This week has been packed full of controversy surrounding Steam and it's move to start allowing modders to charge for their creations in Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Naturally there was an uproar from the gaming community, and now Valve has cancelled the paid Skyrim mods system from the Steam Workshop after less than one week.
This turnaround comes after days of backlash from the gaming and modding community, following Valve and Bethesda launching the paid Skyrim mod system on 23rd April. A Change.org petition was set up, in-game protests were made, and PC gaming deity Gabe Newell was downvoted on Reddit. It's been quite a week.
"We're going to remove the payment feature from the Skyrim workshop," the Steam announcement reads. "For anyone who spent money on a mod, we'll be refunding you the complete amount."
"We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing," Valve admits.
"We've been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they've been received well. It's obvious now that this case is different."
Valve goes on to say: "But we underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim's workshop.We understand our own game's communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there's a useful feature somewhere here."
Bethesda also issued an update over on their blog:
"After discussion with Valve, and listening to our community, paid mods are being removed from Steam Workshop. Even though we had the best intentions, the feedback has been clear – this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you."
So, the community has spoken, and Valve and Bethesda have listened. However, as Valve say in their statement, they do still believe "there's a useful feature somewhere here," so I wouldn't think this is the last we'll see of paid mods on Steam.