A couple of days ago, Valve made the announcement that modders will be able to sell their work on Steam starting with Skyrim.
The announcement caused a serious commotion in the community, with many mod developers expressing their concern that the system could harm the modding community.
For this reason, Gabe Newell took to Reddit yesterday and started an AMA (Ask Me Anything) to “make sure that if people are pissed off, they are at least pissed off for the right reasons.”
“The goal is to increase the total investment the community makes in extending its games,” Newell said when replying to one Redditor.
In another reply, he said that they aimed to “make modding better for the authors and gamers. If something doesn’t help with that, it will get dumped. 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.”
Unfortunately, Newell’s attempt to defend Valve’s latest move didn’t go down too well – nearly every post he wrote was downvoted so much that they are no longer visible in the thread, as angry modders came out in force to criticize Valve for what is perceived by many as an unfair revenue split (Bethesda takes a cut of 75% on all revenue on paid mods), reported claims that Valve has told modders that it’s OK to include other people’s work in their mods if they are freely available, and the belief held by many that the move will only encourage developers and publishers to release sub-standard games in future, relying on the mod community to fix their games for them.
It’s no secret that Valve is a big fan of mods – you just have to take a look at games like Team Fortress or DOTA to know this. The Valve CEO reaffirmed this by saying in a later post that, “As a baseline, Valve loves MODs (see Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, and DOTA). The open nature of PC gaming is why Valve exists, and is critical to the current and future success of PC gaming.” With that said, it’s pretty clear that Valve are going to do the best they can to keep the modding community alive and improve it wherever possible.
Near the end of the session, one Redditor asked the question: “What’s up with all the banning and censoring of people complaining about this feature? How can you consider this to be ‘open’?”.
“Well, if we are censoring people, that’s stupid. I’ll get that to stop. On top of it being stupid, it doesn’t work (see Top Gear forums on Jeremy Clarkson),” Newell replied.
You can take a look at the full AMA session here. You may have to dig around a bit though, because Newell’s answers were downvoted to oblivion.