Steam Workshop paid mods: like Uber, but for horse armor
Colin Bayer

How much of the issues around paid Skyrim mods come from the inherent structure of how Steam/Bethesda went about it vs. Skyrim being the wrong game to start with in your opinion?

In the past, the most profitable exits for modders that allow for devoting more time/resources to it have been redevelopment as an indie game (ex: Day of Defeat, Garry’s Mod, Counterstrike, Killing Floor, Natural Selection, etc.)

To me there are two things I notice / think:

  1. If there are mods that make it all the way to published game status there must inherently be a middle ground where the mod’s recreation as a standalone game would not be justified, but improved development could exist or the creator could keep more ownership (as opposed to what happened with CounterStrike & Killing Floor) if paid mods were a supported system
  2. Almost all successful mod-to-games in the past have been based off an FPS game (UT2004 & Half-Life for most of the ones I listed). And for TES / Skyrim games, I cant recall a single mod that became a successful standalone paid indie game.

I view this as important because it implies that a big part of the issue is that if you are upgrading mods to essentially fill the revenue function of DLC / Expansion packs and turning your game into a GaaS (Game as a Service) platform, a franchise and game type that has no material history of successful standalone content derived from mods is the absolute worst place to begin with.

If there are no successful stand-alones derived from mods, making user content paid for is likely making a solution for a problem that not enough people care about on both the consumer / modder side.

On a more long-term note, the planned UT content marketplace by Epic will likely be the biggest predictor / relevant case for whether or not paid mods end up being adopted in the near future I suspect. Previous iterations of the franchise have generated successful spin-offs, and the platform will hopefully be designed much better than Steam Workshop is for the purposes of running mods.

In an ideal world of course, publishers would preferentially cut a deal with Nexus in my opinion.

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