Home Gaming Creators can now charge for Steam Workshop mods

Creators can now charge for Steam Workshop mods

3 min read


Mods are one of the things that make PC gaming awesome – because you can always count on creators to dabble with game engines and add things that the developers didn’t even dream of. They’re usually free – but that’s changing. Valve has updated its Steam Workshop to allow creators to charge for their mods.

“The Steam Workshop has always been a great place for sharing mods, maps, and all kinds of items that you’ve created. Now it’s also a great place for selling those creations,” Valve says on its updated site. “With a new, streamlined process for listing and selling your creations, the Steam Workshop now supports buying mods directly from the Workshop, to be immediately usable in game. Discover the best new mods for your game and enable the creators to continue making new items and experiences.”

The first game to support this is modder’s paradise, Skyrim. Modders are able to set prices for their creations, or continue to offer them for free. Mods that use work from multiple creators allow the money to be split.

It’s already causing quite a bit of controversy, as you’d expect. In effect, what Valve has done has turned mods in to paid DLC. On the one hand, I definitely believe that content creators should be able to earn money from their hard work, but it’s starting to look like people are jumping on this purely for the sake of making a quick buck or two. There are also a great number of mods that piggyback off of other people’s work (notably, Skryim Script Extender) – and it’s causing quite a bit of consternation in modding communities. In fact, there’s already a nearly 10000 petition for Valve to reverse the change. One of the primary reasons? Just 25% of the cash goes to the mod creators, with Valve pocketing a staggering 75%. and the publisher getting the rest.

Here are some comments (verbatim!) from the petition:

“Many of the mods currently being sold require the Skryim Script Extender and that team of people won’t be seeing a single penny from this the way you have it set up. Also modding is a hobby, not a career. You will ruin the modding community by going about this in the fashion that you are.”

“Valve’s monetization of Steam Workshop mods – in it’s current state – is very detrimental to the PC modding ecosystem as a whole.

Additionally, in its current state, many developers responsible for very, VERY influential mods (such as SKSE in the case of Skyrim) will not be seeing a single cent of revenue despite the fact that many, many mods relying on content from SKSE will be sold.

Valve has demonstrated a complete inability to curate content (see: Greenlight and Early Access), and it isn’t going to be any better with paid mods. Nobody is going to be there to stop scammers from selling mods that are free elsewhere, and in the end the only people who stand to win is Valve, who gets to take a slice of the pie while doing nothing in return.”

“This system can be abused, people can make essentially free money, for very little work, by not relaleasing a full mod, sying it’s an alpha, or use stolen assets.”


It opens up the floodgates for low-quality, least-effort mods purely for the sake of money. Right now, it’s confined to Skyrim, but expect other Steam Workshop games to start having the good stuff locked behind paywalls. Would you pay for user-created mods?

Last Updated: April 24, 2015


  1. Umar

    April 24, 2015 at 09:34

    Freaking Steam Early Access all over again, what exactly is it with them and just opening the floodgates without proper measurements in place to ensure fairness for both the creator and the consumer……….


  2. Lord Chaos

    April 24, 2015 at 09:37

    This will not end well.


  3. ReaperOfSquirrels

    April 24, 2015 at 09:38

    Oh damn… can see single items costing well over R100. Some crazy people will make things cost over R1000.


  4. Blood Emperor Trevor

    April 24, 2015 at 09:41

    I saw this last night, it’s a terrible idea. So many potential problems, and Steam’s already flooded with junk games, now it’s going to be flooded with (even more) junk mods. If they’re really intent on allowing this it would be better to have some kind of system where people could donate to the mod creator if they wanted to through Steam, not make upfront payments.


  5. Hammersteyn

    April 24, 2015 at 09:41

    My horse will look so fabulous with his new armour.


    • Spathi

      April 24, 2015 at 09:44

      That horse armour reminds me of the D-day scene in Terminator 2, where Sarah dreams of standing at the fence next to the playpark, looking at the nuke being dropped.

      That horse armour was the beginning of unfinished games and DLC.


      • Hammersteyn

        April 24, 2015 at 09:45

        Most iconic scene ever in the Terminator franchise. For me anyways.


  6. Hammersteyn

    April 24, 2015 at 09:46

    Only 25% for doing all the work? Didn’t know Gabe was into pimping…


    • Pariah

      April 24, 2015 at 09:46

      That isn’t exactly a new business model – that’s how dota and cs:go items work, and have been working since the beginning.


      • Hammersteyn

        April 24, 2015 at 09:47

        O_o Pimps everywhere. And it’s nicely legalized.


        • Pariah

          April 24, 2015 at 09:56

          Yeah. The problem I have is that dota and cs:go are their own games, they’re the reason people can create and earn the items in the first place, and the workshop is the only place to submit those and have them accepted into the game(s). Valve has earned that 75% in these two cases.

          But in Skyrim, it’s a 3rd party title. Steam isn’t the only place to get the mods, in fact far more are available off the Nexus (where I get all of my mods), and those are all free. But now those same mods will be paid-for on Steam. Further to that, Valve has done NOTHING to earn that 75% share except for being the form of DRM that Bethesda chose to use. Valve do not deserve the 75% for 3rd party titles.

          And of course, let’s not even get into the piracy and lack of curation of these mods. In dota and CS;GO, there is curation. Valve go through each submission, and if it’s stolen it just doesn’t get added to the games, and therefore makes no money. But as it stands, I can go steal some assets from a mod on the Nexus, make my own “mod”, put it on Steam, and charge for it. Not ok.


          • Hammersteyn

            April 24, 2015 at 09:58

            They really didn’t think this through…

          • Umar

            April 24, 2015 at 09:59

            Just as Early Access, have you seen the stuff they sell? They need to stop this shit, this is going the same route as Early Access now in terms of selling basic shit.

      • James Anderton

        April 24, 2015 at 09:58

        You can argue that Valve OWN those IPs, therefore they can charge what they want. But 75% for Skyrim or other games. No fucking way.


        • Pariah

          April 24, 2015 at 09:58

          See my below comment. I felt I did need to elaborate. 🙂


    • Rock789

      April 24, 2015 at 10:32

      Gabe is into money – whatever form that may come in. 😉


  7. Pariah

    April 24, 2015 at 09:46

    Come on Valve, it’s about ethics in mod creation communities.


  8. Spathi

    April 24, 2015 at 09:48

    Dear Valve.

    Please stop being “innovate”. I don’t want any innovation in gaming, not until HL3 is released. I’m happy playing the same kind of games, the same way the whole time. I’m currently playing Pillars which is Baldur’s Gate with a change of scenery, and I love it. Please give us HL3, or just make a 20 min short film with the ending of the story. That would be fine too. Thereafter you can go on doing innovative things again.

    tl;dr – Valve, stop with Steam and focus on gaming, specifically HL3.


    • Hammersteyn

      April 24, 2015 at 09:56

      They’re done making games, the now sell games and people wont ever stop buying games from them. Steam is the go to service for games and now with the $5 friend thing they’ve added this as well. Basically they don’t have to do any work anymore. Except collect money.


  9. Uberutang

    April 24, 2015 at 09:49

    Well the good:

    Better content like Falskaar or Skywind. dont mind paying for those
    Gamers make money from games
    more games will ship with ‘mod support’ (devs and pubs now make money from mods)

    The bad:

    It will take time for ‘natural selection’ to weed out the bs from the gold.
    community policing is not always a great idea…

    the rest:
    mod piracy!


  10. e1ace

    April 24, 2015 at 10:05

    The biggest problem is that if you are now paying for mods then you expect them to work. What happens if the mod doesn’t work on your PC. Can you get a refund? Are Valve going to ensure that your issues are addressed?


    • Uberutang

      April 24, 2015 at 11:52

      You have 24 hours to return the mod to the store. You will get steam credits.


  11. Travi the Batman

    April 24, 2015 at 10:17

    Microtransactions disguised as mods in a single-player RPG? Oh, what could possibly go wrong.

    I’m getting some nasty flashbacks from horse armor. Fucking 85 ZAR for a follower mod. Really?


  12. Blood Emperor Trevor

    April 24, 2015 at 10:17

    According to this article Valve don’t pocket 75% of mod sales.


    The relevant part is:

    (Note: Valve has confirmed to me that publishers/developers get to decide the amount of revenue they take from mods if they choose to let players sell them. Valve, meanwhile, takes “the same share of sales as any other microtransaction sale.”)


  13. Kromas,powered by windows 10.

    April 24, 2015 at 10:24

    I am probably the worst Valve Fanboy out there and even I hate to do a 180.

    Valve better remove this policy.


  14. Galbedir

    April 24, 2015 at 10:57

    Just when you think Valve understand PC gamers and the modding community…it goes and does something like this…very disappointing…Maybe ill move over to Uplay…


  15. Sir Faulty

    April 24, 2015 at 12:52

    Just to set the record straight Valve does not retain 75% of the sale. If anybody bothered reading the terms and conditions in the FAQ you will see the modder keeps 25%, 10-25% goes to Valve and Bethesda – the owner of Skyrim…yes believe it or not dear Readers Bethesda owns the Elder Scroll series – are pocketing the rest. If you honestly think that Valve would be able to pocket 75% they had no had in making then you are a deluded fool who should probably just quit while you are lagging so far behind.

    Also It’s set per game by the developer or publishing house what the split will be. Also modders can select three options a) Free b) Pay what you want c) set standard price.

    It’s all in the FAQ which nobody bothered to read. Instead they ran off and grabbed their pitchforks and torches instead.

    I am okay with this. Why should modders not be able to charge for their hard work? This is a classic case, YET AGAIN, of gamer saying:-

    “NO MODDERS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO GET PAID BUT GAMERS ARE ENTITLED TO GET EVERYTHING FREE (when half of them haven’t even paid for the original base game).

    Valve just happens to operate a platform that allows such things. Its been happening with DOTA 2 and CS:GO for yonks now. Why does this make is any different?

    Anyway I expect over time the cream of the crop to rise to the top so that people know what to spend their monies on, if they so inclined to do so.


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