Published on April 30, 2015 By Island Dog In PC Gaming

Stardock's Derek Paxton wrote an opinion piece for Polygon on paid mods, which has become a hot subject with the recent introduction and subsequent retraction of paid mods on Steam.

"I began as a modder by creating the "Fall from Heaven" mod for Civilization 4. That led me to working with Firaxis on developing two scenarios for their Beyond the Swordexpansion, one of which got included in the base game, as well as creating the Modder’s Guide for Civilization 5 and the first mods for that game.

After that experience I left my non-gaming career and joined Stardock, where I have been designing and producing games for the past 5 years. I came to Stardock because they viewed modding as an important part of PC gaming."

Read the full article on Polygon.


on Apr 30, 2015

Afraid I'm gonna have to pass on reading that unless there is a different source, since I am blacklisting Polygon. However as someone getting into the mod community and a long time PC gamer I'd like to point out that for most people, we are not against the fundamental concept of modders asking for or receiving some monetary compensation for their hard work; especially mod teams who make very complex and popular mods.

However the implementation VALVe put in was designed for cosmetic items like they do in DOTA and TF2, not actual gameplay mods that come with a whole different set of issues and dependencies. Fact is the mods that are 'worth paying for' are very much collaborative efforts, borrowing content, scripts and hacks from fellow modders to create the best experience possible. To say nothing of the abundance of content using licensed IPs such as Star Wars or Star Trek; that stuff will get ugly once money is involved.

On top of those minefields throw in the simple fact that VALVe/Bethesda were taking a 75% cut (and the modder doesn't see any of it until they have reached $400 in sales) for something that is already adding value to their product (yes some people buy games specifically for mods) and their total lack of any curation, quality control or customer support beyond a 24hr refund time period (though this is a much larger issue with how awful Steam is as a store). Frankly you'd have to be an idiot to wonder why everyone reacted so badly to this, gamers and modders alike.

The only way I see 'paid modding' working is with something like a Patreon model. Hell, that's an idea, we should just use patreon. If people think your work is good enough they can buy you a beer. Paywalls in modding are just a giant minefield for the distributor, developer/publisher, gamer and modder. VALVe had no idea what they were doing and we should stay vigilant against them trying to sneak in an equally myopic implementation of an already poor idea at best. Otherwise Disney's ninja lawyers will slay us all!

If you can stomach his style Jim Sterling covers most of these points pretty well in this video.


Patreon = Good

Paywall = Bad

VALVe = Ivory tower.

Bethesda/Zenimax = Pigs.