the small cut of sales.

If you are creating a mod, whether an armor mod or something like Falskaar, you are a developer. Mods are already adding value to Bethesda's game and those increased sales, as there are lots of people who would never buy a Bethesda game if they didn't have all the amazing mods they have, also put some extra money in Valve's pocket. If they are not going to pay modders to develop the content in the first place as any other developer could expect why should they expect them to take the same small cut of the sales?

To clarify, this is NOT Bethesda's storefront, it is Valve's. Bethesda does nothing other than OK the monetization. They do not host any files or take care of any payment processing.
 

DrOswald

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Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Caramel Frappe said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.
A developer may get a relatively small cut, and many developers actually get closer to that 25% mark, they get paid to develop the content in the first place. The salaries and costs have been paid the entire time and THEN they cut their percentage. In this case nothing is getting paid for the content, so why should the split be the same?
The game, the game engine, the development tools they're using, the marketing that went into the game they're modding, all of these are costs the publisher and core game developers incurred.

This is as silly as someone adding a chapter to Harry Potter and claiming they got no help from J.K. Rowling in the creation of it when all of the tools and setup were there. Heck, this is even more extreme as Bethesda even created the mod tools.

Beyond that, there's also the fact that they're renting space on Bethesda's storefront and in Valve's platform.

So.... you're extremely wrong here.
I would completely disagree and say that you are considerably and extremely wrong here. Obsidian got all the same tools and more but they were paid for their time building the content, which is why the small cut of sales makes sense. You are trying to pretend that just being given the platform is equivalent to being paid for creating the content. If developers didn't get paid to create the content they would never agree to the small cut of sales.

If you are creating a mod, whether an armor mod or something like Falskaar, you are a developer. Mods are already adding value to Bethesda's game and those increased sales, as there are lots of people who would never buy a Bethesda game if they didn't have all the amazing mods they have, also put some extra money in Valve's pocket. If they are not going to pay modders to develop the content in the first place as any other developer could expect why should they expect them to take the same small cut of the sales?

To clarify, this is NOT Bethesda's storefront, it is Valve's. Bethesda does nothing other than OK the monetization. They do not host any files or take care of any payment processing.
Obsidian got a flat chunk of money for developing New Vegas (probably in the form of X dollars in advance and X dollars on completion of the product, with bonuses in place for certain achievements such as the famous 85 meta critic bonus condition) and a 0% cut of the revenue. Had they negotiated for a 25% cut they most likely would have received no advance, no product completion payout, and no bonus conditions. And while we don't know the exact amount of compensation Obsidian received, we can say for sure that it was no where near 25% of the revenue of the product.

You can talk about morals all you want, but from a standpoint of how things actually work in reality 25% with none of the regular fees and conditions attached to such contracts is a screaming deal.
 

Shamanic Rhythm

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DrOswald said:
No matter how you look at it, the argument is that we should deny value to content in order to mitigate stealing of that content. It is an insane anti-creator argument that people only support because the purposed "solution" is "everything should remain free for consumers forever."
It's not 'anti-creator'. It's simply recognising that if you make charging for mods as simple as charging for DLC, there's a strong incentive for people to take mods that aren't being charged for, upload them as their own and try and get some money. That's not the same as saying the content can't have value or that the creator can't be rewarded, but that a storefront type situation isn't the best way to mitigate stealing. Actually, more particularly it's that it's a storefront curated by Valve, who've done such a terrible job of quality control with Greenlight and Early Access.

But really, the stealing reason is only one of many problems with the idea. The fact that mods don't always work as advertised, or get broken by other mods, or create licensing headaches where you might be charging for copyrighted content, are all far more serious reasons why it was a bad idea.
 

shirkbot

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Lightknight said:
Oh, I'm sorry, I missed the part where modders were being forced against their will to charge anything for their game or even having to put it on Steam itself...

Seems to me that the ONLY option they have now is 0%.
I'm not saying anyone was forced to do anything. I am, however, saying that they didn't even have the option of negotiation. Valve set the terms with Bethesda/Zenimax and told modders that if they wanted to participate they had to unconditionally accept. This was supposed to be a more legitimate way for modders to be compensated, but the income distribution was so skewed that everyone just balked, and anyone that got past that found a host of legal and QA issues that needed to be dealt with...

Donations still exist, which are functionally pay-what-you-want and the modders are getting get 100% of that (minus whatever Patreon and Papal charge for their services).

Judging by the sarcastic apology and subsequent text you could use a pick-me-up. Here's an adorable bunny to help brighten your day.

DrOswald said:
Obsidian got a flat chunk of money for developing New Vegas (probably in the form of X dollars in advance and X dollars on completion of the product, with bonuses in place for certain achievements such as the famous 85 meta critic bonus condition) and a 0% cut of the revenue. Had they negotiated for a 25% cut they most likely would have received no advance, no product completion payout, and no bonus conditions. And while we don't know the exact amount of compensation Obsidian received, we can say for sure that it was no where near 25% of the revenue of the product.

You can talk about morals all you want, but from a standpoint of how things actually work in reality 25% with none of the regular fees and conditions attached to such contracts is a screaming deal.
From your language, can we safely assume that your chosen example is based almost entirely on speculation?

Regardless, Valve was attempting to monetize a previously free product, effectively creating a new market. 25% may currently be a "screaming deal", but that's only if we're looking at it in a completely different, and pre-existing, context. From the standpoint of starting a completely new market, we should strive to do better than what is currently standard. At this point the only way I'll support Valve and Bethesda's "screaming deal" is if they also help create a union, or similar organization, for modders that can negotiate current and future terms.

Sorry if I'm coming across as a combative. Please feel free to share Lightknight's bunny. None of us are enemies after all.
 

Holythirteen

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DrOswald said:
You can talk about morals all you want, but from a standpoint of how things actually work in reality 25% with none of the regular fees and conditions attached to such contracts is a screaming deal.
Well, let's be honest here, Valve talks a good game about how they did this for the modders, but this seems to be more about them getting their cut than it is about compensating modders.

Don't get me wrong, I would love nothing more than to see a well-done paid-mod system running alongside a free-mod system, just to see where you would find the better mods. I think it's pretty obvious that unless Valve does something to skew the system to greatly favour the paid modders, the free modders would mop the floor with them.

And since the paid modders would be earning Valve money where the free modders would not be, Valve would show inevitable and understandable bias towards the former group. Damn shame too, I would love to be proven right/wrong.

Is it absurd to ask that Valve/Bethesda make a show of faith to prove that this system can work before they expect the consumers and modding community to invest in it? Hell, make the profits 100% for the modder, it's a four-year-old game, let's see if they can handle a worst-case-scenario of people selling stolen work, or the QA problems that will arise.

Whatever money they spend trying to get this system to work is gonna be pathetic compared to what they could earn in the long wrong if they prove to the community that it CAN work. It's not the consumers or the modders trying to kill this system, it was Valve all along.
 

DrOswald

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shirkbot said:
Lightknight said:
Oh, I'm sorry, I missed the part where modders were being forced against their will to charge anything for their game or even having to put it on Steam itself...

Seems to me that the ONLY option they have now is 0%.
I'm not saying anyone was forced to do anything. I am, however, saying that they didn't even have the option of negotiation. Valve set the terms with Bethesda/Zenimax and told modders that if they wanted to participate they had to unconditionally accept. This was supposed to be a more legitimate way for modders to be compensated, but the income distribution was so skewed that everyone just balked, and anyone that got past that found a host of legal and QA issues that needed to be dealt with...

Donations still exist, which are functionally pay-what-you-want and the modders are getting get 100% of that (minus whatever Patreon and Papal charge for their services).

Judging by the sarcastic apology and subsequent text you could use a pick-me-up. Here's an adorable bunny to help brighten your day.

DrOswald said:
Obsidian got a flat chunk of money for developing New Vegas (probably in the form of X dollars in advance and X dollars on completion of the product, with bonuses in place for certain achievements such as the famous 85 meta critic bonus condition) and a 0% cut of the revenue. Had they negotiated for a 25% cut they most likely would have received no advance, no product completion payout, and no bonus conditions. And while we don't know the exact amount of compensation Obsidian received, we can say for sure that it was no where near 25% of the revenue of the product.

You can talk about morals all you want, but from a standpoint of how things actually work in reality 25% with none of the regular fees and conditions attached to such contracts is a screaming deal.
From your language, can we safely assume that your chosen example is based almost entirely on speculation?

Regardless, Valve was attempting to monetize a previously free product, effectively creating a new market. 25% may currently be a "screaming deal", but that's only if we're looking at it in a completely different, and pre-existing, context. From the standpoint of starting a completely new market, we should strive to do better than what is currently standard. At this point the only way I'll support Valve and Bethesda's "screaming deal" is if they also help create a union, or similar organization, for modders that can negotiate current and future terms.

Sorry if I'm coming across as a combative. Please feel free to share Lightknight's bunny. None of us are enemies after all.
No, it was based on a first hand report from Chris Avellone, the creative director and co-owner of obsidian.

"[Fallout: New Vegas] was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic"

And this is well known, this quote made the rounds on every major gaming news outlet at the time. If you would have gone to the effort of doing even the most basic checking of what I claimed you would know this. Combine this with the also easily available fact (usually cited in the very same articles as the above quote!) that Bethesda made over $300 million in the first month of selling New Vegas you would know that it is impossible that Obsidian ever saw a quarter of even the first months revenue, let alone the earnings of the game over the entire lifetime of the product. (In fact, since the game released on the 19th of the month, it was actually $300 million in less than the first two weeks of the product lifetime.)

It is really hard to have a good faith discussion when people like you instantly dismiss even the most easily verified facts as baseless speculation.
 

Braedan

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People constantly say that we guide the market, and that we should stand up for the things we want to see instead of posturing like the Call Of Duty dedicated server boycott that didn't work.

Well we just did. The market was unwilling to accept the system that Valve set up, and Valve was forced to take it down. Whether apologists argue about standard industry rates or compensation for the poor modders is irrelevant. We voted, and the vote was an landslide "Fuck you Valve."
 

shirkbot

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DrOswald said:
No, it was based on a first hand report from Chris Avellone, the creative director and co-owner of obsidian.

"[Fallout: New Vegas] was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic"

And this is well known, this quote made the rounds on every major gaming news outlet at the time. If you would have gone to the effort of doing even the most basic checking of what I claimed you would know this. Combine this with the also easily available fact (usually cited in the very same articles as the above quote!) that Bethesda made over $300 million in the first month of selling New Vegas you would know that it is impossible that Obsidian ever saw a quarter of even the first months revenue, let alone the earnings of the game over the entire lifetime of the product. (In fact, since the game released on the 19th of the month, it was actually $300 million in less than the first two weeks of the product lifetime.)

It is really hard to have a good faith discussion when people like you instantly dismiss even the most easily verified facts as baseless speculation.
It's even harder when people like you address a single line of an entire argument. I asked in order to verify because your language indicated that you were speculating, nothing more, nothing less. You have confirmed that you were not speculating, and I again apologize for offending you, so we can continue from there.

That said your example remains flawed. New Vegas was developed on a contract which was negotiated and agreed upon by Obsidian and Bethesda that ran no risk of rendering itself, or other games, unusable. Their contract turned out to be less than ideal for them, but they at least had the right to negotiate. They also weren't required to buy Fallout 3 to develop New Vegas, do all the work for free and pay Bethesda for the privilege. If your goal is to have modders be treated like Obsidian then there is going to have to be some representative organization for modders. Someone has to prevent companies from dictating all the terms of business, ensure products aren't going to break laws and/or games, and to act as a mediator in customer/modder disputes. Valve's model can work, and the core of the idea is good, but only if we approach it as something new and only if we're willing to challenge the terms they set.
 

likalaruku

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I immediately thought of how guys looking to make a quick buck continue to take advantage of Steam Greenlight by charging for broken unfinished games made on old pre-existing engines, & I knew that it would spread to the mods as well.

*There would have been mod piracy; both people hosting mods for free elsewhere that would have cost money on Steam, & people stealing & uploading mods they didn't make to get profits off of it, also resulting in duplicate mods.
*Like Signa pointed out, some mods use copyrighted content, so there would have been lawsuits.
*No guarantee of a refund if mods had to be uninstalled for conflict reasons.
*A flood of buggy mods made by scammers who can't develop & used stolen screencaps for false advertisement.
*Future potential to expand into monthly subscription fees for 5 star mods.
 

Lightknight

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shirkbot said:
Lightknight said:
Oh, I'm sorry, I missed the part where modders were being forced against their will to charge anything for their game or even having to put it on Steam itself...

Seems to me that the ONLY option they have now is 0%.
I'm not saying anyone was forced to do anything. I am, however, saying that they didn't even have the option of negotiation.
So? Publishers don't really get to negotiate with Valve on the cut they get to put a game on Steam. They get the same deal everyone else gets and that's it. Do you believe they are able to negotiate anything as things are?

This was literally just one more option for modders to actually profit off of their work and we decided to take that away from them.

We should pat ourselves on the back. I think deep down, we're just a bunch of free loading thieves bristling at the notion of having to pay some people for their work.

Judging by the sarcastic apology and subsequent text you could use a pick-me-up. Here's an adorable bunny to help brighten your day.
Delicious.
 

Lightknight

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Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Caramel Frappe said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.
A developer may get a relatively small cut, and many developers actually get closer to that 25% mark, they get paid to develop the content in the first place. The salaries and costs have been paid the entire time and THEN they cut their percentage. In this case nothing is getting paid for the content, so why should the split be the same?
The game, the game engine, the development tools they're using, the marketing that went into the game they're modding, all of these are costs the publisher and core game developers incurred.

This is as silly as someone adding a chapter to Harry Potter and claiming they got no help from J.K. Rowling in the creation of it when all of the tools and setup were there. Heck, this is even more extreme as Bethesda even created the mod tools.

Beyond that, there's also the fact that they're renting space on Bethesda's storefront and in Valve's platform.

So.... you're extremely wrong here.
I would completely disagree and say that you are considerably and extremely wrong here. Obsidian got all the same tools and more but they were paid for their time building the content, which is why the small cut of sales makes sense. You are trying to pretend that just being given the platform is equivalent to being paid for creating the content. If developers didn't get paid to create the content they would never agree to the small cut of sales.

If you are creating a mod, whether an armor mod or something like Falskaar, you are a developer. Mods are already adding value to Bethesda's game and those increased sales, as there are lots of people who would never buy a Bethesda game if they didn't have all the amazing mods they have, also put some extra money in Valve's pocket. If they are not going to pay modders to develop the content in the first place as any other developer could expect why should they expect them to take the same small cut of the sales?

To clarify, this is NOT Bethesda's storefront, it is Valve's. Bethesda does nothing other than OK the monetization. They do not host any files or take care of any payment processing.
Obsidian? Obsidian developed New Vegas, not Skyrim. But yeah, like you said they were given tools and access to the engine from the publisher. How much do you think they got paid for their work in relation to total revenue? They were paid a flat rate before hand and only offered a bonus if they achieved a certain metacritic. I seriously doubt they were paid 25% with that structure.

Developers get paid something like 15-25% for their work. The studio takes care of anything else.

We (people complaining in general, not you specifically) are literally bitching about the split being an industry standard between the publisher/IP owner and the developer.

Modders are not developing their own game. They aren't creating all of their own assets in their own dev tools. They aren't marketing the game or even maintaining the storefront. 25% is a legitimate deal and it isn't even one they have to take.

That's an even bigger one here. They don't have to take the option. They can leave it at $0 or sell it somewhere else online.

But right now and before this deal was made? All they could do was give it away for free where steam was concerned. So what's our complaint? That modders now have another option to take?
 

Amir Kondori

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DrOswald said:
Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Caramel Frappe said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.
A developer may get a relatively small cut, and many developers actually get closer to that 25% mark, they get paid to develop the content in the first place. The salaries and costs have been paid the entire time and THEN they cut their percentage. In this case nothing is getting paid for the content, so why should the split be the same?
The game, the game engine, the development tools they're using, the marketing that went into the game they're modding, all of these are costs the publisher and core game developers incurred.

This is as silly as someone adding a chapter to Harry Potter and claiming they got no help from J.K. Rowling in the creation of it when all of the tools and setup were there. Heck, this is even more extreme as Bethesda even created the mod tools.

Beyond that, there's also the fact that they're renting space on Bethesda's storefront and in Valve's platform.

So.... you're extremely wrong here.
I would completely disagree and say that you are considerably and extremely wrong here. Obsidian got all the same tools and more but they were paid for their time building the content, which is why the small cut of sales makes sense. You are trying to pretend that just being given the platform is equivalent to being paid for creating the content. If developers didn't get paid to create the content they would never agree to the small cut of sales.

If you are creating a mod, whether an armor mod or something like Falskaar, you are a developer. Mods are already adding value to Bethesda's game and those increased sales, as there are lots of people who would never buy a Bethesda game if they didn't have all the amazing mods they have, also put some extra money in Valve's pocket. If they are not going to pay modders to develop the content in the first place as any other developer could expect why should they expect them to take the same small cut of the sales?

To clarify, this is NOT Bethesda's storefront, it is Valve's. Bethesda does nothing other than OK the monetization. They do not host any files or take care of any payment processing.
Obsidian got a flat chunk of money for developing New Vegas (probably in the form of X dollars in advance and X dollars on completion of the product, with bonuses in place for certain achievements such as the famous 85 meta critic bonus condition) and a 0% cut of the revenue. Had they negotiated for a 25% cut they most likely would have received no advance, no product completion payout, and no bonus conditions. And while we don't know the exact amount of compensation Obsidian received, we can say for sure that it was no where near 25% of the revenue of the product.

You can talk about morals all you want, but from a standpoint of how things actually work in reality 25% with none of the regular fees and conditions attached to such contracts is a screaming deal.
Neither of knows what they were paid out but I guarantee you they were paid extra money based on sales, most AAA developers get bonuses based on sales and other metrics.
 

Lightknight

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Amir Kondori said:
Neither of knows what they were paid out but I guarantee you they were paid extra money based on sales, most AAA developers get bonuses based on sales and other metrics.
Oh? Do you guarantee us that Bethesda decided to give Obsidian more money due to sales even though their contract didn't call for it? Just out of the goodness of their heart? My oh my, what a delightfully considerate company...

Methinks you guarantee something which you can't. As Obsidian said, they got paid a flat rate for the project which means they don't get future royalties based on sales.

They only got more money if their Metascore exceeded 85, which it didn't.

So your guarantee is literally calling someone who said the opposite a liar. Difference is, that person telling us what they got are the actual developers. You telling us they're wrong is based off of what? Your own preconceptions? Doesn't sound very well founded, does it? Certainly not guaranteeable.
 

Shamus Young

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"There's being greedy, there's being a thoughtless and tone-deaf corporation, and then there's just being a straight-up asshole to your customers and fans"
I have to say, I think you're missing a very important point: Bethesda owns the copyright and trademark rights to Skyrim. They can charge 95% if they want and it would still be "fair" because, as derivative works of Skyrim, Bethesda doesn't have to allow people to make mods at all. The fact that they are attempting to create a legal conduit for fan-made content licensing is a testament to the fact that they have concern for those customers.
 

Starke

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DrOswald said:
Sniper Team 4 said:
Thanks for breaking this down and summing it up for me, Shamus. I don't have Steam and played Skyrim on the PS3, so I didn't really understand what was going on. All I heard was that Valve was going to start charging for mods. After reading this though, I understand why this backfired so horribly, and honestly, I'm more than a little disappointed in Valve. They're supposed to be the good guys of the gaming world, but this? This is on the level of EA and Activision in regards to some areas. That's pretty low.
Don't be swayed by this shoddy article. Speaking as an actual modder turned software developer, this article is of shockingly poor quality and Shamus should be ashamed for writing it.

I mean, consider this: One of the big points he brings is that by making mods paid people will have an incentive to steal mod content and pass it off as their own. Well of course! The only reason this didn't happen before was because the content was inherently valueless. His solution to this problem is for the content to remain valueless. That is like saying that selling comic books is bad because someone might photocopy the art and sell it as their own. It is a pathetically bad anti-creator argument and I am shocked he would repeat it. We can't let creative content be sold! If it has value then people might try to steal it and sell it, so the creator wont get compensated! Far better to just prevent creators being compensated in the first place!

And then, get this, he goes on to talk about how a donation button would be a more appropriate method. But donation buttons already exist, he even gives himself as an example of how it can support people. But his entire stolen content point rests on the assumption that mod content is valueless!
Even funnier when you consider that Shamus is actually making money, right now, off of a photo comic that uses images from New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings.
 

Starke

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Lightknight said:
shirkbot said:
Lightknight said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split.
A bad split is a bad split, even if it is better than the industry average. Not to mention that those companies are not splitting the sale directly with all other parties. They make contracts ahead of time, they have terms and timetables which decide who is paid what, when and for what duration of time. Contracts that the companies in question negotiated for themselves, as opposed to being dictated to them from on high.

We killed this because, even if the core idea of compensating modders for services rendered is a good one, the execution was poor at best.
Oh, I'm sorry, I missed the part where modders were being forced against their will to charge anything for their game or even having to put it on Steam itself...

Seems to me that the ONLY option they have now is 0%.
That's because a lot of people are misrepresenting it. What we're seeing are a lot of entitled little jackasses crawling out of the woodwork saying, "no, you can't make us pay for your work."

Right now, it's true. You can't sell mods for the game. But, here was a legitimate option. But, turns out, the consumers in the Skyrim mod community are, in general, entitled, and instead of actually paying people who make mods, they threw a tantrum loud enough to get Bethesda to back off. (Knowing Valve, I seriously doubt this change of heart came from them.)

Honestly, it's got me looking at the Bethesda based modding community... I should say, the "community" of people who don't actually make mods, in a much less charitable light, now.

Of course, I'm going to get shouted down, now, because it's easier to download someone else's mod, and make angry posts on their nexus threads about how they need to change to include "this one feature," than it is to actually learn the tools.
 

Lightknight

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Starke said:
Lightknight said:
shirkbot said:
Lightknight said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split.
A bad split is a bad split, even if it is better than the industry average. Not to mention that those companies are not splitting the sale directly with all other parties. They make contracts ahead of time, they have terms and timetables which decide who is paid what, when and for what duration of time. Contracts that the companies in question negotiated for themselves, as opposed to being dictated to them from on high.

We killed this because, even if the core idea of compensating modders for services rendered is a good one, the execution was poor at best.
Oh, I'm sorry, I missed the part where modders were being forced against their will to charge anything for their game or even having to put it on Steam itself...

Seems to me that the ONLY option they have now is 0%.
That's because a lot of people are misrepresenting it. What we're seeing are a lot of entitled little jackasses crawling out of the woodwork saying, "no, you can't make us pay for your work."

Right now, it's true. You can't sell mods for the game. But, here was a legitimate option. But, turns out, the consumers in the Skyrim mod community are, in general, entitled, and instead of actually paying people who make mods, they threw a tantrum loud enough to get Bethesda to back off. (Knowing Valve, I seriously doubt this change of heart came from them.)

Honestly, it's got me looking at the Bethesda based modding community... I should say, the "community" of people who don't actually make mods, in a much less charitable light, now.

Of course, I'm going to get shouted down, now, because it's easier to download someone else's mod, and make angry posts on their nexus threads about how they need to change to include "this one feature," than it is to actually learn the tools.
This has unfortunately been my conclusion as well.

However, if it makes you feel any better I am a huge Skyrim fan and have loved the mods I've installed. I'm just not cheap as to think that the people who made them didn't deserve some compensation. Especially that one group that added a third of the landmass to the game complete with quests and voice acting.
 

shirkbot

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Lightknight said:
I'm glad you liked the bunny. Also -snip-
Starke said:
I know this is a little late and that we've all already said our piece, but TotalBiscuit posted an interesting discussion of the subject. If one or both of you hasn't seen it already, here's a link:

[link]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aavBAplp5A[/link]

It has some interesting points, but it is almost 2 hours long.

EDIT: On a similar note, he hosted a much smaller discussion where someone suggested paying for mod packs while leaving the individual mods free. Thoughts?
 

DrOswald

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Amir Kondori said:
DrOswald said:
Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Amir Kondori said:
Lightknight said:
Caramel Frappe said:
2. 75%/25% isn't a bad split. As is, development studios only get 15% with the rest of the money going to the publisher, console maker, marketing, the retail store, and anything else. In this scenario, Steam is the console maker (since Steam is a platform) and serves as a kind of marketing and retail store while Bethesda's store front is itself also marketing and a retail store. Bethesda is also the publisher (They financially assisted the modders by backing the game engine and dev tools as well as providing the storefront). This isn't bad to rent space on this kind of highly visible storefront that is Bethesda's even though it's on Steam.

So 25% is good. It's especially sweet when you don't have to create your own assets or build your own engine components like real developers have to do. It also isn't obligatory. If they don't think it is worth the 75% then they can still go elsewhere.
A developer may get a relatively small cut, and many developers actually get closer to that 25% mark, they get paid to develop the content in the first place. The salaries and costs have been paid the entire time and THEN they cut their percentage. In this case nothing is getting paid for the content, so why should the split be the same?
The game, the game engine, the development tools they're using, the marketing that went into the game they're modding, all of these are costs the publisher and core game developers incurred.

This is as silly as someone adding a chapter to Harry Potter and claiming they got no help from J.K. Rowling in the creation of it when all of the tools and setup were there. Heck, this is even more extreme as Bethesda even created the mod tools.

Beyond that, there's also the fact that they're renting space on Bethesda's storefront and in Valve's platform.

So.... you're extremely wrong here.
I would completely disagree and say that you are considerably and extremely wrong here. Obsidian got all the same tools and more but they were paid for their time building the content, which is why the small cut of sales makes sense. You are trying to pretend that just being given the platform is equivalent to being paid for creating the content. If developers didn't get paid to create the content they would never agree to the small cut of sales.

If you are creating a mod, whether an armor mod or something like Falskaar, you are a developer. Mods are already adding value to Bethesda's game and those increased sales, as there are lots of people who would never buy a Bethesda game if they didn't have all the amazing mods they have, also put some extra money in Valve's pocket. If they are not going to pay modders to develop the content in the first place as any other developer could expect why should they expect them to take the same small cut of the sales?

To clarify, this is NOT Bethesda's storefront, it is Valve's. Bethesda does nothing other than OK the monetization. They do not host any files or take care of any payment processing.
Obsidian got a flat chunk of money for developing New Vegas (probably in the form of X dollars in advance and X dollars on completion of the product, with bonuses in place for certain achievements such as the famous 85 meta critic bonus condition) and a 0% cut of the revenue. Had they negotiated for a 25% cut they most likely would have received no advance, no product completion payout, and no bonus conditions. And while we don't know the exact amount of compensation Obsidian received, we can say for sure that it was no where near 25% of the revenue of the product.

You can talk about morals all you want, but from a standpoint of how things actually work in reality 25% with none of the regular fees and conditions attached to such contracts is a screaming deal.
Neither of knows what they were paid out but I guarantee you they were paid extra money based on sales, most AAA developers get bonuses based on sales and other metrics.
Incorrect. We know from a first hand account from Chris Avellone, co-owner of Obsidian, that this was not the case. The only bonus condition they had was if the game reached 85+ metacritic score, which it did not. Their compensation was in the form of a flat fee and nothing else. We also know that they did not see 25% of the revenue of the product because no game has ever had a budget that high.
 

DrOswald

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shirkbot said:
DrOswald said:
No, it was based on a first hand report from Chris Avellone, the creative director and co-owner of obsidian.

"[Fallout: New Vegas] was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic"

And this is well known, this quote made the rounds on every major gaming news outlet at the time. If you would have gone to the effort of doing even the most basic checking of what I claimed you would know this. Combine this with the also easily available fact (usually cited in the very same articles as the above quote!) that Bethesda made over $300 million in the first month of selling New Vegas you would know that it is impossible that Obsidian ever saw a quarter of even the first months revenue, let alone the earnings of the game over the entire lifetime of the product. (In fact, since the game released on the 19th of the month, it was actually $300 million in less than the first two weeks of the product lifetime.)

It is really hard to have a good faith discussion when people like you instantly dismiss even the most easily verified facts as baseless speculation.
It's even harder when people like you address a single line of an entire argument. I asked in order to verify because your language indicated that you were speculating, nothing more, nothing less. You have confirmed that you were not speculating, and I again apologize for offending you, so we can continue from there.

That said your example remains flawed. New Vegas was developed on a contract which was negotiated and agreed upon by Obsidian and Bethesda that ran no risk of rendering itself, or other games, unusable. Their contract turned out to be less than ideal for them, but they at least had the right to negotiate. They also weren't required to buy Fallout 3 to develop New Vegas, do all the work for free and pay Bethesda for the privilege. If your goal is to have modders be treated like Obsidian then there is going to have to be some representative organization for modders. Someone has to prevent companies from dictating all the terms of business, ensure products aren't going to break laws and/or games, and to act as a mediator in customer/modder disputes. Valve's model can work, and the core of the idea is good, but only if we approach it as something new and only if we're willing to challenge the terms they set.
I brought up New Vegas as a specific example in response to someone elses claims that 25% + development costs is the common case, specifically mentioning obsidian working for Bethesda as an example. I brought it up to directly correct misinformation being spread about the Obsidian New Vegas contract. So no, my example was not flawed.

But here is the real thing. Lets real talk this. Here are my actual problems:

How does this:

"Obsidian got a flat chunk of money for developing New Vegas (probably in the form of X dollars in advance and X dollars on completion of the product, with bonuses in place for certain achievements such as the famous 85 meta critic bonus condition) and a 0% cut of the revenue.... And while we don't know the exact amount of compensation Obsidian received, we can say for sure that it was no where near 25% of the revenue of the product."

indicate speculation? It clearly does not. I spoke in absolutes on the pertinent points. I did not say "we can guess they didn't make 25%" and I didn't say "We think Obsidian got a flat chunk of money." I made plain, absolute statements. But you ignored the actual language of my post so you could push your assumption of speculation, and you worded your response in as dismissive a manner as possible. You didn't ask for a source, you didn't try to confirm what I was saying, you just strait out assumed I was making shit up. If you are going to accuse me of lying I would prefer you state it plainly. I don't appreciate passive aggressiveness, it does nothing but muddle and confuse the argument while building resentment between the sides of this discussion.

And second, if you are going to argue a position in a debate like this it would be a good idea to do your best to learn what is known and fact check before you respond. I don't hold it against you that you did not know about the publicly available details of the New Vegas Obsidian contract. What I do hold against you is that you failed to google "New Vegas Obsidian contract" and then click on the very first link when it became relevant.

This is why it is hard to have a good faith discussion with you. When arguing a point you expect everyone else to do all the legwork. I am not offended, I am exasperated. This is not the first time I have found myself on the opposite of an issue with you. It doesn't actually matter what I say, if I ever make a good argument you will just instantly deflect to a new point. You even did that here, and I didn't even bother to respond to your argument, I just defended my fact from your unfounded accusation of speculation. I only responded to one line of your post because that is exactly how long it took you to completely and unfairly dismiss mine. Disposable points are so ingrained into your method of debate that you do it purely by habit at this point. Debating with you is an exhausting game of whack-a-mole that I have no interest in playing.