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Steam tries to monetise the modscene, hilarity expected


Melan
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Edit: I'll quote what I posted on TTLG on this.

I think it's a pretty obvious argument that charging for mods is going to smother the scene with an influx of opportunistic types glutting the place & trying to hoodwink money out of people at every turn until you can't trust a single mod link anymore.

Or free mods suddenly become synonymous with "first time experimentation" that you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, and people aren't going to make quality stuff just because they can, which IMO led to some of the best things out there that weren't trying to get something from people, but pure expressions of themselves or wanting to give to a community for its own sake.

Being non-commercial was one thing that made modding something players could take ownership over & the kind of thing that genuine communities can build around. Monetizing it cheapens & kills all that. Cf. the history of punk rock maybe.
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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I've run into this on another forum I frequent and it's really terrible news.

 

While we're okay, I too am really worried how this is going to affect the modding scene at large. I could imagine that communities like ModDB are up in arms about this.

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Steam workshop is already so saturated with garbage it's virtually impossible to find quality content. The tags are useless. The rating system is useless. Reviews are useless. Everything is a joke.

 

But the list of approved content is a sight for sore eyes. No titties, dicks, or trolling. Just serious quality artistic work.

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guess this will be the nail to stop thedarkmod from going on steams greenlight system.

 

thief 2 and thief gold mods have been stolen in the past, some people stick them on ebay and sell them for 20 dollars a disk.

Edited by stumpy
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Yeah, it would depend on whether we get control over whether mods under us can get monetized or not. If we can stop it, then maybe it's fine. If the decision is Steam's or id's then that's maybe reason to be pessimistic. I think it would be bad mojo if people started monetizing their FMs or even took the game itself, changed a few things, recompiled it, and then tried to sell it as their own, maybe using their own or public assets if they had to. Bad mojo.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I can get horse genitals for $99?? That's a much better deal than the pop-up ads I see in my spam folder.

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I dunno, I don't think what Valve is doing is *too* bad. It seems abundantly clear that they've inked a deal with Bethesda (and would need to ink similar deals with other games before monetizing "derivative content" like mods, so if TDM went on Steam we'd have to give permission for monetization). While, yes, money brings its own morass of problems (like Melan pointed out when money gets involved people become much more possessive of content, quicker to conflict, and stingy with contributions) there are some good points to this too:

 

1) plenty of modders already build mods as a way to make money, even if not directly. They are doing so to build their skills/portfolio so they can get a job in the future and "go pro". Having a shot at making money from modding potentially means fewer abandoned mods and fewer people abandoning the mod scene to "go pro".

2) plenty of modders are modding because they don't have an easy way to enter the gaming industry (this is why modding is big, for example in Russia, and to a lesser extent Europe as a whole, which doesn't have as many opportunities to enter the native game dev market). Letting these creators monetize their content lets them be fuller participants in the industry.

3) Money, while it attracts a lot of moochers, does also act as a strong incentive and we could see more people getting into modding and producing better content.

 

And there is also nothing to stop the people who are doing it out of passion or pastime from keeping on doing what they are doing :-).

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But you should walk having internal dignity. Be a wonderful person who can dance pleasantly to the rhythm of the universe.

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My work blog: gfleisher.blogspot.com

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Does Valve really need to do this? I have no problem with giving money to mods (and other free content). Hell, I'd donate to The Dark Mod if they had the option. The best option Valve could have done is to announce this and say, OK - here's how you can support modders and people on the Workshop, we'll add a nice big Donate button to all mods and user content and people can donate if they wish...

 

The problem with donating is that it would mean no free money for Valve from other people's work! In my opinion they have been exploiting mods for years already either by copying them or pimping them up or buying them out (CS, TF2, L4D1/2, Portal1/2, DOTA2) and this is only one more step to try to get all of gaming into their Steam monopoly. They attacked IndidDB with Greenlight, now ModDB with that and I really hope it finally breaks the straw for all Valve fanboys out there who still don't recognize that Valve is becoming a hybrid of Apple and Facebook, only out there for the money and not anymore for the games!

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Having a shot at making money from modding potentially means fewer abandoned mods and fewer people abandoning the mod scene to "go pro".

 

Rumours are 75% of revenue are going to Valve/Bethesda and 25% to the creator. Now who is getting the bigger share here?

Edited by wesp5
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@wesp5, don't ever go into book publishing where the standard royalty rate is worse even than that ;). The point is that 25% is better than 0%, and if it takes off expect that rate to get better.

But you should walk having internal dignity. Be a wonderful person who can dance pleasantly to the rhythm of the universe.

-Sun Myung Moon

 

My work blog: gfleisher.blogspot.com

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So, what's the problem with this ? Make a mod - get paid. It's been done since TF2 hats. They prices were ridiculously low, like $0.12 per item. It also encourages certain level of quality in mods. Either make it free and ugly, or make it better and charge for it (hell, selling for a nickel would get you good pocket change depending on userbase size) or make it good and free.

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Well, you're missing a step. Sign into a contractual relationship with Valve and whatever team you've built, then make a work-product, then get paid.

Might sound like it's all the same vanilla modding, but the professionalization adds something ... like bitterness and lawsuits.

 

It's not a problem in principle IMO. Game studios and devs come and go all the time. Melan's OP covered what might worry us about what happens to the modding scene. It's not about saying people that spend a lot of time on something don't deserve to be paid if they want to subject themselves to the baggage professional development brings with it. Anyway IMO that part isn't an issue.

 

I think it's more about finding it refreshing that certain scenes are free of commercialization all over the place, which otherwise makes a scene look like a stripmall.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Game devs don't have to sign up with Valve for this (unless I am missing "mandatory" wording). Plus I am not sure why would you get bitter and have a lawsuit if you sign the agreement. Valve gets paid, devs get paid, modders get paid, free modders keep enjoying their freedom. Everyone is happy :)

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Uh, Valve is mailing checks to people & taking a huge cut of it. Of course you have to formally sign up with Valve for this. That's part of the reason they have to get the consent of every dev listed. Edit: The formalities are described on these pages, and you can see the contractual stuff involved: http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/about/?appid=72850, http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/workshoplegalagreement/?appid=72850 Of course Steam only cares about what happens on their end, not what happens among the devs themselves.

 

As for everybody's happy, here's the kind of scenario I mean -- most everyone involved is used to the informal culture of modding, dev that did a ton of work & other random artists that had their work outright stolen don't get paid because they were left out of the contract, because who goes into modding thinking about signing contracts, they're very pissed off when others are getting paid with their work, bitterness & lawsuits ensue. They're not happy. It's not a new thing. When you're an established studio or a professional doing contract work, it comes with the territory & everything's settled up front. It's just not what modders are used to, and it can poison the well if informal culture suddenly meets formal demands & they're not ready for it.

 

Edit: One of Melan's original points was gamers wading through the strip mall atmosphere that we can expect mod lists to turn into might not like that part of it.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I meant devs don't have to sign up for monetization and keep mods free. Valve won't get anything, nor anyone else.

 

Also, mods that contain someone else's work, taken without permission, won't be allowed for commercial release. A mod that will be sold has to have all work done by the modder/mod team (and mod team has to agree on such circumstances and figure out how they will split the money).

 

So, if we are all grown ups (I would think grown ups know better how to handle commercial work), there shouldn't be any issue. It just seems to me that people over react yet again and make an issue out of thin air.

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This is getting even better than expected:

  • In case of Skyrim, the cut is like 25% for the author of the mod and 75% to Valve and Bethesda for doing nothing. Other producers can set their own rates.
  • The author isn't getting anything if their mods earn less than $400.
  • Valve isn't responsible for technical support for mods. There are no mechanisms to demand that from the author. If your mod suddenly stops working after an update, go to forums and beg its creator to fix it.
  • You have 24 hours to get a refund, but the money gets transferred to your Steam Wallet.
  • If a mod uses content taken from some other free mods, Valve doesn't care. In fact, the first advertised mod for Skyrim did that and the author decided to take it down because of ethical issues. The whole case is described here.
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The question each of us should be asking is "Would TDM exist if it had to grow up in a monetised modscene policed by both iD Software and Eidos Interactive?"

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Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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This is getting even better than expected:

  • In case of Skyrim, the cut is like 25% for the author of the mod and 75% to Valve and Bethesda for doing nothing. Other producers can set their own rates.
  • The author isn't getting anything if their mods earn less than $400

 

So Valve/Bethesda get $350 before the author even sees one cent? And refunds can only be cashed in on Steam and thus even failed mods give Valve money in the end!

Wow, this is where monopoly leads to: They think they can get away with anything...

Edited by wesp5
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So Valve/Bethesda get $350 before the author even sees one cent? And refunds can only be cashed in on Steam and thus even failed mods give Valve money in the end!

Wow, this is where monopoly leads to: They think they can get away with anything...

 

They don't think - they simply do.

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So Valve/Bethesda get $350 before the author even sees one cent? And refunds can only be cashed in on Steam and thus even failed mods give Valve money in the end!

Wow, this is where monopoly leads to: They think they can get away with anything...

 

Less than $300. The author has to earn $100 to be able to cash out. I heard they are able to get the money in $100 increments, but I haven't verified that myself.

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The question each of us should be asking is "Would TDM exist if it had to grow up in a monetised modscene policed by both iD Software and Eidos Interactive?"

NO and i'm certain of that, if money was intended to be gain eidos would kill the mod even before it started.

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