It has happened. Valve and Bethesda have gotten into bed together with what can only be described as the most controversial decision with regards to what gaming has ever known with mods.
Valve and Bethesda have decided that they will allow mods to be priced and sold by their authors for their creations in Skyrim. While the idea of modders making money for their work is generally a good and acceptable ideal, it’s hard not to see the ulterior motives of Valve and Bethesda. After all, they aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their own hearts. They’ve officially stated that they are deserving of 3 times the amount the modder makes from the sales of their mod and that’s left a bad taste overall with a predominant amount of the community over there.
Arguably, the 80/20 rule applies where most of the posts/comments are negative responses and the support of this move are minimal, at best. From what I’ve seen, the community has been very vocal regarding this change (as have I). That said, there are certainly those who have remained quiet and it’s will ultimately be left up to their sales figures to determine how this venture pans out.
On its face, however, the move should actually deter future modding. While the argument has been made that 25% of something is better than the 100% of nothing they’ve received thus far, it doesn’t address why Valve and Bethesda feel they deserve such a heavy cut of the operation when they’ve done all but nothing to support their progress in developing said mods.
There’s also the concern of sharing. Most mods rely heavily on the operation of other mods. If said mods are free or don’t allow for commercial sale of their piece, they have to be picked apart, C&Ds are submitted (as was the case for one of the first paid mods by Chesko), and all around bad juju is generated. It has created a more volatile environment surrounded by who gets their fair share of the measly 25% they’re given.
There’s also the issue of who is doing this. Bethesda, while producing awesome games, has been widely known for releasing extremely unfinished, buggy games (I’m looking at you Fallout 3 and Skyrim). In my mind, it’s really been the work of the modding community that has saved these games from the negative experience I’ve had with them otherwise. I mean, there’s nothing like playing 30 hours to have the game completely break on you and prevent any further progress, right? Right? Something like this just leaves it more desirable for a Publisher to release games with bad quality. After all, if they’re going to collect on other people fixing their problems, where’s the incentive to pay people to squash bugs? Hype the game, do the bare minimum, and they can leave it up to the mod community to debug and beautify it all for a profit. Makes sense, right?
There are so many other concerns to go over here, but wanted to know if anyone else had noticed and wanted to know your thoughts. @Lee_Ars, not sure if it fits your niche, but this is perfect article material.
TL;DR: Valve and Bethesda have allowed mods to be sold and are collecting 3 times what the modders collect as profit for themselves.