« on: Today at 04:14:28 pm »
Between them, Bethesda and Valve have successfully managed to make the Skyrim modding scene implode with Valve's "paid mods" scheme.
Basically, Valve and Bethesda said it would now be cool for modders to charge for their mods in the Steam Workshop. The modder takes 25%, with Steam and Valve splitting the rest. In theory it sounds good, in a way, because modders often put 100s, if not 1000s of hours into their mods with little in the way of recognition.
But oh man the implementation has been awful. Firstly, modders only get to see the profits if they achieve over a certain threshold of overall earnings. Secondly, their cut is so small, considering this is a game that has been out for almost 5 years at this point, it's practically insulting. Then there are the legal issues...most mods rely on assets and scripts that were developed by other modders. Most modders are fine with simple acknowledgement...back when modding was a free system. Now people who are determined to keep their mods free are having their intellectual property used as part of paying mods, without their permission. And that's the other thing - the Steam Workshop is notoriously badly policed. Mods from there steal from the Nexus mod site quite freely, and Valve are very slow to react to claims of theft. Now people will have to pay to see if their work is being stolen. And there is a question of support and updates...with free mods, if things didn't work, eh, whatever. You didn't pay for it. Now Bethesda and Valve want money, I in turn will want to see things fixed...and modders simply are not being paid enough to mod full time. The Steam Workshop will also never remove mods people have downloaded...once people have bought them, they will continue to provide access, regardless of the modder's desires.
Add into this that, from a modding POV, the Steam Workshop is the worst option for modding (you have virtually no control over the mods when compared to a program like Mod Organizer) AND that this is likely a trial run for some terrible modding scheme in the run up to Fallout IV or TES VI....and well, you can see why people might be losing their shit. Oh. and even better - some modders are now putting in-game pop-ups into unpaid versions of their mods, to try and force people to buy the paid versions (I think this was Midas or Phendrix spells).
Notably, SkyUI, one of the most critical mods for Skyrim, has said they will only release future updates on a paid basis (and they've been sitting on an update for over a year at this point). Chesko, the noted creator of Frostfall (among others) has run into legal and ethical issues and basically deleted his entire social networking presence and Steam workshop portfolio. Apollodown, the creator of several hugely popular overhaul mods, has temporarily taken his mods down from Nexus in protest at SkyUI and Valve's connivance. Isoku, the creator of several popular immersion mods, who had been recently hyping updates to some of his more script heavy mods, was found to have been holding his mods back in preparation for the paid scheme and only releasing the updates on the Steam Workshop. He's since been forced to recant by public pressure, and state he will offer his mods on Steam first, then for free after 1-2 months on Nexus.
It's been a complete clusterfuck. The modding community used to be an actual community. People shared knowledge in the spirit of learning and enjoyment...now knowledge is going to be more jealously guarded, as today's novice may be tomorrow's competitor. And there is going to be a very real divide between the modders who keep their stuff free, and who choose to chatge from it.
I guarantee Valve has not run this past any lawyer who knows anything about copyright and video games. Their legal disclaimer is so poorly written I am sure I could argue against it, in a legal setting.