Update: 53,000 signatures and counting
Petition’s are not exactly an uncommon sight these days. They tend to follow intense Internet anger which in itself is incredibly common, usually drawing loads of signatures at first and then sort of dying out as something also draws the ire of gamers.
However, Valve’s decision to allow modders to charge people for their creations, currently only available for Skyrim but with other games to follow, has seen an unusually intense backlash. A petition on change.org has thus far drawn, at the time of writing, 39,000 signatures in just 24-hours, and that number is rising rapidly.
“The workshop is a place for people to share content with each other they made so all can enjoy it for free.” states the petition. It continues, “Mods should be a free creation. Creations made by people who wish to add to the game so others can also enjoy said creation with the game.”
They do make one error, saying, ” Valve has now erected a paywall for the mods.” which makes it sound like all mods must now be paid for. That’s not the case as I pointed out in my initial news post the other day; creators can opt for the mod to be free, have a fixed price or allower purchasers to pay what they wish, with selectable minimum if desired.
Quite a few of the people signing seem to agree with my own views, that there’s nothing wrong with the concept of modders being able to earn money from their work, but that Valve’s current system is hugely flawed, and that a donate button or only allowing a “pay what you want” scheme would make far more sense.
Petition signer Joe D’Amore said this:
“Valve’s monetization of Steam Workshop mods – in it’s current state – is very detrimental to the PC modding ecosystem as a whole.
Additionally, in its current state, many developers responsible for very, VERY influential mods (such as SKSE in the case of Skyrim) will not be seeing a single cent of revenue despite the fact that many, many mods relying on content from SKSE will be sold.
Valve has demonstrated a complete inability to curate content (see: Greenlight and Early Access), and it isn’t going to be any better with paid mods. Nobody is going to be there to stop scammers from selling mods that are free elsewhere, and in the end the only people who stand to win is Valve, who gets to take a slice of the pie while doing nothing in return.” His final comment refers to Valve taking a 75% of the mods total sale value.
Meanwhile the Steam forums are currently flooded with angry people who seem to vastly outweigh those in favour of the new system, though it can be hard to tell by how much.
The change.org petition can’t force Valve to do anything, however if it continues to grow and doesn’t just stall like most anger-created petitions do then it will become increasingly difficult to ignore it and the irate gamers on Steam.
You can read my own person opinion on the new system by checking out this piece
Do you think it’ll last? I’d be surprised if in the face of this backlash, Steam don’t backpedal soon enough. I hope so, anyway.
I think Valve will attempt to wait a week or even two simply to see if its your standard Internet explosion. Petition’s are not uncommon these days, and the anger often dies down in just a few days.
But we’re now at 53,000 sigs and counting. That’s impressive, and shows some genuine hatred. Provided such momentum is changed I think Steam may have to revise their policy.