Valve CEO Gabe Newell had reached out on Reddit this past weekend to answer some questions his company faced in the recent controversy around paid user mods on Steam.
Responding in his usual casual manner, he wrote “So here I am, probably a day late, to make sure that if people are pissed off, they are at least pissed off for the right reasons.”
Gabe took questions from a number of Reddit members who seemed to be more than a bit annoyed over Valve’s decision to give modders the opportunity to list and sell their own creations on Steam Workshop.
Most of the questions revolved around Valve only giving 25% of the sales proceeds to the modder and the rest is distributed amongst Valve and the game developer/publisher, which in the case of The Eder Scrolls V: Skyrim was Bethesda.
Gabe’s response was that the decision always lies with the game developer, saying “The pay-outs are set by the owner of the game that is being modded.”
An interesting conversation began between Nexus, a free modding community website, and Gabe, over the future of mods being exclusively available on Steam Worshop for a particular game. Gabe’s response was cautious. “In general, we are pretty reluctant to tell any developer that they have to do something or they can’t do something. It just goes against our philosophy to be dictatorial. With that caveat, we’d be happy to tell developers that we think they are being dumb, and that will sometimes help them reflect on it a bit.”
The Nexus website caters to a number of modders and has a donation system where users can donate money to a mod creator. A similar donation system is also something that Valve wants to implement in the Steam Workshop. Gabe added “We are adding a button that modders can use that allows them to set a minimum pay-what-you-want option.” That minimum can be zero.
Valve’s new modding programme launched just a few days ago and has drawn a bit of scepticism after one modder removed his content from the Steam Workshop following claims of using another modder’s work in his own.
Newell was reluctant for Valve to have any control over the content of the mods and responded by leaving the policing to the community itself, which makes sense as Valve is not in a position to say which mod is right or wrong for a particular game.
You can read more on Gabe’s Reddit comments here.