Valve pull mod charges after facing wrath of PC gamers

28 Apr 2015

Valve and developers Bethesda have had to make a u-turn on their decision to charge users for game modifications after gamers became incensed that ‘mod’ developers were to only receive a 25pc cut of profits.

The game mods related specifically to the incredibly popular gameSkyrim, which despite being launched in 2011 has had a passionate modding community that has taken the original game and expanded on it, doing it all during their own free time.

Realising the amount of time and effort that was being put into mods, Valve (through their gaming platform Steam) and Bethesda had come together to agree a deal that would see Valve’s hub for mods, The Steam Workshop, begin charging players for mods that had until then been free.

According to the details released by Bethesda, the agreement between the two companies would see Valve receive 30pc of the cut, Bethesda receive 45pc of the cut and the original modder receive 25pc, something which sparked outrage among the PC gamer community.

‘We didn’t exactly know what we were doing’

With some users describing it as “completely disgusting”, some commentators have taken to editorial pieces to say the decision to charge users for content was a “legal, ethical and creative disaster”.

However, within a matter of days, both Valve and Bethesda have now stated that there will be no charges placed on users who download mods.

“We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing,” said Valve’s spokesperson in an online post. “We’ve been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they’ve been received well. It’s obvious now that this case is different.”

Likewise, Bethesda offered a brief updated statement following on from its original announcement, saying: “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.”

Skyrim mod image via Lord Syzzler/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic