Paying for Mods

Friday, April 24, 2015

There's a lot of craziness about paid mods, a lot of people who don't know how they feel. It's probably no big suprise that I'm all for it. I sold a mod once and everyone was angry that it was happening, until it happened and they got a much better product than they'd have gotten when it was released for free, then they seemed to calm down a bit. It has given me a carreer for 10 years. It's bought me two houses, a bunch of cars. It's created a company that has hired 30+ people. So here's some important points:

There are still free mods

A lot of the craziness seems to come from the thought that no-one will ever release their mods for free. That makes no sense. Some stuff won't be worth charging for. Some people won't want paying for their stuff. If a mod takes 10 seconds to make and someone wants to charge $10 for it then they won't sell any copies because it's not worth it. This is how the market balances itself. They'll either have to lower their price or make it worth the price.

You don't have to buy anything

No-one is holding a gun to your head. You don't need these mods, you just want them. Are they worth more to you than whatever else you're going to spend the money on? No? Well don't buy them, do without.

You're a kid and you don't have any money

So find a way to pirate them. That's what we all did when we were kids with no money. Valve's job is to make it more convenient for you to not pirate stuff.

People will upload stolen stuff

I've said it a million times - If "people are assholes on the internet" was a reason not to do something then we'd never do anything Stuff is going to happen. There was a time where they'd almost completely stopped making PC games because of piracy. Should we really let the fact that sometimes people are assholes dictate what we do? Or should we just deal with it when it happens?

Who is winning

So lets take a look at what is in this for everyone. Who wins out of this.

Users

  • More choice
  • Better supported mods
  • Some stuff costs money

Modders

  • Money
  • Career
  • Actual mod support from game devs (because they directly profit from it)
  • 25% revenue sucks
  • Resistance to new things

Game Developers

  • Money
  • Longevity
  • Resistance to new things

Valve

  • Money
  • Support
  • Chargebacks
  • Babysitting
  • Resistance to new things
So obviously Valve and Game Devs are the biggest winners right now. That's the wrong way around in my opinion. The modders should be getting the majority share of the revenue from this - that just seems like common sense. It's obvious that Valve and the game developer need to make money here too, enough to cover costs at least - but it's the modder's work that is making the money. I don't know whose choice that is though, but it feels like someone is being a greedy asshole. This is something that will get better with time.

It's a choice

It's most important to remember that this is a choice. You don't have to charge for your mod. You don't have to buy a mod. In the same way that there's hundreds of free games on Steam right now that you've never played, and there's hundreds of paid games on Steam right now that you've never bought. If you don't like it then don't use it, but don't take the opportunity away from people that do.

What about Garry's Mod

It's something we're interested in for sure. It's something I wanted to do when Workshop was first integrated into GMod in 2012, but the system wasn't ready for it. People already sell their mods for Garry's Mod privately. Doesn't it make sense that we bring that into Steam so those transactions can be trusted by both parties? Obviously it's going to be hard to convince those guys to move their mods to Steam and lose 75% of their profits, but we'll see what wiggle room we have on that. We'll wait to see what it looks like once the Skyrim system has stabilized and see what we can learn from it before pushing forward, but opportunity is never a bad thing to give people.
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