Skyrim Mods: Why We Gave It a Shot

skyrim-creationkit-steamworkshop-forblog_v2

Update: After discussion with Valve, and listening to our community, paid mods are being removed from Steam Workshop. Even though we had the best intentions, the feedback has been clear – this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you.

Original Post: We believe mod developers are just that: developers. We love that Valve has given new choice to the community in how they reward them, and want to pass that choice along to our players. We are listening and will make changes as necessary.

We have a long history with modding, dating back to 2002 with The Elder Scrolls Construction Set. It’s our belief that our games become something much more with the promise of making it your own. Even if you never try a mod, the idea you could do anything is at the core of our game experiences. Over the years we have met much resistance to the time and attention we put into making our games heavily moddable. The time and costs involved, plus the legal hurdles, haven’t made it easy. Modding is one of the reasons Oblivion was re-rated from T to M, costing us millions of dollars. While others in the industry went away from it, we pushed more toward it.

We are always looking for new ways to expand modding. Our friends at Valve share many of the same beliefs in mods and created the Steam Workshop with us in 2012 for Skyrim, making it easier than ever to search and download mods. Along with Skyrim Nexus and other sites, our players have many great ways to get mods.

Despite all that, it’s still too small in our eyes. Only 8% of the Skyrim audience has ever used a mod. Less than 1% has ever made one.

In our early discussions regarding Workshop with Valve, they presented data showing the effect paid user content has had on their games, their players, and their modders. All of it hugely positive. They showed, quite clearly, that allowing content creators to make money increased the quality and choice that players had. They asked if we would consider doing the same.

This was in 2012 and we had many questions, but only one demand. It had to be open, not curated like the current models. At every step along the way with mods, we have had many opportunities to step in and control things, and decided not to. We wanted to let our players decide what is good, bad, right, and wrong. We will not pass judgment on what they do. We’re even careful about highlighting a modder on this blog for that very reason.

Three years later and Valve has finally solved the technical and legal hurdles to make such a thing possible, and they should be celebrated for it. It wasn’t easy. They are not forcing us, or any other game, to do it. They are opening a powerful new choice for everyone.

We believe most mods should be free. But we also believe our community wants to reward the very best creators, and that they deserve to be rewarded. We believe the best should be paid for their work and treated like the game developers they are. But again, we don’t think it’s right for us to decide who those creators are or what they create.

We also don’t think we should tell the developer what to charge. That is their decision, and it’s up to the players to decide if that is a good value. We’ve been down similar paths with our own work, and much of this gives us déjà vu from when we made the first DLC: Horse Armor. Horse Armor gave us a start into something new, and it led to us giving better and better value to our players with DLC like Shivering Isles, Point Lookout, Dragonborn and more. We hope modders will do the same.

Opening up a market like this is full of problems. They are all the same problems every software developer faces (support, theft, etc.), and the solutions are the same. Valve has done a great job addressing those, but there will be new ones, and we’re confident those will get solved over time also. If the system shows that it needs curation, we’ll consider it, but we believe that should be a last resort.

There are certainly other ways of supporting modders, through donations and other options. We are in favor of all of them. One doesn’t replace another, and we want the choice to be the community’s. Yet, in just one day, a popular mod developer made more on the Skyrim paid workshop than he made in all the years he asked for donations.

Revenue Sharing

Many have questioned the split of the revenue, and we agree this is where it gets debatable. We’re not suggesting it’s perfect, but we can tell you how it was arrived at.

First Valve gets 30%. This is standard across all digital distributions services and we think Valve deserves this. No debate for us there.

The remaining is split 25% to the modder and 45% to us. We ultimately decide this percentage, not Valve.

Is this the right split? There are valid arguments for it being more, less, or the same. It is the current industry standard, having been successful in both paid and free games. After much consultation and research with Valve, we decided it’s the best place to start.

This is not some money grabbing scheme by us. Even this weekend, when Skyrim was free for all, mod sales represented less than 1% of our Steam revenue.

The percentage conversation is about assigning value in a business relationship. How do we value an open IP license? The active player base and built in audience? The extra years making the game open and developing tools? The original game that gets modded? Even now, at 25% and early sales data, we’re looking at some modders making more money than the studio members whose content is being edited.

We also look outside at how open IP licenses work, with things like Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, where you can publish fan fiction and get about 15-25%, but that’s only an IP license, no content or tools.

The 25% cut has been operating on Steam successfully for years, and it’s currently our best data point. More games are coming to Paid Mods on Steam soon, and many will be at 25%, and many won’t. We’ll figure out over time what feels right for us and our community. If it needs to change, we’ll change it.

The Larger Issue of the Gaming Community and Modding

This is where we are listening, and concerned, the most. Despite seeming to sit outside the community, we are part of it. It is who we are. We don’t come to work, leave and then ‘turn off’. We completely understand the potential long-term implications allowing paid mods could mean. We think most of them are good. Some of them are not good. Some of them could hurt what we have spent so long building. We have just as much invested in it as our players.

Some are concerned that this whole thing is leading to a world where mods are tied to one system, DRM’d and not allowed to be freely accessed. That is the exact opposite of what we stand for. Not only do we want more mods, easier to access, we’re anti-DRM as far as we can be. Most people don’t know, but our very own Skyrim DLC has zero DRM. We shipped Oblivion with no DRM because we didn’t like how it affected the game.

There are things we can control, and things we can’t. Our belief still stands that our community knows best, and they will decide how modding should work. We think it’s important to offer choice where there hasn’t been before.

We will do whatever we need to do to keep our community and our games as healthy as possible. We hope you will do the same.

Bethesda Game Studios

Reader Comments

  1. I appreciate your post. Also you withdrawing what just would not be a good thing. That takes guts. Even by a company such as yourselves. Perhaps if you had posted this first then the reaction would not have been so bad. Also if the cut for mothers was greater then people may have accepted it better.
    If anything this fiasco has made me appreciate modern more and will encourage me to donate some money for their hard work.
    A community survey may be a better way to approach a large change like this. Modders have kept your game alive for years. Even morrowind is still actively played due to mod improvements. Putting a charge on that has just proven to be counter productive.
    I eagerly await your next game and hope this doesn’t discourage you to release modding tools with it

  2. The idea of allowing modders to produce commercial mods isn’t bad, however any commercial mods store would need to be much more curated to keep out scammers/thieves etc. and commercial mods would need to be held to the same standards as any other commercial content, as far as things like quality, support, content, rights ownership etc. are concerned.

    Also: “we’re anti-DRM as far as we can be” – does this mean you’d consider releasing your games at GOG? I’m vehemently anti-DRM so I would greatly like to buy your games DRM-free on GOG; most of your catalogue would be instabuys for me at full price if they were released there.

  3. I’m personally disappointed that Bethesda wasn’t willing to take a stand on this issue. The idea that people are throwing around (a donation button straight to the mod maker) opens the door to modders making a large amount of money by stealing the IP and client base that Bethesda built.

    And now that community, which Bethesda helped to build, is holding Bethesda hostage–forcing them to give away their property or pay the price now and down the line. It’s extortion, and it’s wrong. The 25% split Bethesda gave was very fair, and modders don’t deserve more.

    Bethesda, next time take a stand. There is a quiet majority who supports you.

    • “stealing the IP and client base that Bethesda built.”
      ???
      ??????
      ?????????
      …have you ever PLAYED a game? Do you know what mods ARE?

      Mods, by definition, require the base game. Players who use mods already own the base game, are already part of the client base. Modding EXPANDS the client base, since modding is a valued feature to many, and draws in more customers than if the game did not support mods.

      Mods CAN’T even compete with the developer at all, let alone ‘steal’ customers – unless they’re literally trying to recreate official DLC and sell it somehow, for a lower price. Literally everyone who uses a mod is ALREADY a customer.

      If there were optional donations directly and 100% to the modder, that would entail the modder making money off of the developer’s IP, and you could argue that the devs do deserve some royalties (I’d agree, though I think 45% is too high). But even then, that’s not revenue that ever would’ve gone to the devs anyway. Because it’s not a competing product, nor even a product at all.

      Literally, donations directly to modders can only INCREASE, not decrease, revenue for Bethesda – because modders who get donations are able to do more modding work, making a more vibrant modding community, drawing more customers. And, once again, those customers have to actually pay BethSoft for the base game. The only real question on that end is whether Bethesda also deserves royalties (arguably, yes), and how much.

      “And now that community, which Bethesda helped to build, is holding Bethesda hostage–forcing them to give away their property or pay the price now and down the line.”
      ??????????????????????????????????????????????

      What bloody world do you live in, and what’s going on there? “Give away their property”?????? Removing paid mods means that NO modders are making revenue off of mod sales! If anything, Bethesda just reinstated their right to PREVENT people from selling derivatives of their IP.

    • So, using your example… The man who first created the hammer should have a 45% stake in everything that was created using the hammer?
      Yes, they made the tools… and they built the player-base. It was their choice to make the editor and allow people to mod their games, which has made their Elder Scrolls series very popular and re-playable.
      Taking money from the people who enrich your product and make it more desirable is unethical to say the least.
      Let players donate, be thankful that they want to help your game get a larger community without expecting anything from the company in return.

    • >The 25% split Bethesda gave was very fair, and modders don’t deserve more.

      What incentive do modders have to use a system like this? Put tons of effort into a mod and make maybe a measly $100 per month off of downloads if they’re lucky.

      >(a donation button straight to the mod maker) opens the door to modders making a large amount of money by stealing the IP and client base that Bethesda built.

      Nobody said it had to 100% go to the modder. A 50/25/25 or even 33/33/33 split would be way more fair. When the lion’s share goes to the companies involved, it’s pretty obvious they’re exploiting you for money.

  4. “Is this the right split? There are valid arguments for it being more, less, or the same. It is the current industry standard, having been successful in both paid and free games. ”

    No, it is not a right split nor is it an industry standard. From mod selling perspective the most you can attribute to Bethesda is the tools support that allows creation of mods. Industry standard for that is ranging from 10% to 0%. For example UE4 which includes shipping the engine itself (which is far more than you allow Bethesda) takes 5% royalties. 45% is most definatelly not a standard – its greed.

    • It’s really the existing IP that Bethesda deems worth the 40% here. If Bethesda took out all the IP and offered just the engine and creation tools, then yeah 5% royalties would be more realistic. For a mod that adds a sword to the game, a 25% cut is quite lucrative. It’s the big mods that people hope to see that would deserve a higher percentage, because the cost to develop a AAA quality mod is so much higher.

  5. “Even now, at 25% and early sales data, we’re looking at some modders making more money than the studio members whose content is being edited.”

    Some. That’s how the market works. If you really want to make a place where modders want to come and have a shot at glory, there needs to be actual glory. The studio members might not be making as much as the top modders, but they also have a much more stable and reliable source of income. That’s how being independent works.

    And if a modder is able to make a product that somehow grosses more than said studio members, off of donations or the minimal cut provided alone, then I’ll be damned if they haven’t earned it. It’s just a bit frustrating to see a company that’s now performing the least work take the biggest cut, even if they’re the ones responsible for the tools existing in the first place. And if it’s such a minimal part of the revenue stream for you guys, then isn’t it more worth your while to give the content creators more incentive to create awesome mods that will draw people to your game?

    Anyways, thanks for opening up a channel for discussion, it was nice to see your guys’ side of things.

  6. One the one hand, if every mod was about $2, that would cost me $180 for all the active mods in my modlist, and apparently I use less mods than most users. It’s not a case of whether I’d like to pay, I simply could not afford that. As it is my income allows me one new game ever six to eight months, and never one at new release prices.

    Yes, I could opt for less mods, but in truth the mods are there to make the game enjoyable for me, and without them I don’t have much incentive to play Skyrim.

    On the other hand, modders deserve more than they have been getting so far, even though what was being offered was… in scraps. And that is without taking into consideration the method of payout Valve had set up.

    For many the issue here has been about the mods, but in my case not so much. My initial knee-jerk reaction was “What the hell, that’s a joke.”, and I spent a lot of time surprised that you would take this course of action.

    Backstory time: My first encounter with mods was when I was in school, I had little money of my own, and even less from my parents. If I had been required to pay for mods I would have never bothered looking into them, and as a result I would have never discovered the mod “community”, but also the games those mods were associated with.

    After a few hours of irritation over the paywall I stopped to take some time to think on it. The money split, as I understood it, seemed unbalanced and the payout method outright unfair, and that is without touching on the (unconfirmed?) rumour that the payout only goes as far as the Modder’s steam wallet, implying that Valve ultimately get all of the money anyway.

    In addition to this, if you purchased multiple mods and found them of poor quality (as most of the ones presented were, I have no doubt you have already seen the lengthy imgur post analyzing the quality of the “pioneer” mods), should you request a refund then due to Steam’s refund system you are only able to get a refund on one item, and are then “locked down” for 7 days. Since Steam only allows refunds up to 24 hours after purchase, this effectively means you would have to wait 7 days between mod purchases to avoid being caught in the system and losing your money.

    It’s little things like this that add up, and combined with Steam’s utterly abysmal customer support it was the straw to the camel’s back. For me it was no longer about the mods, I think that under the right circumstances paid mods /could/ be a good thing. I would be unable or unwilling to purchase them, but I could be convinced to support the idea.

    However I do not feel inclined to support your company. By entering into this venture with Valve I feel that you made yourselves complicit in their setup. Perhaps it was merely heavily flawed, but the severe limitations of the refund system, as well as the unfair pay split, abysmal customer support, Newell’s dismissive AMA comments, and most significantly the sudden turning of the various communities upon themselves and their own as a result of this decision have left me with little faith in both Bethesda, Valve, and the mod community in general, and I still believe that the impetus was monetary gain rather than anything else, especially on Valve’s part.

    To support the mod community through donations, you through purchasing your games (primarily the Elder Scrolls series which I am a fan of), or Valve through purchases in the Steam Store would at this point leave me very uncomfortable as I would not only be supporting the severe(ly convienient) flaws in the Steam system, but also condoning the worst behaviour of members within the community.

    Hah.

    I never expected to have a moral dilemma over internet drama or video games. Perhaps it is a sign I need to move on.

    Appologies for the chaotic sentence structure and wordiness, it was a free-flowing train of thought that got away from me. Possibly it is for the best, as I reached almost the exact opposite conclusion than the one intended when I started typing (I’ve tried to clean it up a bit, but it’s still lousy).

  7. Thank you, Bethesda, for listening to the community. It means a lot.
    The idea of paid mods isn’t a bad one, it could work; it just has to be monitored and implemented very carefully. The workshop system was flawed. You can’t just completely overturn a modding community that has been successfully working the way it does for over a decade and expect it to work.

    The workshop itself, it’s nice and all but lets face it, even without the paid mod feature it’s a flawed system. It’s great for people who are new at modding as it’s just a simple matter of pressing the subscribe button, but for those who wish to fully mod their game it’s a disaster (load orders, conflicts, the workshop’s horrible auto-update etcetera). The paid feature would have made it worse as it would have tempted people to limit their mods to the workshop in the hopes of earning some cash.

    There were just too many things that could go wrong, too many important factors that weren’t taken into account.

    If the plan is to give this another go for either TES6 or FO4, PLEASE take advice from the community from the start, and wait until the community has figured out the best way to handle mods for the new game (third party programs etc, it’s impossible to properly play a fully modded Skyrim game without them).

    You’re the geniuses behind the game but when it comes to mods, we know best, and if we work together from the start, instead of doing it hush-hush behind doors between you, Valve and only a handful of popular modders… it CAN be made to work and it could be a success (so long as it remains fully optional).

    For now though, removing the feature was the best call you could make and I thank you for it. I really worried for the future of TES6/FO4, but those worries are eased, at least for now (and they’re back on my planned pre-order list).

    I have a feeling this paid mod feature was going to be part of your big E3 conference and I hope that isn’t ruined now… even so I look forward to see what else you have on the agenda. Fingers crossed for FO4! 😀

  8. I have been a modder of video games for many years. I started with skins for the original Quake series. Currently I have several mods being shared on the Workshop and Nexus. Never once, in over 20 years, did I think of collecting a paycheck for my work. I did it, I do it, because it’s free. The mod community is one of the oldest and most robust on the internet. I’d venture to guess that over half of all game developers in the industry got their start as modders. I firmly believe that if you wish to make a living in games development, then become a game developer. Modding is a terrific method of earning your chops. The moment you make modding non-free, you fragment and wall off a vibrant community that has been dedicated, for many years, to the free sharing of information and resources. It truly has been a case of a rising tide raises all ships. Paid mods drain the water out of this ocean of good will. Valve, Bethesda, and a small, vocal minority of mod authors believe that the modding commmunity can be converted into a business model not unlike smartphone app stores. They are in many ways very different beasts. They cannot be compared. Perhaps if this paid-mods route was taken from the very beginning, but the ship sailed many years ago. I will close with a reiteration. If you wish to make money in games development, become a games developer.

    • The concerns regarding the fragmentation of resources and modding turning into an app store business model are the key reasons why I could never support paid-for-mod content in the ES series.

      Mobile games and ES mods have more in common than most might notice – Small, quick-release content that is regularly updated.

      We’ve already seen that it’s impossible to police and moderate the theft of assets and code created by developers on the App Store, it’s not such a huge deal when that content is freely available anyway but once you put a price tag on it and a mod thief can profit from your hard work I feel it will discourage many people from having a go at creating new mods, I know a lot of indie game developers in my community and at least half of them are completely jaded about how Apple have done absolutely nothing to save the mobile gaming industry from being the clustercluck that it is.

      Paid mods are not wrong – I fully believe that people should be allowed to profit from their own creations – They just won’t work for an ES or Fallout game due to their already well established modding community and history.

    • OK, so paid mods are the doom of modding. Are you guys opposed to Bethesda opening up their IP and game engine for developers and micro-studios to develop high quality content on as a profession?

      If you are against that, then are you also against any studio making any money off of any creation?

  9. Tales of the Paid Tongues

    Mods prices, they did darken the sky,
    Their cost modding’s death, the modders did scry.
    Men screamed and they spammed, they were banned and Valve lied.
    They got called entitled as they issued their cries.
    We need to free ourselves and turn the page.
    Heroes on the field of this new war to wage.
    And if paid mods win, we are gone from this world,
    Lost in the shadow of greed’s wings unfurled.
    But then came we all, on that terrible day.
    Steadfast as winter, we entered the fray.
    And all heard the music of paid mods doom,
    The sweet song of Skyrim, sky-shattering Thu’um.
    And so we freed ourselves from GabeN’s cage,
    Gave the gift of our voice, stopped a dark age.
    And if greed is eternal, then eternity’s done,
    For that story is over and the paid mods are gone.

    Credits: Someone…

  10. This was a half decent idea really badly rolled out.the idea is not bad but the minefield of 1 mod needing another to function, and work being ripped off and the split of only 25% to the mod maker it just did’nt feel fair to me ,45% to bethesda 35% to valve that just felt to me like the 2 school bullys going up to the little kid at lunch time yanking his shorts over his head and stealing his lunch money.do bethesda deserve a percentage you sure do 45% maybe not.like i stated this idea has merit paying some mod authors for there hard work who could say thats not a good idea but like i stated really really really poorly implemented.

  11. I look forward to Zenimax embracing DRM-free gaming and making their products [in some cases once again] available on GOG.com, the ONLY DRM-free game storefront.

  12. The biggest issue is still not being talked about. Everyone is focusing on all the wrong issues.

    The percentage going to the modders is not the real issue.
    Their being paid mods is only a PART of the real issue.

    1. Bethesda games (TES/Fallout) are not modded like games like Countre Strike, DAYZ and GTA. This comparison must be STOPPED.

    Gary’s mod is NOT like a Skyrim mod that adds a SWORD…

    Even a Skyrim total conversion mod will either use resources from other mods or must be made in a way that it is compatible with other mods. This requires ACCESS to how those mods were made and some of the code used. This means modders must be working together, sharing and collaborating with each other. Something not required even a LITTLE by “gary’s mod”…

    This does not happen often in other games outside of the Sims community and also the Mount and Blade community.

    2. Paid mods are not new. They have a long history…and in that long history they have torn large modding communities apart. Modders stop sharing, they stop collaborating and they start working against each other as other mods are then seen as competition.

    The sims 2 community was the single largest community in HISTORY. The game had more mods than Skyrim/Oblivion/and the Fallout games combined. Once several modders started selling their mods and stopped sharing their resources it split the community apart as more and more started doing it…and then the attacks started. Blacklisting leading to groups targeting other modders hosts with tons of complaints getting sites taken down…personal LAWSUITS claiming the stealing of ideas. People taking someone else’s mods and selling them on their own sites…

    The only reason the community survived the madness was due to the Mod the Sims site that stayed free and promoted sharing and collaborations.

    Spore…a game made around the very idea that players would CREATE the majority of the game. EA had a website for the mods with a pay option…and that game was trashed by modders attacking each other to limit competition…mods being reported for “looking” like another claiming ideas were being copied. Needless to say, the game never lived up to its potential.

    It took 1 entire day for the Skyrim community to be hit by this bad idea. The maker of SkyUI, the most popular SKyrim mod in its history announced he wouldn’t support it anymore and was going to be making a pay only version for the future.

    That mod…the single most important mod due to other mods being integrated with it, namely MGM…which so many other mods use to allow their mods to have settings that can be changed by users…and many of those makers then stating they will be making updates to their mods to deliberately NOT work with the future SkyUI.

    Instantly we had a virtual NIGHTMARE for modders and mod users.

    The community had already split, lines were drawn…modders no longer working WITH each other. Even more placing disclaimers on their mods stating they will NOT share their resources with anyone making a pay mod. Again, lines drawn and the entire community taking a hit because that meant even more mods WONT be made because new resources are being held onto instead of being shared.

    You cannot do something like this to a game like Skyrim where a person can actually COMPLAIN about 255 mods allowed to be used at one time being NOT ENOUGH…something you will never hear with the other games this move was being compared to…hell, many of those FPS games don’t even have 250 mods total and those that do use mods for those games rarely use more than a few at a time. This means there is no need for a modding community to be working together so their mods don’t conflict with each other with those games…and paid mods wont affect a thing.

    This was a community issue, an issue that was going to split it.

    It didn’t even have anything to do with people thinking a modder should be allowed to make monoey or not…Nexus has had a donation option for a LONG TIME NOW and who complained about it?!?

    That is what should have been done. Push a DONATION option for Workshop, push the IMPORTANCE of donating because the more money a modder can make, the more mods would be made, it would increase the possibility of bringing in more modders…and it would do no damage at all to the MODDING COMMUNITY working together which is the ONLY REASON WHY THIS COMMUNITY IS AS BIG AS IT IS.

    That, that is the REAL ISSUE. Damage to the MODDER side of the modding community. And the users of mods, many of them know this because they remember what happened to previous games and they don’t want to see this community ripped apart.

    Signed,
    Person that used to think Bethesda understood modding since it made their games so popular.

  13. In reiteration of what others have said, paid mods would have been a good idea, and I agree that your retreat was a bit hasty. I am solely a consumer, but I suspect that it would have increased quality. The scale is probably debatable, but since its not a field I have business knowledge in, you and others have a better idea with regards to it. Having said the aforementioned, I trust that free mods would have still been able to be posted (particularly for smaller, simpler mods).

  14. Steam is a monopoly, Bethesda wants more Money, mods are a good way to score easyle with the yada-yada “live your passion” but need some cuts, less Nexus in the scene for sure.

    lack of solutions + mods = profit. All 2011 and 2012 talk about mods and his importance ends not about passion, they want low cost builders to create a continous DLC inside a Store.

  15. This is really disappointing. Those complaining about the paid mods may be extremely vocal, but they do not represent all of us. Paid mods was a good idea, killed off before it even had a chance.

  16. Yet another “It could have been done, but not like this” post.

    Valve does not understand the intricacies of Skyrim’s modding scene. How could they, when they are used to either cosmetic, plug and play encapsulated mods or full blown total conversions in their own games?

    I think you guys can make a mod market happen, but you can’t get around the need for curation, and you can’t have a flat split of the revenues, because as you know better than anyone, not all mods are equal.

    Some mods are a sword retexture, and some mods are Skyrim HD.
    Some mods are quick data edits of the Iron Sword, and some are SkyRe.

    When you try again with this idea, and I do think you could try again (though probably giving it some time) I feel you should discuss these points with the community.

    And for the love of Talos, don’t use the Steam Workshop for it.

    You could host your own market, and you could make it great.
    Especially with the help of those who have already done so much of a very similar work.

    Talk to the Nexus staff.

  17. Dear Bethesda,

    First and foremost I must say thank you, for being the amazing game studio you are and yor ideals. I greatly admire your anti-DRM policy. Not many companies stay true to who and what they are anymore. But I understand your need for money, as all companies, so that you can keep doing what you love.

    The Xbox 1 month earlier exclusive DLCs you did for Skyrim for instance, is something I understood and supported. Finances isn’t always easy to keep up with and one must earn and save money where one can.

    As for the Paid Mods however, I was a bit sceptical. While I agree that modders, you and Valve should all have a share for the work done, there are a few things that makes me not supportive of it.

    First of all, I think that the modder should have the biggest bit of the cake, followed by you, then Valve. Reason for this is that the modder did create the content. Without him, there would be no mods. You created the tools for the modder, without those, there would be no modder and therefor no possible money to be made. Valve should have their share for of course making a system that is easy to use and works like a trading post between you and the modder, making it easier for both of you to make cash, but taking some for themselves. A fair trading system. Everyone gets their fare share.

    This system is great, but I think the modder should have either 45 or 40% of the money earned, followed by you with then 25 or 30% and then Valve with 30%. I imagine they would be grumpy if they got any less.

    But here’s my personal problem. I heavily mod skyrim. I currently use over 100 mods. And have tested mods ten times that amount. So, let’s create a scenario. If I wanted to test over 1000 mods, even at the lowest price, I would pay around $500-$1000(regional equivelent). That’s not something I am willing to do because(my next point) the “undo” system is heavy and not very flexible. If it was, I would have been much more supportive. Give me 48 hours to test a mod to see if I enjoy it. If I do not cancel it within that timer, then it is bought. If I do not enjoy it, make it as simple as to push a button and it will be removed. Even with my current 100’ish mods, I would have to pay between $50-$100. It is quite a bit of money.

    An additional problem is the possibility of where this would be going. Will all mods be paid for in the future? Who will oversee that no mods are falsely advertising, or stealing other’s mod? And who will pay for them?

    Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to share my opinion on the matter.

    TLDR; Give more money to the modder and make a better and flexible refund system.

    Kind regards,

  18. I have a question, if you don’t mind: if you are so anti-DRM, then why aren’t you releasing your games on GOG?

    You actually removed Fallout series from their storefront after you’ve finished all the court drama.

    I think people would respect you more not only because of removing paid mod functionality, but also if you guys would stop being such posers and release you games ACTUALLY DRM-free on GOG or Humble. “We are anti-DRM as far as we could be…”. No, you are not! Writing such stuff just makes you a poser company…
    Ok, I am sorry, I should not have said that.
    But, please, back up your words. Release your games DRM-free on appropriate storefronts. That would get you COSMIC ammount of costumer’s love and respect.
    Love you, guys.
    Best regards.

  19. I want to first start by saying thanks for having this post open to respond to. Second I just want to say I am sorry for all the hate you received in the last few days. That type of conduct isn’t called for and it makes me feel bad that it came from a community I belong to.

    third your timing sucks. If this came out before Valve opened their paid mods to the public a lot less people would have been as upset as they were. Miss communication is the center of all bad relationships. But that is something I can forgive, after all you are a big corporation and wheels need to turn to get anything done.

    fourth I use mods and I am trying to get in to making them. I am personally ok with people asking for money for making mods but I believe the community needs to go the patreon rout before your idea was implemented. It is not your fault but the communities.

    The community needs to step in and prove to the mod creators that they are ready for paid mods on the scale Valve tried. On patreon you can chose if you have a pay wall or not. On patreon you can chose if people can use your stuff openly or not if you want. What we need is mod creators to go the patreon rout and make their products the way they want and find out what lives in the community and what dies. In other words the community needs to evolve to accept paid mods and paid mod authors. We need to find the model that works for the community, and it is something the community needs to do on its own.

    I completely believe that one of the mod authors got more money in one day then they got in all the time they asked for donations. The same can be said about Youtubers and they see an increase when they go to patreon that is why so many are on or looking to get on patreon. It is a middle step to what you were trying to do.

    I believe in time that this will be considered a miss step on the journey towards supporting mod creators and not the end of it. But the community needs to evolve to meet the expectation.

    I would like to say more but damn this is long as it is. Thank you if you have gotten to the end and have a good one.

  20. Hey Bethesda, I know you weren’t trying to do any harm here, and I really do appreciate the openness you’ve built into your games, going as far as distributing your tools to make sure your games have robust mod support. I actually own every Gamebryo/Netimmerse based game you’ve published since Morrowind! Keep up the good work!

    Now, on the subject of the steamworks mess, I really think it could work with a slight tweak. The modding community is similar to the open source software community, we do what we do because we love doing it, and don’t expect to be compensated. However, donations are okay, since they’re entirely voluntary and don’t change how the software (or mod, in this case) is distributed. It’s a small but important distinction.

    If the model was donation based or pay-what-you-want with no minimum, I think everybody would be happy with that; It’d weed out the cash-grabbing reuploaders since they’d be called out on it, great modders could still be compensated, and you could still split some of the donation off as royalty. It’s a win/win.

    Best of wishes,

    -Brendan P

  21. I’m really disappointed in how this turned out. Yes Bethesda reached out to a few well known mod authors but they basically ignored the larger modding community. A few stories and polls like “Where do you get your mods from?” or “If you where to pay for a quality mod how much would you?” would have let you test the waters and let the community have some say. This feels more like you guys didn’t get any input from the fans of their games. It would have been so much better if Bethesda had partnered with a dedicated modding site like say the Nexus Network. Nexus already has a great reputation with mod authors and users, with a donation system already in place, not keeping a penny. A 50/50 split would have been much more favorably looked at and both would get more money. All Bethesda would have to do then is run a small story featuring any new high quality mods. Getting highlighted would have been seen as a badge of honor and would turn into a competition much as being included in the G.E.M.S(Game-play Enhancement Mods for Skyrim) mod pack is now. Get the community involved in the hype instead of handing it over to third party. Hell I bet Gopher who does all the Skyrim mod reviews or Dark0ne would be giddy to work with Bethesda on this officially.

  22. I think that you should have talked more with the community about this beforehand. Since the community itself would play such a big part in this the usual silent treatment was not the way to go. Now everything came off in the wrong way. Allowing modders who spend so much of their free time to bring out content to make some monney on it is a noble cause and I hope you can revise your plans a bit and come upp with something that won’t have this backlash.

  23. Whos idea was it for paid mods? dont you know the modding community is an extra bonus for the game? where fans make stuff?
    people who love the game?
    Do you guys need money?(45% cut lol , why came up with that?) Is the elder scrolls online a sinking ship? and then you figured you need to get money somehwere , so you went to your biggest succes game?
    Also has the person(s) who came up with it been hanged yet?
    They/he/she is like a guard with a story how they shot them selves in the leg.
    Loled at all those new negative reviews .xDD

    In a serious note tho , paying for mods is .. its like , a immediate negative opinion about the game.Iff i want to trow away money ill go play Elder scrolls online. You do know the first games and their mods were made from love of the game.
    Games is love , games is live , dont make it go ogre.

    Again ,are the people responsible for this idea punished?
    Because your previously good name , has been corrupted by this whole thing… on the internet ,so basuiicly for ever now

    bye, have a good day 😀

  24. The fact that all the rampant piracy was going around with others mods was bad. Real bad, and that is something that Steam CANNOT take a hands off approach on. When it comes to plagerism, they NEED to help support the mod developers.

    As for modders asking for a price, I say go for it. If they’re charging too much, then you DON’T have to buy it. Simple as that. And if your already pirating games and mods, than your a horrible person anyways. If mod makers want to charge, allow it. If they don’t and want to go on a donation model, allow it. Give the modders that choice though. The way Steam rushed right into it with no warning, no heads up, and no real support for modders was bad, but I think the worse thing is all the people who want all their mods for free just because it’s been that way for as long as they can remember. Guess what, change can be good, and yes, there are plenty of good examples of mods becoming something a lot more.

    tl;dr, paid mods are good, implementation was bad.

  25. The best news is that you’ve listened to players and modders on the issue. In my opinion:

    Experiment with a paid mod system in a new title to have a construction set instead of a tenured scene like Skyrim’s modding community. New game, new rules, new opportunities for content authors. Seed the marketplace similar to the way you started with the one on Steam, but allow an open sign-up and selection for people to seed the market before opening it. An open sign up gives creators more of an equal opportunity to jump instead of some secret Non-disclosed agreement with pre-selected people. A mod marketplace didn’t have to be a big secret.

    I think its a bad idea to limit people selling mods only to Steam. I understand the implications, but having an official out-of-steam storefront, or extending to Nexus and other providers the ability to sell mods would be huge. Many people don’t want to distribute their mods in Steam while many people do; a secondary outlet is important and essential for competition and growth.

    Mod Resources should also be salable, much like assets for other SDKs like UDK or Unity. If mods can be sold, lets give asset creators an opportunity to earn by creating a premium asset supply.

    At least 60% to mod authors 70% to asset creators, with service providers like Nexus getting 5% from the mod authors cut if desired. 20% to Valve 20% for you. The reward here isn’t just the investment of time to make a mod, but being a content author in the first place. This would be different if you were providing a F2P platform or similar, where people don’t have to go out and purchase a $60 game + official DLC to create content. On top of that, giving a desired service provider a cut is a personal decision made by the mod author and should rightly come from their revenue stream rather than the marketplaces or Bethesdas.

    Restrict in-mod advertisement to zero. i.e. no premium mod versions advertised in a limited free version. Would probably be good as a bannable offense in the marketplace imo.

    These are just some of my opinions on things that could be considered, and I’m sure there are plenty of things I didn’t cover. The goal is to get the aspect of selling mods as a win/win situation for people involved.

  26. I’m incredibly saddened to see this go down this way.

    I grew up with Daggerfall, Morrowind, and Oblivion, I fell in love with the music you made (oversnow still gives me chills), and I’ve been trying to find a niche for my work. It seemed like my moment had come. I was looking forward to studying your compositions further and trying to fit my style to your setting. I was looking through stacks of modders for potential partners, getting back into a game I had shelved for lack of time.

    No go. All destroyed by this sense of entitlement, by the idea that people actually trying to capitalize on their work (oogabooga capitalism!) is somehow morally repugnant, while people that run successful donation campaigns run just as much advertisement and use even more social engineering to capitalize on guilt. By people using hypothetical lawyer-specters to run moral panic on a market your own team no doubt spent months or years planning and researching to find every last possible liability that could threaten your community and thusly your business. Meanwhile most if not all of the people opposing this action have no ambition to run their own business, and no doubt feel that it’s perfectly acceptable to buy their groceries from retailers rather than taking fruit off the vine, occasionally donating to farmers as their ethical code seems to demand. Oh, but only if they need it to make better peaches or hire another programmer or catch a flight to San Francisco to rescue their niece from an abusive family.

    I guess people prefer panhandling to a distribution method that enforces honesty. I’m sorry that it’s now seen as acceptable to use intimidation tactics to destroy explorations in ethical business. I feel betrayed especially by the people using the bludgeon of ‘the community,’ rallied together using confusion and poorly researched scares, when I have enjoyed your games for so long, and when my ‘dayjob’ is hell-bent on destroying me with no recourse but to find another, no doubt equally as abusive to my physical health at my pay level.

  27. My opinion is that the primary mistake – really, the only mistake – was the split. A 25% cut for mod authors, who are doing all of the work, is insulting. It’s pocket change. Both your company and Steam (who incurs almost no cost and minimal risk) benefit tremendously from a mod community in increased sales of the game itself as well as in sales of game DLC (which many mods require) – *that* is your cut.

    If you need proof, you need only look at Doom. 20 years after it’s release, Doom, it’s sequel, and even its expansion packs continue to get discussed and continue to sell far more than any other PC game of the time period. Why? Because it has an enormous and still active modding community that continues to support it 20 years later.

    I hardly need to tell you this. You’re a for-profit company, and easily the biggest supporters of mods in the industry, which I’m grateful for. You know the value of mods already.

    My point is that the 25% cut is difficult to support. At the minimum, my view is that a 50% cut is well within reason considering the mod authors are effectively putting in 100% of the development work.

    But what I’d suggest instead is taking a leaf out of the success of the Humble Bundle – you’ve already allowed pay what you want, but you and Steam should also allow users to choose the split between Steam, Bethesda, and the mod authors. This is a system that’s been tremendously successful for the Humble Bundles, to the point that even AAA developers have made use of it, and it’s a system that’s fair to everyone by allowing users to make choices about where their money goes. I think most users would be generous and appreciative of the support of Steam and your company for the mod community and give you both considerable cut of their own volition.

  28. Definitely.

    Claiming to be ‘DRM-free’ while exclusively using a DRM platform (i.e. Steam) is…disingenuous at best.

  29. While I think your willingness to listen is a large reason you have such a loyal and incredible fan base, in this case you may have misheard the message in all the noise…people often say one thing when they really mean another. I believe the reason a majority of your fans (myself included) were so upset about the introduction of paid modding was the terrible way you introduced us to it. Without the well thought out justifications you have now given us, most of use just assumed the worst. Without time to come to terms with this new concept must of us were jarred; leading to psychological discomfort and anger. Without warning, seeing our favorite mods resurface with new features, but locked away behind a payment was frustrating. Without time before implementation to discuss the new system in an open forum, we felt ignored and trivialized.

    All the secrecy was stupid. All the silence was stupid. The idea was not.

    Yes, there are a lot of issues with the system you and Valve implemented for payed mods, but there are also a lot of good things payed mods could bring to our community. The more level headed among us already realized this and the rest of us are finally beginning to cool down and realize that truth.

    You were almost on the brink of weathering out the cluster-fuck of a storm you created with your bad PR, we were almost at a point where we could have a civil discussion, Valve was just beginning to implement changes to make the store work; giving up now was just plain foolish.

    • I should add: Still I respect your decision; I doubt it was an easy one to make. For all your flaws you guys are a fantastic studio and publisher. Thank you for continuing to support the modding community.

  30. PRO TIP: Leak something on the new project and this will all go away before you finish leaking.

    For real though, I am a huge BGS fan (Only games I play anymore, I am old)and this whole paid mods deal didn’t really get my panties too bunched up. I don’t mind paying for what I enjoy at all if the appropriate people are getting my money. I will let you guys hash out and figure out what the appropriate %’s should be. Hats off for trying something new and then again for listening to the community.

    To the loudest 1% of the community: The loudest of you screaming anytime paying for something is brought up is getting downright annoying. Go cut some lawns, wash some cars, and upgrade that POS 2007 hand-me-down laptop you still try to play games on. Please, the bitching about money has got to stop. If you can’t afford your hobby, maybe you should take a break, get productive, and focus on getting to a point where you can. #whatswrongwithamerica

    Yeah, I hashtagged. Big Whoop, wanna fight about it?

  31. @Marek Andreansky Really? Forcing a mod creator to not use the donation button? I must have missed that, so let me go thru the messages in my inbox again. Because I thought I could still use one of those….

  32. Even though it could be considered unfair to some modders, I would say that when you consider paid mods in the future, do so with the distinction between content and game improvements.

    Content is, as you would expect, something that adds to your game in the form of additional activities the player can undertake to extend their playtime. E.g. new skins, new quests, new animations.

    Game improvements, however, introduce elements that make playing the game easier. E.g. a user interface improvement, bug fixes.

    Anything that falls under the game improvement category should not be monetized. This is something that many could argue would be Bethesda’s responsibility. However, players have shown enough dedication to put forth the effort to introduce these improvements and everyone should benefit from them. A true display of good will would be for Bethesda to endorse game improvement mods by introducing them as free patches and perhaps giving some compensation to the authors of these mods.

  33. In the end neither Valve or Bethesta truly understands the problem. For the moment we have won the battle and this horrible system was shut down. But who knows what happens in the future.
    Valve addressed the issue and in so doing they made it clear they had no clue (or did not care). Bethesta is little bit better. But they still live in (pardon the pun) Oblivion.

    Very little (if any) mentioning about the quality control issue. QA is something Valve know nothing of. Or maybe they pretend to know nothing. Who can say? The thing is that it does not exist. They can not even curate their store. Gems are mixed in a flood of BS so why would anything else happen to the mods?

    Absolutly nothing about the consumer protection (which was horrible). The short 24 hour refund window is quite the thing. Speaking of refund. As soon as Valve have their grubby little “hands” on the money, the consumer will never see them again. The so called refund are little more than coupons in the store. The money itself never ever leave Valve’s control. Also, in what world is 24 hours enough to truly know IF and HOW a potential problem may occure in a mod. Or even a string of mods. Anything less than 6 months “no question” true refund (to YOUR bank account) is out of the question.
    But then Valve is hardly known for their good customer support.

    Very weak and fluffy arguments about the “revenue Sharing”.
    On this I have to add something which neither Valve or Bethesta cared to even talk about:

    Mods are the single most important reason for extending the lifespan of computer games (which have mod support). Mods vastly increase public exposure since they (most of the time) improve the game. All this means free marketing and more sales plus good will (which can even improve sales of later game titles).
    All this translates into money. So the IP owner is allready compensated. Anything above this would simply be greed for its own sake.

    After all, despite owning the game, mod tools and assets, the actual mods are like youtube videos: Transformative. The IP owner have not done anything in order to make the mod come into existance. So why should the IP owner be even more compensated?
    Any split different from (at the very minimum) 2/3 (66%) of the money to the mod creator would be an insult (to both consumer & mod creator). In the best of worlds I would actually say that 85% to the mod creator is a more fair split.

    The moment you release a mod tool for free you must accept that you will loose control (to some extent). At least as long as the mods are free. The moment money, the temptation of money, is on the table many thing turns to shit. Some mod creators would probably risen to the challange. But out of how many?

    There are a large number of problems whith this. Issues which easily could have been resolved if Valve (or Bethesta in this case) would have talked TO the community. Not OVER or ABOUT them. In fact this whole thing have been so poorly done one wonders if there existed other motives. The easiest answer is: it was only a question of badly planned greed, which all parties tried to make as if they did everybody a favour.

    At the moment we see alot of back paddeling. Alot of nice words to sooth the “masses” so to speak. But in doing so it is revealed that nothing has been learned – truly learned – from all this. The sensitive things are simply swept under the rug.

    Until the next poorly executed idea…

  34. Thank you Bethesda for listening to the community. I know it must not have been easy making the decision to admit your mistake, but it makes me respect you as a company that much more.
    I will definitely continue being one of your customers in the future.

  35. Quoting Dan “THANK YOU for listening! I still won’t be supporting the mod authors who cashed in on this, they’ve destroyed every scrap of goodwill I had toward them, but the fact that Bethesda is willing to accept that they were wrong to implement this system is a fantastic sign, and is much appreciated.”

    @Dan

    Really??? how many mod authors HAVE you supported? Have you ever donated one red cent to any mod author? Do you think any of them care about your “Goodwill” Does that put food on their table? Im not one of the mod authors that “Cashed in on this” But I AM a mod author that people constantly beg to work on mods again and get back into the scene, but answer me this. Why would i want to? When little people like you see absolutely no value in our work why should ANY modder give their time to create things for people like you that are only interested in what they can get for free?
    Answer

    They shouldn’t. IF i had some chance to be compensated for my time i would probably quit my job and go full time into putting out kickass content for people because i have already been successful at it and know i could do well. but i have so many better things i can do with my time then working for free for a bunch of ingrates. And i have no doubt many many modders feel the same. So enjoy your free crap as live ignorant of what you could have had.

  36. I understand the concept behind paid mods, and can see the advantages it could pose over free mods, especially in giving modders greater incentive to bring ever higher quality content to the table, but to take 45% of the profits is unacceptable.

    Granted you have developed the vanilla game and it’s DLC, wonderful game that it is, but modding content you have not had a hand in, besides the start up costs of the mod creation kit. Modding has brought swathes of fans, and therefore profit, I know because I am one. I bought Skyrim and all it’s DLC on Xbox on release before rebuying it all on PC a year later because I wanted to experience the game with mods. Thats £100 from just one person, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this situation.

    Profit from mods should be almost entirely given to the modder, since they are the one who has put in the work to add to your game. 45% of all profit for doing nothing at all is frankly ridiculous, and insulting to the modders themselves. And 25% to Valve I also think is far too much for just being a base to host it on. It’s already worth $2 Billion as a company, I’m sure it doesn’t need to take a quarter of a single persons profit as well.

    Now, I know very little about making mods, and very little of your business model, but I know what’s fair and what isn’t. This may not have been a money grabbing scheme on your part,I honestly doubt it is due to the time it’s taken for this to be attempted, but the execution was off. Modding profit should go to the modders, if you really do want to expand/care for the community like you say. People seem to be clamouring for a donate button, which would probabaly work. I donate on the SkyrimNexus because it goes exclusively to the modder, as far as I’m concerned Bethesda shouldn’t get any more of my money until Fallout 4, since I’ve already spent £100 for the right to play your game.

    I love your company, so thank you for listening to us, and I look forward to your continued quality support and attention to your community.

  37. The biggest issue is still not being talked about. Everyone is focusing on all the wrong issues.

    The percentage going to the modders is not the real issue.
    Their being paid mods is only a PART of the real issue.

    1. Bethesda games (TES/Fallout) are not modded like games like Countre Strike, DAYZ and GTA. This comparison must be STOPPED.

    Gary’s mod is NOT like a Skyrim mod that adds a SWORD…

    Even a Skyrim total conversion mod will either use resources from other mods or must be made in a way that it is compatible with other mods. This requires ACCESS to how those mods were made and some of the code used. This means modders must be working together, sharing and collaborating with each other. Something not required even a LITTLE by “gary’s mod”…

    This does not happen often in other games outside of the Sims community and also the Mount and Blade community.

    2. Paid mods are not new. They have a long history…and in that long history they have torn large modding communities apart. Modders stop sharing, they stop collaborating and they start working against each other as other mods are then seen as competition.

    The sims 2 community was the single largest community in HISTORY. The game had more mods than Skyrim/Oblivion/and the Fallout games combined. Once several modders started selling their mods and stopped sharing their resources it split the community apart as more and more started doing it…and then the attacks started. Blacklisting leading to groups targeting other modders hosts with tons of complaints getting sites taken down…personal LAWSUITS claiming the stealing of ideas. People taking someone else’s mods and selling them on their own sites…

    The only reason the community survived the madness was due to the Mod the Sims site that stayed free and promoted sharing and collaborations.

    Spore…a game made around the very idea that players would CREATE the majority of the game. EA had a website for the mods with a pay option…and that game was trashed by modders attacking each other to limit competition…mods being reported for “looking” like another claiming ideas were being copied. Needless to say, the game never lived up to its potential.

    It took 1 entire day for the Skyrim community to be hit by this bad idea. The maker of SkyUI, the most popular SKyrim mod in its history announced he wouldn’t support it anymore and was going to be making a pay only version for the future.

    That mod…the single most important mod due to other mods being integrated with it, namely MCM…which so many other mods use to allow their mods to have settings that can be changed by user…had many of those makers then stating they will be making updates to their mods to deliberately NOT work with the future SkyUI.

    Instantly we had a virtual NIGHTMARE for modders and mod users.

    The community had already split, lines were drawn…modders no longer working WITH each other. Even more placing disclaimers on their mods stating they will NOT share their resources with anyone making a pay mod. Again, lines drawn and the entire community taking a hit because that meant even more mods WONT be made because new resources are being held onto instead of being shared.

    You cannot do something like this to a game like Skyrim where a person can actually COMPLAIN about 255 mods to be used at one time was NOT ENOUGH…something you will never hear with the other games this move was being compared to…heck, many of those FPS games don’t even have 250 mods total and those that do use mods for those games rarely use more than a few at a time. This means there is no need for a modding community to be working together so their mods don’t conflict with each other with those games…and paid mods wont affect a thing in those communities since they don’t require modders to work together.

    This here, was a community issue, an issue that was going to split it.

    It didn’t even have anything to do with people thinking a modder should be allowed to make monoey or not…Nexus has had a donation option for a LONG TIME NOW and who complained about it?!?

    That is what should have been done. Push a DONATION option for Workshop, push the IMPORTANCE of donating because the more money a modder can make, the more mods would be made, it would increase the possibility of bringing in more modders…and it would do no damage at all to the MODDING COMMUNITY working together which is the ONLY REASON WHY THIS COMMUNITY IS AS BIG AS IT IS.

    That, that is the REAL ISSUE. Damage to the MODDER side of the modding community. And the users of mods, many of them know this because they remember what happened to previous games and they don’t want to see this community ripped apart.

    Signed,
    Person that used to think Bethesda understood modding since it made their games so popular.

  38. I’m really disappointed that this community is so closed minded and negative they wouldn’t even give this a shot. I had some really awesome ideas for mods and I know a friend who was going to make some mods to help fund his indie game rather then do EA or kickstarter. I feel like we’ve been shafted. I understand peoples concerns, but are we really the only ones that had any faith in Bethesda? I kinda don’t want to be a part of a community that is so eager and willing to turn so viciously on a development company that has given all of us so many hours of entertainment and joy.

    I hope at some point Bethesda you will try this again, I think it was a good idea that could have created a great opportunity to a lot of us.

    • Read my post above yours.

      Some of us actually know better due to what has happened in the past which was backed up by the split between MODDERS after the very first day of this announcement.

      This was the worst thing Bethesda could have done to this modding community for the MODDERS themselves and even worse for the community of mod users.

      Read my post…gain perspective.

  39. Truth be told, i agree its doable. But it would have to be an entirely different system.

    For one what i disagreed the most was with the refund system. You never know if a mod is any good until after you tested it, so paying upfront is too risky and the refund did nothing to help with that. Sure if the mod is incompatible with something else or if you have trouble installing it it’s possible to get the refund in 24 hours, but the big mods, the ones people would actually spend money on, take much more than that to test.

    Take for instance Interesting NPCs. It took a dedicated week for me to do “everything” there is to do in that mod alone, and i say “everything” because due to multiple endings to quest i haven’t seen everything even two years later. Pretty swords are one thing, massive content creators are another entirely, and will never be done in 24 hours.

    My suggestion would be to let people install and use the mod for free, and after a set amount of in-game time with the mod on there would be a reminder to pay or uninstall (and the uninstall could be automatic, not some “trust the player to do it himself” thing). Or if the person goes past the free-trial period any further Steam purchases would be locked until payment.

    Because seriously, paying upfront for material of dubious quality is something i would never do. And that’s what mods (unofficial downloadable content) are: Material of dubious quality.

    Another issue that might require a special approach is prerequisite mods. Many mods require other mods as prerequisites, and i can see this creating issues with Intellectual property.

    And one last point: I am not convinced that Bethesda should have a cut of the mod’s payment. Sure you created the game and that’s great, but you were already paid for that. Taking a percentage of the mod’s price feels like being charged twice for a service, not to mention that Bethesda would be charging for something that benefits it anyway. I, for instance, only bought Hearthfire because some mods i wanted require it. I couldn’t care less about The Sims, Tamriel Edition, but Fight the Thalmor and Realistic Inns are things i really wanted and they require HF.

    In other words: You’d be charging twice and benefiting twice for providing a single service. Even should Bethesda have a cut, it would fell wrong and unfair for it to be any bigger than that of the developer. 30-35-35 would be much more equitable and agreeable with, and as a bonus it would be much harder for anyone to accuse the monetization of mods of being a money-grabbing move.
    In fact, since its less than 1%, it would be a very symbolic move to give all your share to the modders. If not for the betterment of the community, then for PR.

  40. There are still questions…

    “[Valve came to us] in 2012 and we had many questions, but only one demand. It had to be open, not curated like the current models. At every step along the way with mods, we have had many opportunities to step in and control things, and decided not to. We wanted to let our players decide what is good, bad, right, and wrong.”

    Was this not already the system in place? What are people paying money for if the actual system doesn’t differ from the free model? How were players supposed to tell good from bad or right from wrong when the only information was a description written by the mod author?

    “We believe most mods should be free. But we also believe our community wants to reward the very best creators, and that they deserve to be rewarded. We believe the best should be paid for their work and treated like the game developers they are. But again, we don’t think it’s right for us to decide who those creators are or what they create.”

    How can anyone reward the best if they have to pay for it before they know if it’s any good? How can players decide something is good value if they have to buy it first and can’t get a proper refund if it isn’t?

    “There are certainly other ways of supporting modders, through donations and other options. We are in favor of all of them. One doesn’t replace another, and we want the choice to be the community’s.”

    How can the community choose if mods are only available by paying for them in the Steam Workshop?

    “The remaining is split 25% to the modder and 45% to us. We ultimately decide this percentage, not Valve.”

    Doesn’t such a small cut of the money promote small, cheap, quick mods? If, as Valve claim, one main goal was “to allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to”, how would this be “allowed” if there was no money coming in until after the mod was released?

    (and on that note, what is the “better support” you’re providing in this scenario that is the other goal? And what is the path from Skyrim mod to fully blown product?)

    “There are things we can control, and things we can’t. Our belief still stands that our community knows best, and they will decide how modding should work. We think it’s important to offer choice where there hasn’t been before.”

    Why didn’t you ask the community during the 3 years it took Valve to remove the “barriers” to a completely un-managed mod marketplace? Is ‘keep using the old mod, or pay for a stripped down version because it can’t use borrowed assets’ an actual choice people could have?

    Why is it that SKSE, SkyUI, FNIS and the Unofficial Patches are all but required to fix Skyrim? Why did you think the solution to rewarding the developers of those mods was to get the players to cough up more cash on top of that paid for an incomplete product?

    • Thanks for all the feedback.

      “Was this not already the system in place? What are people paying money for if the actual system doesn’t differ from the free model? How were players supposed to tell good from bad or right from wrong when the only information was a description written by the mod author? ”

      The idea there — like the free model — would be that the very best models would be the ones that were elevated in the rankings.

      • I am noticing a pattern where Bethesda is only responding to people addressing the same small issue of Pay mod, and not the issues actually being brought up by the modders themselves about the modding community and how its effected directly.

        This is making the modding community doubt Bethesda and their knowledge of how modding communities work.

      • That was more in reference to the period in the queue before being released, but even after then, you’re requiring that someone will have to buy bad mods to find out they’re bad. And they will never get that money back.

  41. I do agree that there should be a professional modding seen. For the people who wish to mod on a full-time basis. The revenue split were not make this possible and it’s counter to fostering a professional seen. Bethesda and any other studio or publisher have to remove some barriers. First; the perception that moding only “a hobby.” Second; a concerted effort by the industry working with the modders to promote this idea and education eventually make it a reality. Third; technological infrastructure has to be a place and supported by studios/publishers. Fourth; legal infrastructure and guidance for modders. Finally; it’s going to be a uphill battle to get this except by everybody but it will succeed eventually. Got to keep pressing on.

    More thoughts on this:

    https://forums.uberent.com/threads/what-if-professional-studios-created-content-for-pa.67054/

    https://forums.uberent.com/threads/mod-code-licensing.49634/#post-861894

    Some other discussions:

    https://forums.uberent.com/threads/monetizing-mods.45957/

    https://forums.uberent.com/threads/discussion-ubers-plans-for-modding-1-0-and-beyond.62147/page-2#post-966332

    Thank you,

    lokiCML

  42. Just to make sure it doesn’t go unsaid. I noticed that some of your statistics were pulled from the over all Skyrim community, or at least that’s the way it comes across. I don’t think it helps us have a conversation about mods and the future therein, if we use umbrella statistics involving users who have no access to mods (ie. console players). I do feel that console players are an important part of the overall community, but are not relevant to a conversation about mods, at this time. That said, I’m not saying that there isn’t room for us to re-examine the potential of paid mods, but that this case was handled very poorly. The difficult issue here, is also that it feels like the entirety of gaming has become so overwhelmingly monetized in recent years, and that monetization stretching into such an expansive arena that has always been free does leave a sour taste in ones mouth.

    In the case of mods for such large games as Skyrim, Fallout ect. there is going to need to be a considerable amount of conversation before we find the right way to allow modders the ability to make a career of modding, as we would need a system that would allow, not only the the mod maker to make a fair portion of the earnings based upon effort and quality, but also protect the end user, long term, not only from unscrupulous individuals, but also the technical pitfalls that can come with adding mods to your game.

    There are just too many variables in this case and the system that we just saw come to an end almost as quickly as it started, showed little or no consideration of those variables.

    If you want to grow our community in a healthy way, you wont be able to do it by making decisions and expecting everyone to just go along with them, you will need to get down in the dirt and talk with us so we can all come to a decision on what shape our community should take. That doesn’t mean talking to ever single person creating and using mods, but I would encourage you guys to reach out to the guys at nexus first and foremost before making ANY decision that would effect the modding community. No disrespect to valve, but the workshop is not a really any modders go to hub for distribution, nor is it where most knowledgeable mod users go to download mods.

    In summary, I do want to believe that you guys have the best intentions, but you need to really delve more into your community before making such far reaching decisions.

    Thanks

  43. I just tried typing out a bunch of different comments to express how I feel about this. But I guess what I have to say is, without getting into the whole paywall thing, is this: I respect Bethesda way more after this post. I really appreciate the fact that they respect and listen to their community in such a way, and continue to release and support SDKs for their games in a time of DRMs and overpriced DLC.

    So, thank you, Bethesda.

  44. First, it’s disingenuous to say that the intent wasn’t to monetize mods and player created content. Businesses exist to make money and that’s not some evil crime, it’s how they make the next set of goods to sell us next time. That’s alright and it’s not a terrible thing to admit.

    Can you appreciate that taking player made content and saying that us paying Bethesda/Valve $0.75 for the *opportunity* to give the actual mod creator $0.25 isn’t going to sit well though?

    This community wouldn’t exist in the size and investment it does if we didn’t love the games Bethesda makes. I’ve got over 1400 hours into Skyrim – that’s almost 2 months of 24/7, which is more time than most marriages in the entertainment industry lasts. Please don’t think that this is representative of us begrudging Bethesda their well deserved remuneration. The modding community hates piracy as a given rule.

    However single player games and modding is a whole other animal from multiplayer game modding. In the MP games that Valve has monetized modding on before, other players are the actual content. Their communities are built around playing with/against each other. Mods in that environment are nothing but frosting, their presence or absence has a minimal impact the overall game experience.

    In a game like Skyrim though that modded content *is* the only content. Making and sharing and discussing modded content IS our community. I may have barely broke 100 hours on Skyrim without mods. That’s great but it’s about 1350 hours short of what I’ve played due to mods. I’ve probably loaded, tried and gone through about 1,000 mods. Only a handful were hugely impactful but it’s all part of the tapestry and the fun.

    That environment changes significantly when you put money in the mix. Suddenly mods are not ‘that looks fun I’ll try it but’ ‘how much money is that worth’.

    It changes the modders, who were peers of the community, into merchants trying to sell me a good. It puts them in competition with each other and turns a community built on sharing and cooperation into a marketplace. A place where one is sold something is not the same as a place you gather with fellow enthusiasts.

    We need a way to reward and promote great modders. Some official form of patronage where the money involved is unseen (though Bethesda/Valve) gets their cut is great. Paying for ‘early access’ to mods to get updates 30/60 days early is something worth paying a buck or two for and at that point I’m paying to support the development of a mod, not buying a product.

    Which is the biggest issue. Turning that 1,350 hours of playtime that modding extended my enjoyment of Skyrim into a product I have to pay Bethesda, Valve and a swath of amateur modders something to the tune of $500 to $1,000 for….

    Yeah. That’s what made the outrage. If it’d been a market community from the outset it never would have grown to be what it is. If ARMA or any of the other communities that spawned things like DayZ, Dota or the like had been paid communities would they have been large enough or vibrant enough to have actually spawned them? Probably not.

  45. Just heard about all this. Oh boy was this a crap-storm of epic proportion. Pitfalls everywhere you look.

    #1 – The Skyrim community is an established community built on Oblivion which was built on Morrowind. Had Skyrim been released without the prior games, it would most-definitely NOT have such a huge mod base. Why? Because the “SDK” you get is for creating .ESP plugins…that’s it. There were no .NIF import/export tools provided. Those tools were built by the community through years of reverse-engineering the NIF format and figuring out how to “edit” NIF files and then later how to create them from scratch for use in exporters for Blender and then 3DS Max so you could make your own models and animations.

    #2 – What about those individuals that figure this stuff out and create tutorials for hundreds and thousands of modders to follow in their footsteps? I seriously doubt people that had the smarts to figure out what the game makers didn’t share/document wouldn’t be so forth-coming in sharing what they learned if that means a ton of copy-cat mods will come out…and get paid for it! I hear people saying that paid mods could attract better talent to make higher-quality mods. Hmpf! Good luck with that. I see a ton of high-quality mods made by amateurs right now.

    #3 – Mods being cranked out today are at the high-quality they are BECAUSE thousands of modders before that worked together to figure out solutions to problems and overcome what could be show-stoppers for a single person. Multiply that over and over and over and here we are today…a relative newbie to the scene can crank out and package up a very nice mod, well-documented, great screenshots, new models, textures, FX, etc. because all the tools have been refined by the community, documented by the community in the form of multiple guides and videos for every topic needed for just about every kind of area in modding. Yes, MULTIPLE tutorials for the same topics so that if you cannot understand one tutorials, you can bet there is more out there you can learn from. Need to extract files from a .BSA file? No problem…there are multiple community-made tools and tutorials for that. Need to create .NIF (models, animations, collisions) and .DDS (textures, icons) files? Yep, got community tools and tutorials for that as well. How can the author(s) that created and maintained things like NifTools be compensated for their work when end-users will likely never directly use them but the vast majority of modders providing assets (other than just a .esp file) would of had a hard time doing so without the work done by the NifTools team and other tool makers? (This is just 1 example)

    How would this community landscape look like had Skyrim been released as the 1st game of the series with people being able to make money of what they publish behind paywalls? Just look to other games that tried the same.

    I would have a hard time justifying making any mods that I have made in the past as pay-ware today because anything I made was made standing on the shoulders of many that came before me. If I sold anything, it would only be .esp plugin files…nothing else. But again…much of my knowledge on making plugins have been from looking at others work and reading tutorials made by the community when the culture was not about making money. For this reason, you will never see Oblivion/Skyrim work that I have done being put up behind a paywall…at least not by me.

    #4 – Nevermind. I’ve already posted a wall of text and could keep going on and on about the pricing, theft issues, etc. but I don’t think it matters at this point. It was put out there and now it has been retracted. A dirty bomb has been set off in the middle of a cohesive community and now everyone is looking over their shoulders and changing their mindset from that of an open, collaborative and caring community to….something else.

    Sincerely disappointed,
    LHammonds

  46. Best wishes on whatever might be down the road for paid mods. Was really looking forward to say thanks finacially to the Modders for all the gaming happiness they sent my way since MORROWIND. I found during all this controversy there are already paid modding communities out there for other games such as flight sims which have been doing this for a few years at least. Bethesda might want to look into their setup to see about any possible ideas.

    Cheers 😀

  47. I’d hate to see this feature removed from the upcoming game. In essence it is a good idea. Perhaps it was not wise to try to implement this in a game that Bethesda hasn’t supported for a number of years, thus leading to some believing it was a money grabbing scheme, even if it wasn’t one.

    I hope to see a more cautious introduction of this idea in the next series of games that are about to be released.