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4 days of high drama later, Valve kills paid Skyrim mods feature on Steam

Apr 28, 20154 mins
Data and Information SecurityEnterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

After a massive uproar, Valve and Bethesda have removed the new feature of paid Skyrim mods from Steam's Skyrim Workshop.

Oh happy day because ding dong the Skyrim immersive paid witch mod is dead! There’s been drama, high drama and even more drama in the modding community since Valve and Bethesda announced paid mods last week. Some mods were being sold without the creators’ permissions and other mod content was supposedly stolen from other modders then sold for profit before being yanked from the community workshop. Oh, and regarding that “profit” for any paid mods, modders would receive a mere 25% of any revenue from paid content that was sold while Valve took 30% and Bethesda took 45%.

Yesterday Valve caved to a flurry of fury coming its way from gamers and modders by announcing that it was removing the payment feature from Skyrim Workshops. The company meant well, it said, “but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.”

It only took four days for the company to kill off the paid mod feature. The Steam Community announcement added, “Now that you’ve backed a dump truck of feedback onto our inboxes, we’ll be chewing through that, but if you have any further thoughts let us know.”

But the company wasn’t just buried under busloads of furious feedback, but protest mods went up and popular almost immediately. Did I mention drama? Well, here’s your sign. “Protest sign: No paying for mods” has a five-star rating.

While the Immersive Paywall mod was removed from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Steam Workshop, the Immersive Dirt Mound mod is still up and listed to show what most paid mods will become – “an overpriced pile of dirt.” Extra Apple was worth a look and the Exploitation mod has a video that is definitely worth a watch as the mod “replaces Skyrim‘s main menu and soundtrack with a more fitting version in wake of the recent Steam Workshop announcements.”

On another protest front, there were 133,013 signatures on a petition for Valve to remove the paid content from the Steam Workshop. “We have united and have won,” states the victory announcement. “We got Valve and Bethesda to roll back the paywall that they have created and saved our modding community.”

Skyrim came out in 2011. Then in January 2015, Valve introduced Curated Workshops. Then seemingly out of the blue Bethesda updated its Creation Kit for the first time since releasing it in 2012 and also removed the measly 100MB file size upload limit from the Skyrim Workshop. There were mutterings among some modders as the change to the Creation Kit meant agreeing to new terms of service; all mods created were meant to be automatically uploaded to the Steam Workshop as opposed to sharing on third-party sites like NexusMods which have served as a community hub in the modding scene.

Don’t misunderstand as Bethesda’s Creation Kit is free and making mods is fun. If I can create mods then anyone can! Bethesda tried to explain why it was trying paid Skyrim mods, before it listened to the community and removed paid mods from the Steam Workshop. It’s not that modders should not be allowed to make money, but even huge mods like Falskaar and Nehrim, created by entire teams of people, have been freely shared.

If you don’t understand the fuss, but own The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or other moddable game, then you really should try out mods. The next thing you know, you’ll be swapping out Mod Managers and organizers, running over 200 mods, switching them out to keep the game different, and avoiding the main storyline altogether. Once you try Creation Kit then you might even play with NifSkope; before you know it, you might be addicted to creating your own mods and then sharing them for free with the gaming community.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.