Charging for Skyrim Mods Was a Horrendous Idea

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.