Should modders be paid

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Posted by urbangamez (3394 posts) 1 year, 10 months ago

Poll: Should modders be paid (36 votes)

yes 33%
no 67%

In a recent roundtable interview valve expressed the view basically that "people should be rewarded for creating value"

i think modders should be paid, i think it would encourage more innovation as modders would be motivated even more to invest quality time in improving games.

gamers can decide for themselves if a particular mod is worth it. the best mods for me are ones that are expansion packs (skyrim) and detailed graphic improvements (stalker)

Avatar image for uninspiredcup
#1 Edited by uninspiredcup (29172 posts) -

If it's something to the quality of Black Mesa, no issues. It's basically a entirely remake game. It's readily apparent the work put into it.

That didn't seem to be Valves vision though, it seems from Team Fortress 2 and card trading they say big £££ from little trinkets, microtranscation where you buy items and skins that make games like Skyrim amount to £100's of pounds, across all games, with users doing the leg-work and Publishers gleefully taking a cut.

Killing Floor 2 was implementing a microtransactions system before it was even out of Early Access, no expansion worthy content, or even maps, a barrage of segmented items through a integrated shop-front.

No thanks.

Avatar image for Random_Matt
#2 Posted by Random_Matt (3476 posts) -

Nope.

Avatar image for howmakewood
#3 Posted by Howmakewood (5527 posts) -

If the modders paid the publisher of the game for using their product for monetary gain I could see it being possible. Personally wouldn't mind paying for top quality mod content.

Avatar image for mrbojangles25
#4 Edited by mrbojangles25 (42343 posts) -

I will answer your question with a question:

should we pay for mods?

no...no...no

Part of the way the world works is called "putting in your dues" and that means working a day job while building a portfolio, like making content for a free mod because ultimately you want to get into the business of game making.

I think it's both petty and backwards that these people should be able to pursue a hobby and get paid for it. They do this for fun, for the hell of it; no one contracts them to make mods.

If they want to take the plunge from mod maker to game developer, then I totally will pay for that (either by buying their product or maybe via kickstarter), but they need to shit or get off the pot...you can't have your cake and eat it too.

There's obviously grey areas; some mods do in fact turn into full-blown developments (Black Mesa, as others have said), but I can see this getting out of hand really really really fast.

DLC is already bad enough, do we really want paid mods?

*And what comes next? All these beautiful open SDKs are suddenly going to become closed, paid-for things because mods are suddenly commodities and you must pay for them, and we don't want some altruistic modder releasing the same thing for free because he got his hands on the SDK?

Hey, why pay $20 for Jack's mod when Joe is releasing his for free and does the same thing. Oh damn, Valve just made the SDK cost $5,000 now 90% of the community can't mod...

Screw that...

Avatar image for JigglyWiggly_
#5 Posted by JigglyWiggly_ (24621 posts) -

I think you should be able to charge for them if you'd like to.

Avatar image for BassMan
#6 Posted by BassMan (9431 posts) -

@JigglyWiggly_ said:

I think you should be able to charge for them if you'd like to.

This. Leave it up to the creator if they want to charge for the content or give it to the community for free.

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#7 Posted by ShadowDeathX (11686 posts) -

I think the option for paid mods should be there but the majority of the money should go to the mod developers. The distributor and the original game's developer/publisher should get a smaller share.

But why?

  • It gives mod developers a revenue stream to support their projects. Instead of being a side thing that might never finish, these mod developers can possibly start doing mods as career.
  • Having $$$ as an option will encourage more talented people to dedicated themselves to create and expand their projects.
  • With the original game developer/publisher also getting a bit of the money, this will encourage developers to have mod support and mod tools built for the game. It might even become an important thing to them while in development instead of an afterthought or completely ignore it.

I was for paid mods when Valve and Bethesda announced it a while ago, but the implementation was not done correctly. Also, Bethesda was taking way too much of the cut. The mod developer should at minimum get 50% of the mod's revenue and not anything less.

Avatar image for KHAndAnime
#8 Edited by KHAndAnime (17565 posts) -

Sure, why not?

@uninspiredcup said:

If it's something to the quality of Black Mesa, no issues. It's basically a entirely remake game. It's readily apparent the work put into it.

That didn't seem to be Valves vision though, it seems from Team Fortress 2 and card trading they say big £££ from little trinkets, microtranscation where you buy items and skins that make games like Skyrim amount to £100's of pounds, across all games, with users doing the leg-work and Publishers gleefully taking a cut.

Killing Floor 2 was implementing a microtransactions system before it was even out of Early Access, no expansion worthy content, or even maps, a barrage of segmented items through a integrated shop-front.

No thanks.

What in the flying fart does microtransactions in games have to do with this?

You might as well be talking about the Quran right now.

Avatar image for PredatorRules
#9 Posted by PredatorRules (12287 posts) -

I don't know you ask Garry who made Garry's Mod :P

Don't forget modders using ready game engine, which means if the modder get paid then the dev should too.

I think it's a fair trade off with gamers and devs, the more popular the modding community the game sells more.

Should modders get paid more for bringing more sells? might be, depends on the mod rating - it's already been done with CS GO this way with custom made skins.

Avatar image for Kh1ndjal
#10 Posted by Kh1ndjal (2758 posts) -

there needs to be flexibility in the system. it's not easy, but a simple method would be a donation option. we're living in a time where twitch streamers can get donations for streaming, so i don't see why mod authors can't.

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#11 Posted by skipper847 (7290 posts) -

More like a donate button at most. I have only paid for one mod which was Garrys Mod which I didn't realize was a mod until later. If I had have known it was a mod I would not have purchased it.

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#12 Posted by The_Stand_In (995 posts) -

@skipper847 said:

More like a donate button at most.

So much this.

I like the way Nexus Mods does it, where mods are free but you can CHOOSE to have a donation button pop up if you want to make a little money off your creation and to encourage people to donate. The better your mod, the more views you will get, the more likely someone will contribute.

Of course modders CAN reserve the right to charge for their creations and put them up on their own/other sites with paid sections if those exist. They do have that right, assuming the publisher of the game is cool with it. But considering people like to "try before they buy" (especially with player generated content which varies wildly from craptacular to superb and can often be buggy or broken by official updates), it's not really a sustainable model in my opinion.

That's kind of why I think the donation option is the best route. I think we all saw and hopefully learned from the Skyrim paid mod debacle...

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#13 Posted by brownsdragon (37 posts) -

Kind of yes and no. Modding does takes a lot of work and could merit payment, but wouldn't that be a problem copyright-wise with the IP owners? I mean, sure, the modders are making their own thing, but they're using somebody else's game to do it. On the other hand, maybe it's like how we use a word processing software but I doubt we need to pay the developers to write and publish a book from their software....? I dunno, I don't know if that's a good analogy, but yeah.

I agree with a couple other posters about donations though. But again, it all comes back to the developer's policy on it.

Avatar image for _SKatEDiRt_
#14 Posted by _SKatEDiRt_ (3117 posts) -

If you want to pay for mods just DONATE. but dont drag us all down with you

Avatar image for KHAndAnime
#15 Edited by KHAndAnime (17565 posts) -

@_SKatEDiRt_ said:

If you want to pay for mods just DONATE. but dont drag us all down with you

Better yet, if you don't want to pay for a paid mod...don't buy it!

I'd argue the free-loaders who object to anyone paying money for mods are the ones dragging us all down. Valve is trying to give modders more incentives to create higher-quality mods. Instead people seem to want things of lower quality because free (socialism anyone?)

Honestly, people can take their socialist tendencies and shove them far up their ass. Valve just wants to give content creators options and encouragement. Ultimately this would benefit everyone.

Avatar image for _SKatEDiRt_
#16 Posted by _SKatEDiRt_ (3117 posts) -

@KHAndAnime: I have no problem paying for mods. i thought the OP was saying paying for mods was mandatory.

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#17 Posted by skipper847 (7290 posts) -

What about copy right on mods what take after tv shows etc?. Like a star trek mod or what ever.

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#18 Posted by urbangamez (3394 posts) -

@_SKatEDiRt_: can't be mandatory, its a free market, gamers decide if a particular mod or game is worth it.

@skipper847: @brownsdragon: i think that modders should negotiate for no more than a 25% of earnings royalty fee for ip owers and no money for valve from sales. any figure higher than 25% is an extreme tax on productivity. might as well do it for nothing. the 25% fee would be shared for ip's that have multiple copyright owners.

reason for this is, ip owners will then get nearly 100% earnings from the sale of each game that a gamer adds a mod to, as the 25% fee from modders would actually be the sales commission for valve from new sales of the game with mod, and fees from mods on games with prior ownership would function as retroactive compensation from having to pay valve a sales commission in the first place.

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#19 Posted by _SKatEDiRt_ (3117 posts) -

@urbangamez: never said it had to be mandatory lol

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#20 Edited by Travis_Odell (1775 posts) -

I have to say no, if you mod a game take the donations and run. If it's really great mod then yes but tbh there few an far between. I can only think of a handful of really big game changers that blew my mind. I can think of most as cheap thrill.

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#21 Edited by Yams1980 (3023 posts) -

i gotta say no here. Far too many mods are extensions of other mods and so on. Paying someone for a mod ends up screwing over the other people who made that mod possible. Rarely you see mods that are unique on their own and usually built upon previous mods.

Also Steam is so ultra greedy, they take an unfair portion of the profit... so the modders get very little. its all about steam here, they want to extend their profits at any cost and want to reopen old wounds like the last time they pulled this trick with charging for mods.

The only positive side to this that i can see is having a cash reward for making mods will likely make people who previously maybe wouldn't make one get into it... and possibly there would be higher quality mods with more professionals making them. But this is just wishful thinking and could easily go the other way and just open up to really crappy mods that are stolen from other mods and slightly changed and resold by scammers.

The negatives here far outweigh the positives.

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#22 Edited by deactivated-5bda06edf37ee (4675 posts) -

If they would get paid, we'd get more quality mods, but on the other hand...

They would get the money from the gamers = paid mods = more like "community DLC" rather than mods. I think that would also cut out the free mods almost completely, since everyone would try to cash in with their half-assed mods

I guess as a person who generally hates mods, i think i would still support them getting paid. That way i could maybe someday see a mod that would peak my interest. I generally find mods to be shoddy, uninteresting POS. I personally think that about 1% of the mods are well made and maybe worth a try. Rest of it is utter trash.

But it would be problematic for the publisher to sell community crap; they would need tons of resources for QA, since they are asking money from the mods. They then need to take some responsibility of it too. Now they don't need to, since it's free community junk.

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#23 Posted by R4gn4r0k (29497 posts) -

If modder put a game out on the market they most definitely should be paid.

Some games I played from modders; Day of Defeat, Insurgency, Red Orchestra are some of the best games I've ever played.

As for mods in games it remains tricky to judge.

It's always nice if a game developer holds a mapping or modding competition. and rewards the best entries.

This stimulates modding more and making it into a profession, than paying for mods by consumers.

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#24 Edited by KHAndAnime (17565 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k said:

As for mods in games it remains tricky to judge.

It's always nice if a game developer holds a mapping or modding competition. and rewards the best entries.

This stimulates modding more and making it into a profession, than paying for mods by consumers.

Why? I think this is a really far-fetched claim. Maybe if this was Mars or an Alien civilization...but this is Earth. Most people don't like to work for free. I'm not sure what planet you're from where everybody loves to work and not get paid.

Would you go to work every day if your employer drew a couple names out of a hat every couple weeks and only paid those people? You really think that's going to incentivize more people to work than giving every person an opportunity to make money based on merit?

And not directed at you particularly, but why is nearly everyone answering this question as if it were: "should all mods cost money?" - that's not the question. Yet that seems to be the question that everyone seems to think is being asked in this thread.

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#25 Posted by R4gn4r0k (29497 posts) -

@KHAndAnime said:

Why? I think this is a really far-fetched claim. Maybe if this was Mars or an Alien civilization...but this is Earth. Most people don't like to work for free. I'm not sure what planet you're from where everybody loves to work and not get paid.

Would you go to work every day if your employer drew a couple names out of a hat every couple weeks and only paid those people? You really think that's going to incentivize more people to work than giving every person an opportunity to make money based on merit?

And not directed at you particularly, but why is nearly everyone answering this question as if it were: "should all mods cost money?" - that's not the question. Yet that seems to be the question that everyone seems to think is being asked in this thread.

Because I have seen the results of such things.

People making mods for a hobby at first and actually being able to make a profession out of it... a studio... with multiple games. Sometimes just by winning a contest from a bigger developer...

Please tell me how many studios have been formed and full games have been released funded by stuff like "microtransaction" mods. Where you can pay for indivdual mods in games.

I use steam workshop on a daily basis, have been using mods since as far back as I have been using the internet. I have bought many games from indie studios/former hobbyists. Why the hell would I ever pay for a tiny "microtransaction" mod in a game ? Why ?

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#26 Posted by fend_oblivion (6732 posts) -

I'm all for rewarding modders for the work they do but after the way DLC turned out, and how micro-transactions are ruining otherwise great games (Phantom Pain comes to mind), I have a feeling that paid mods will be as bad as 2 and a half dollars for Horse Armour, if not worse.

I'd rather they allow us to donate money to modders.

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#27 Edited by styrnephim (26 posts) -

Sorry for the wall of text guys, TLDR just look at the bold text below.

This poll was very interesting. But its results, and many of the posts, show also why it cannot be up to the gamers to decide or vote on such an issue.

The gamers will essentially adapt according to their tastes and what they want to pay for.

But only modders know exactly the kind of toxicity it is "to work for free on a game expansion".

Even among modders, we can assume many are "mini-mod modders" who cannot really understand why supporting mods with money could be important.

I am not here speaking about the many mini-mods who do a little stuff and can be created overnight.

These are actually not blocked currently by the free model, and they will continue to exist in a free model or in a paid model; so we can, and we should, completely disregard these in this debate.

I am talking about all these "major expansion mods", which essentially started to appear in the forum-era of mods and started to disappear in the "workshop era" of mods, or to be less apparent and with less community, for no 'obvious' reason.

There has been many games in the four last years with extensive creation tools, where one can deliver a good total conversion over three months work. Yet the number of good mods released that way, and stable, can usually be counted on a single hand for a game

There are not "more total conversions" than 8 years before, but actually less, whereas the number of nicely moddable games have largely expanded. Take Civilization IV and its "Fall from Heaven 2" mod; the later Civilization titles took much more time before having a similar expansion (and actually did not, AFAIK, thuogh one can build a compilation of smaller mods). Take Medieval Total War and it's Lord of the Rings mod; later total war titles took long before having such mods; whereas Total Warhammer I and II are very moddable, it took time before having some total conversions, and they don't take it as far. Also, they have less community than the usual minimod, so a much smaller gain and traction for the modders.

Take Grim Dawn; it's heavily moddable, it's great, but it's large mods were almost all dropped with the expansion and are not followed by many people.

The younger programmers are still making minimods, or larger mods for some ; but every two months or six months a new game is released which attract them and the previous mod is abandoned. The good programmers have aged a bit and have understood they can't continue working for months for free, they want to commit to a game but they can no longer. The fact there are more moddable games is actually taking people away from their projects to move there.

And it's normal, since they make it for fun, they have more fun creating content on the latest cool game with the latest cool tools; and they have more chances at building a community there when the game has just been released. Steamcharts shows when a community drops. When it's too late, it's too late. People continue working on their mod as long as they feel they gain "something" from it: fun (but it can be found on another released game); community (but as playerbase drops, it drops too) and... nothing else. Hiring potential is weak, meaning a few people get noticed and hired, one or two per game. Some modders are hired, but trust me if they would have dedicated the same time making their own game as a programmer, they would not even have been looking for a job.

You have better chances getting hired as community manager after replying to every post that comes out for three months. It's less efforts, it's easier and it works (some hired at every game too).

Programmers themselves, they are the guys who have things which can "bug", "crash", who must follow every game expansion and contiune working on their mod, for essentially no money and a small community. And as we can guess, they don't; most mods are abandoned after a year.

Graphic artists can work on any project they want and build a portfolio. Programmers need a long commitment (and to iron out all possible bugs) to build a programmer portfolio ; game designers need to be programmer too and an even longer commitment to balance things out, and build a game designer portfolio. So yes, it will help them too if we switch to a money based model.

There is much gain to have with a money-based model; it essentialy should inspire modders to make teams or at least to pay new arts for creative content (to avoid copyright problems), and release larger contents with longer support, and to commit again after each expansion. And, if you take the publisher's viewpoint, it rewards them a lot for making their game moddable; essentially bringing them sales for tens of user-made "expansions". If we follow the Valve version, 75 percent of sales are for the publisher, which makes it interesting for them too.

For the publisher and developer, having paid mods is a very positive decision, with 100% gains. Every moddable game will bring new user-made expansions. But it's much better and less risky if it's handled by Steam, that way the publisher does not take community and perception risks.

For the modder, it's a very positive decision, with gains and tradeoffs in commitment and creative content. Essentially speaking, modders should be more involved creatively.

For the players, it makes more expansions to enjoy and make these expansion more complete and more stable.

But players have decisions to take when purchasing a mod; that's the only con.

Also, for all the reasons you have mentioned above, it's important to have some sort of rules / convention about mods and a way to report fake mods, that will restrict the copycats and increase the creativity. I am all for supporting major expansions.

The current model works for graphic artists wanting to build a portfolio, but does not work for programmers.

Mods are always dropped, programmers have no incentive to continue, and it's toxic. Yeah, some programmer-modders will get noticed, but programmer-modders can actually develop their own games and develop a more compatible portfolio to get noticed that way, just by developing their own game.

I have been down that route many times, dedicating a few months into a total conversion, making sure it works, but being unable to support it later. Now I can't stand the toxicity of the free mod model. I still work on a mod from time to time, to reward the developer for providing such tools, and always end up as the top three mods in the works at release; but have to drop it after three months; exhausted, in debt, and punished for my previous involvement.

For that reason, I now work on making my own games, and I am actually sad of not being able to continue making total conversion mods. Also, sorry for the bad english, I am not a native speaker... ;)

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#28 Posted by mrbojangles25 (42343 posts) -

No, modding is amateur. By it's very nature, it is not professional.

There needs to be a middle area between making an actual game and playing the game, and modding is it. It's where a lot of people get their start in the gaming industry; they play games as kids, get an SDK for it, and start making mods. This leads to interest, a creative outlet, and suddenly they're going to school for it.

I feel it is, in a sense, how a developer "pays their dues" early on in their career; before you make it to the big time, you gotta put in some ugly underpaid work, and this is how a lot of people build their portfolio.

There are obviously exceptions. If there is industry-grade modding being done, such as with Black Mesa (mentioned above) and it is officially sanctioned by the original IP holders, then by all means pay them; there is a lot value and demand to that.

Additionally, I would argue if we start paying modders, it'd be bad for the industry AND consumers because many developers and publishers barely tolerate modding as it is; if we start paying for mods instead of actual games, they might go out of their way to prevent modding entirely. As long as it stays free, there will be less regulation.

I love mods; Half-Life was one of my earlier games, and the amount of added-value I got to that game from the plethora of mods--Team Fortress Classic, Counterstrike (beta), Action Half-Life, and slew of others--gave me YEARS of gaming that I didn't have to pay for. But at the same time, I recognized that I shouldn't pay for them because frankly the quality was quite low (no fault of their own, these people often have day jobs...) and they are made using someone else's IP.

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#29 Posted by PfizersaurusRex (1185 posts) -

LOL I thought you meant modders on Gamespot. As for game modders, that's up to the publishers. It's probably best to let the modders accept donations, but not let them sell their mods. And perhaps add some mods as official DLC's and in that case, pay the modders, of course. That's what I would do if I were a publisher with a good game.

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#30 Edited by PredatorRules (12287 posts) -

@styrnephim: Sorry you had to write this "wall of text" but it's a 1 year, 8 months ago year old thread.

Locked.