So look, the Mod selling seems like a good idea. I don’t think it’s particularly bad or evil–that’s a natural extension of the Steam Workshop and people put hundreds of hours into their mods that we enjoy and would likely push some cash to. The people that made the original game legally need to get paid in this situation too, and Steam itself. Seems all logical, but I can see where things would go terribly wrong, and did. Now that the gaming internet (at least the lords and masters of the glorious race of PC gamers) exploded with vitriol over the IMPLEMENTATION of money for Mods on Steam and the retraction has happened quickly. I think if they work on the implementation, this may actually work out fine.
The thing that this should teach us is this:
1) Valve isn’t evil. And if they don’t have more money than they know what to do with already, I’d be absolutely shocked.
2) Bethesda isn’t evil. They are in a much more tenuous position than Valve, so they need to make money. One bad Elder Scrolls (which I don’t think could happen based on what I know about the company), not including the MMO, could tank their studio. These guys have to squeeze the lemon as hard as they can to even survive. They just need to watch out for stooping to Zynga style shit…
3) We matter as consumers. As shitty people saying shit on the shitty internet we really don’t, but since we, of the GLORIOUS RACE of PC GAMERS are consumers of everything steam, voting with our money or the threat of it his a huge incentive not to collectively piss us off.
My simple solution? Put a DONATE button on mods and the original software developer and steam take a single, small cut each transaction. Will people still steal other people’s mods? Probably, but it solves a major problem just slapping a donate button on there.