Remember the Skyrim paid mod system Valve threw up out of the blue? It was a real mess which only lasted a matter of days.
Valve’s Game Newell still believes compensating mod makers for their efforts is important. During their roundtable discussions this week which was attended by VentureBeat, Newell explained that there is real value to games saying, “Mod people create a lot of value, and we think that absolutely they need to be compensated. They’re creating value, and the degree to which they are not being accurately compensated is a bug in the system.”
He is absolutely right but it’s rare that modders are compensated for their work. If you take a game such as World of Warcraft for example, there has been many instances where a great mod idea has simply been taken and rolled into the game.
Paradox has taken a different approach with Cities: Skylines where mods are keeping the community active. They invite modders to create mods and then release them as paid DLC packs. This way the modders are well compensated for their work.
On the whole Skyrim debacle in 2015 he commented, “The Skyrim situation — well, it was a mess. It was not the right place to launch that, and we did some hamfisted things in the way we rolled it out. But the fundamental concept that the gaming community needs to reward the people who are creating value is pretty important.”
He also admits that if the Skyrim “mess” hadn’t have happened they would have had a paid mods system in place by now.
When it comes to working with communities you need to tread carefully, a hard lesson Valve learned from Skyrim.