Bethesda opens up about Skyrim paid mods controversy

Bethesda's Pete Hines has talked to GameSpot about last April's controversy surrounding paid mods for The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim in the Steam Workshop. Here's a quick recap: earlier this year, Valve introduced paid mods in Steam Workshop, allowing mod creators to charge for their work. Skyrim was the pilot game for the program. Proceeds from paid mods were divided among Bethesda, Valve, and the mod's author. That went about as well as tossing water into hot oil, as the gaming community's furious reaction eventually led Valve to cancel the whole thing a few days later.

In the interview, Hines says he would like to see paid mods return in some form, but he doesn't provide any details on how that could happen. He does say that "our stance on it is we're going to re-evaluate it going forward." The company does think that mod authors should have a way to make money from their work, and Hines points out that some mod authors were fans of the program as it stood. He says some modders made more money in one day through the Workshop program than they ever got through donations.

The money-sharing arrangement between Valve, publishers, and modders was also discussed. When paid mods launched for Skyrim, the percentages were set at 45% for Bethesda, 30% for Valve, and 25% for the creator. Hines told Gamespot that if paid mods were to return, Bethesda would still want a cut of the proceeds, even if it's a different percentage. "Our belief is, 'we made the game, we made the game you're making a thing for.' So just like anything else, there is some kind of involvement that we're going to have in that".

For the moment, modders shouldn't expect a return of the paid mod system in the near future, since Bethesda is busy with other projects. "Honestly, [we have] bigger fish to fry right now than sorting that out," Hines said.

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