Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Paid Skyrim Mods: Good Idea or Terrible?

Alright gamers, lets talk about one of the BIGGEST games to hit the market in the past few years; The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

This has to be one of my favorite games, easily, and for many reasons that I won't go into. With a game this big, and with such a huge cult following, it's only natural that it came out on multiple platforms (including PC). Since it's out on PC, that can only mean one thing; mods. Lots and lots of mods.

These mods range from really awesome graphic enhancements and new regions, with included quests, to the ridiculous exploding chicken mod. The community of these modders is very tight knit, and Valve unfortunately found that out the hard way.

On April 23rd, Valve implemented an optional "pay for mod" feature on Steam and the reaction was so horrid that it was gone that following Monday. Naturally, after that incredibly severe backlash, there were some that could see the pros and cons of this paid mod feature.

The Pros

First of, lets think of the obvious here. Wouldn't a hardworking modder like to be compensated for the hard work that they do? I personally don't play Steam, but I've seen plenty a YouTube videos with countless mods showcasing some amazing features. I can only imagine the maddening hours of coding that go into some of these mods and I'm sure that these guys wouldn't mind a few bucks tossed their way for it.

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Next you have to think of incentive. If John Doe knows that he's getting paid for a particular mod, wouldn't that just give him a bit more incentive to make the mod that much more amazing? We are talking about a game that lets you go out and kill fire breathing dragons with a sword, which is already incredible. If someone is getting paid to make something more awesome than it already is, just imagine the possibilities.

Should this type of paid modding catch on, think of the gaming companies that would jump on board the modding train. If the companies saw a bit of the profit for their original games coming from these modded codes, then surely they'd be more inclined to support the modding community way more than they do now. And, as always, the option to sell your mod is just that; an OPTION.

The Cons

The modding community, again, is a very close knit family. Because of this, you are essentially putting a wedge in the community because some modders may be ecstatic at the fact that they might get paid for some of their work while others may want to tarnish the thought completely. That could easily sever ties between modders who might be friends and work in conjunction with each other.

Speaking of working together, some of these mods build off of previous coding. For example, lets say you want the exploding chickens mod, but in order for it work properly, you have to have the nuclear explosion mod equipped. The nuclear mod is $20 but you only want to pay the $10 for the exploding chickens. You see where the problem lies here now?

Then you have the issue of the big companies charging for modders to use their materials in order to mod properly. At that point, modders would have to increase the prices for their mods. Heaven forbid it become a legal rights and distributing issue.

The Verdict

There are definitely clear pros and cons to the idea of paid modding, but if a company as big as Valve had to take down this feature only days after implementing it then it might not be the best idea. If any other company decides to give this paid mods thing a try they better get ready for a long and challenging ride.

Content originally published here

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