In a news update posted to the Steam Workshop today, Valve employee Alden Kroll announced that the company, in agreement with Bethesda, will be axing the new ‘paid mods’ feature that was introduced to the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Workshop last week:
We’re going to remove the payment feature from the Skyrim workshop. [...] We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing. We’ve been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they’ve been received well. It’s obvious now that this case is different.
It was also stated that users who have made any purchases using the feature since it’s launch will be refunded in full amount.
Kroll also gave about some insight into Valve’s thinking behind the feature:
Our main goals were to allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to, and to encourage developers to provide better support to their mod communities. We thought this would result in better mods for everyone, both free & paid. We wanted more great mods becoming great products, like Dota, Counter-strike, DayZ, and Killing Floor, and we wanted that to happen organically for any mod maker who wanted to take a shot at it.
However, he later went on to say that Valve “underestimated the differences” between previously successful revenue models, expressing that the company felt that they “missed the mark pretty badly“.
See Also: Dividing Profits: The Community’s Reaction to Paid Mods on Steam
Kroll suggested however that Valve may have some interest in exploring the idea further in the future, claiming that the company still “believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here” and that they will be going through the feedback received in due course.
The reaction to the reverse decision so far has been positive, with many people thanking Valve for “doing what’s right” and “listening to the community”. There is still some debate whether a donation oriented adaptation of the feature would be a good idea, which would allow players to optionally tip modders for their work instead, with many expressing support for such an option.
This whole situation was a rare occurrence for Valve. With the strong reputation they have gained within the PC gaming community, it was somewhat painful for Valve followers like ourselves to see the company we have always loved so much be hit hard into the ground by their very own fans. It could be said though that Valve’s ability to admit their mistake and then respond so rapidly and directly like this shows that they are prepared to listen and are indeed a responsible company after all.