Arts & Entertainment

Paying for Video-Game Mods: Is It Really Such a Bad Thing?

Now for those of you who may not be familiar with mod­ding and Steam, Steam is a digital distribution platform created by Valve that is the most popular on­line marketplace for computer games. Modding is where a person, a team, or a company creates an unofficial add-on to a game. Mods can be put on a section on Steam called the Steam Workshop, which allows play­ers to easily find and download mods.

This, is awesome for many rea­sons. One of those reasons is that it gives players creative freedom to add whatever they want to their favorite games.

So you may be asking, why should we pay for something like that? That is a fair question and I plan to answer that to the best of my ability and ex­plain why this whole paid modding fiasco with Steam failed.

First off, let’s talk about modding and why we should pay for it. Plain and simple, mods take a lot of time to make, with most taking hundreds or even thousands of hours. The modders spend all this time out of their own passion for the games, so it only seems fair that they should get some compensation for the hundreds of hours they took to make it.

Next I’ll be fair and say why we shouldn’t pay for mods. This also has another simple answer: updates. De­velopers sometimes have to keep the mod updated to keep it free of issues, especially with games that regularly receive official updates. This means that there is a considerable chance of modders just getting the money and then walking away.

So why did Steam’s attempt fail? First off the developers weren’t ex­actly happy with their cut of the deal which is only a measly 25 percent. First off, are you kidding me!? The big guys are getting 75 percent for putting no effort while the person who poured their passion and time in to it gets pretty much nothing! This makes me steaming mad (no pun intended).

Another reason is that the Steam Workshop isn’t moderating, meaning that anyone could sell anything and get away with it. For example, people would take mods created by some­body else and sell it as their own to make some fast cash. Somebody actu­ally made a mod to show how it feels to buy mods called Give Me Your Money For No Reason. In this mod, a beggar woman named Beth begs for money despite appearing to be well-off financially, making the point that Valve doesn’t care about what happens with its modding commu­nity.

This all is made worse by how you can only get refunds within 24 hours of purchase, and the cost is only re­funded to your Steam Wallet, mean­ing your money stays in the Steam Marketplace no matter what.

Now am I getting a bit too worked up over this, of course, but this is in no way fair to the consumer who got completely screwed. This issue has been resolved though. As of April 27 this idea was officially revoked, and all players that spent money on the mods were given a complete refund. So all ended well… right? Sadly no, the developers of the mods are still just doing this out of passion and I personally would love to see develop­ers be able to charge at least a little bit and get all of the money instead of a small portion. This is a great idea, but it needs quality control and as­surance for the customers, and as of right now, Valve is far from that point.