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Valve Removes Paid Mods From Steam

Valve has announced the removal of a Steam Workshop feature that allowed mod creators to place a price on their mods for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The feature launched last Thursday for Bethesda’s role-playing game and was originally planned to be implemented for other games in the coming weeks.

Valve stated that the payment feature for the Skyrim Workshop will be removed, and players who have spent money on it will receive a full refund. “We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing,” the statement said.

“To help you understand why we thought this was a good idea, our main goals were to allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to, and to encourage developers to provide better support to their mod communities. We thought this would result in better mods for everyone, both free & paid. We wanted more great mods becoming great products, like Dota, Counter-Strike, DayZ, and Killing Floor, and we wanted that to happen organically for any mod maker who wanted to take a shot at it,” the post details.

The decision to pull paid mods comes just hours after Bethesda itself spoke out in defence of the paid mods system. The publisher posted a blog post titled, “Why we’re trying paid Skyrim mods on Steam.”

The Skyrim Workshop’s payment feature left it up to the mod creators to determine whether they wanted to put a price on their mods, or make them available for free. The revenue split paid on Skyrim mods gave the creator of the mod a 25 percent share of sales. Bethesda also updated the Skyrim Creation Kit to introduce new features aimed at supporting the new paid mods. This included the ability to upload master files and the removal of file size limit restrictions.

Steam users have earned over $57 million from creating in-game items since the Steam Workshop launched in October 2011. This came from in-game items created for Valve games such as hats for Team Fortress 2, skins for Dota 2, and weapon skins for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Earlier this year, Valve announced plans to expand the service to third-party developers.

Last week Valve CEO Gabe Newell stated that if the paid mods feature did not help “make modding better for the authors and gamers,” then the company would abandon the idea. “Right now I’m more optimistic that this will be a win for authors and gamers, but we are always going to be data driven,” he said at the time.

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