Paid Mods In Skyrim: Is This The End Of Modding As We Know It?

Paid mods in Skyrim roll out today in a controversial new Steam Workshop program.

Beginning today, a new Steam Workshop feature allows modders to charge for their Skyrim creations. This is a huge change from what we’ve all become accustomed to as far as mods go. Sure, modders have always had the option to ask for donations to help support the time and effort it takes to create new mods, items, and maps. But in it’s purest form, modding has always been about the love of the game.

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Paid Mods In Skyrim

In its promotional write-up for the new program, Steam explains:

Whether you’re just getting started or are already a professional artist or developer, now you can make money from your creations in the Steam Workshop.

Starting with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can make new cosmetic items, sound packs, custom skins, fancy houses, epic quests, entire new cities, or just a new hat for Lydia. Once you’ve made your creation, you can easily set a price and earn a portion of each sale made through the Steam Workshop.

Skyrim is the first game being introduced to the new pay-for-play modding program, but Steam promises more Workshop games in the future. Skyrim has a huge modding community, over 24,000 fan-created mods on Steam, and tremendous support from Bethesda. Is it any wonder then that paid mods in Skyrim are being rolled out first?

It’s important to note that not all mods in Skyrim will cost money (the price is up to the creator). Steam promises that you’ll still be able to find lots of freebies. That said, if you want to purchase a mod on the Workshop, you can:

  1. Try any mod risk free,
  2. Get a refund within 24 hours of purchase if the mod doesn’t work as promised.

Modding has always been an activity indulged by fans passionate about the game. With Steam’s new program, hobbyists can now make a little something for their efforts and earn money for something they love. Paid mods in Skyrim will allow fans to help support authors who make top shelf content, possibly spurring the creation of better mods with improved features and support. Monetization of mobile apps is commonplace in the Apple App Store and Google Play after all, and the business model seems to be working quite well.

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Like it or not, there’s something offensive about paid mods in Skyrim. The entire program seems to feed into the whole corporate money-grubbing structure becoming all too routine in the video game industry (DRM anyone?).

Modding is an art form, a way to connect with other impassioned gamers. By putting a price tag on the experience, modding just becomes another way to nickel and dime fans who are already sick and tired of being nickel and dimed. Besides, modders will only receive a paltry 25% of the money from the sale of their mods. The remaining 75% will go to feed the corporate constructions of Valve and Bethesda.

Not unexpectedly, paid mods in Skyrim has started a rebellion of sorts. Outraged gamers are letting their voices be heard on the Steam Forums, Reddit, and on a petition that is quickly gaining momentum. Not everyone is against program to be sure, but it’s safe to say that modding as we know it has irrevocably been changed. Time will tell whether or not this change is for the betterment of gaming, but for now there’s a lot of rage.

So what do you think? Do you feel that paid mods in Skyrim are a good thing or bad? Do you see yourself paying for mods for your favorite video games, or has modding become tainted in your view? Share your thoughts and opinions in the Speak Your Mind section below. Skyrim Fansite readers want to know what you have to say regarding this important development.

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Shane Scarbrough
Shane Scarbrough

Shane Scarbrough is the founder of the Skyrim Fansite. He's a business owner, video game journalist, and role playing game aficionado. When he's not working he enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games. He's currently on his third playthrough of Skyrim, and is playing as a Templar in The Elder Scrolls Online. You can find Shane on Google+ and FaceBook.

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9 years ago

yes with money involved the will be law suits left and right and will eventually hurt modding because less will be made.people will sue each other over mods if they are similar.keep it simple keep it valve is doing this to make money off of half life 3 mods. and will sue over any ones they make.think about it.

Shane Scarbrough
Shane Scarbrough
Reply to  hvd2222
9 years ago

Good observation about lawsuits. It’s already starting to get messy: