In a surprising turn of events, Valve has announced that after consultation with Bethesda the decision has been taken to remove paid Skyrim mods from the Steam Workshop.
“We’re going to remove the payment feature from the Skyrim workshop,” the announcement reads. “For anyone who spent money on a mod, we’ll be refunding you the complete amount.”
In a refreshingly frank admission, Valve say “We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing.”
“We underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim’s workshop,” it continues. “We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.”
This statement is somewhat in contrast to one put out by Bethesda a little earlier today, which attempted to justify the system with typically tone-deaf corporate writing (and has now, amusingly, been amended with a hasty “uh, wait, paid mods are being removed … sorry everyone.”)
The dramatic about-face comes after a few days of chaos and turmoil in the modding scene, introduced by Valve and Bethesda’s ill-conceived implementation of a paid system. It failed to take into account how the majority of the Skyrim modding community (and players) would react to the sudden introduction of a paid model, and seemed to have no contingency plans in place for problems regarding copyright, ownership, and mods that relied on other mods to function.
Ultimately, that backlash has made two massive companies backtrack on a decision that looked to be set in stone.
Valve has clearly not abandoned the idea of paid mods (hence the reference to there being “a useful feature somewhere here”) in their statement, but seems now to be having a serious re-think about how to implement that idea beyond their own titles.