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Days later, Steam community is still in an uproar over paid mods debacle

Hayden Dingman | April 28, 2015
It's been four long, tumultuous days to be a PC gamer. We round up what happened this past weekend, from Gabe Newell's Reddit Q&A to mod theft to in-game pop-ups.

I knew this would cause backlash, trust me. But I also knew that, with the right support and infrastructure in place, there was an opportunity to take modding to 'the next level', where there are more things like Falskaar in the world because the incentive was there to do it.

Things internally stayed rather positive and exciting until some of us discovered that "25% Revenue Share" meant 25% to the modder, not to Valve / Bethesda. This sparked a long internal discussion. My key argument to Bethesda (putting my own head on the chopping block at the time) was that this model incentivizes small, cheap to produce items (time-wise) than it does the large, full-scale mods that this system has the opportunity of championing. It does not reward the best and the biggest.

Of course, the modding community is a complex, tangled web of interdependencies and contributions. There were a lot of questions surrounding the use of tools and contributed assets, like FNIS, SKSE, SkyUI, and so on. The answer we were given is:

[Valve] Officer Mar 25 @ 4:47pm Usual caveat: I am not a lawyer, so this does not constitute legal advice. If you are unsure, you should contact a lawyer. That said, I spoke with our lawyer and having mod A depend on mod B is fine--it doesn't matter if mod A is for sale and mod B is free, or if mod A is free or mod B is for sale."

And finally:

"After a discussion with Fore, I made the decision to pull Art of the Catch down myself. (It was not removed by a staff member) Fore and I have talked since and we are OK."

"I was just contacted by Valve's lawyer. He stated that they will not remove the content unless "legally compelled to do so", and that they will make the file visible only to currently paid users. I am beside myself with anger right now as they try to tell me what I can do with my own content. The copyright situation with Art of the Catch is shades of grey, but in Arissa 2.0's case, it's black and white; that's 100% mine and Griefmyst's work, and I should be able to dictate its distribution if I so choose. Unbelievable."

Art of the Catch wasn't the last mod to go. Other developers, afraid their work would get stolen and monetized against their will, started pulling their free mods off the Skyrim Nexus.


The meme machine started its motor on Thursday and by Saturday was pushing out a huge amount of content. Like this picture by BrokenYozeff:

Or this video:


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