The Daily Grind: Would you pay for MMO mods?

    
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The Daily Grind: Would you pay for MMO mods?

The entire internet (only a slight exaggeration there) exploded this week over Valve’s decision to work with selected game studios to allow modders to charge for their amateur game plugins on the Steam Workshop, cutting Valve and said studios a huge slice of the profit pie. Regardless of whether you think paid mods are acceptable, most people seem to agree that Valve hasn’t handled it very well at all, given the number of stolen mods and fraudulent DMCA take-downs flying around the Workshop right about now.

I’ve been modding video games a really long time, both creating my own and obsessively downloading, playing, and tweaking mods made by others. Half the reason I still play World of Warcraft is to tinker with UI addons, and I even created some housing retexes for the late great Star Wars Galaxies. I’ve also made money on some of my non-MMO mods — yes, made money on game mods, 15 years ago when it was a broadly accepted thing. Anyone who was gaming back then remembers Sims paysites, the bandwidth bubble, and the Skindex fiasco; in a weird way, this is all just a little bit of history repeatin’.

I’m certain the slapdash and minimally regulated way Valve is going about it is the wrong way and will surely drive some good modders from the hobby, but I’m not wholly against allowing game modders — let’s be real here, they’re amateur game designers — to go pro and profit from their hard work as long as doing so comports with the game’s EULA. I pay for apps that build on Android; I pay for plugins that build on WordPress. I’m happy to pay for professional work.

At the same time, I don’t love watching the global modding community become monetized and polarized all over again. From an MMO perspective, I worry that the industry is beginning its descent down a slippery slope. MMORPG fans are already divided on whether interface plugins make games too easy or too transparent; will we someday soon be embroiled in feuds over whether paid MMORPG interface plugins create haves and have-nots or make content pay-to-win?

What do you think about the Workshop debacle? Would you pay for MMO mods?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

You shall not for Skyrim anyway.

Yet, in just one day, a popular mod developer made more on the Skyrim paid workshop than he made in all the years he asked for donations.”

Obviously, if someone is making money gamers will insist it be shutdown.
http://games.slashdot.org/story/15/04/28/0156220/valve-pulls-the-plug-on-paid-mods-for-skyrim

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

http://tobolds.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-economics-of-zero-marginal-cost.html

What I find curious about game economics is that there appears to be a large population that is always defending the status quo, even if that status quo is contradictory. Thus among the people complaining most loudly that mods are best if they remain free we also find the same people who previously argued that games are better if they are not for free.

RooWoods
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RooWoods

I never use them so no .

Wakkander
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Wakkander

Ket_Viliano Wakkander carson63000 Great, so now that you have an engine, various open source and free to use commercially tools to do everything you need, you can make your own game, who needs Bethesda! After all surely one man working with these tools can match the level of quality of a multi-year, multi-million dollar project that had 100+ people working on it. No doubt you can create a compelling score with your tools, this jack of all trades who can work so many different aspects of game development is also of course a skilled composer, and voice actor to boot!

If you are at this level and can do all this stuff, why are you making mods and not games?

Surely such a multitalented individual, a modern day samhildánach, can create as popular an IP, write as much content, and design a set of systems just as well as find a way to market to a built in audience of millions. I don’t even know why we are arguing, when is your game set to release? I want to see this one man masterpiece that is able to match the likes of a AAA development studio and budget.

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

SallyBowls1  Good find!

Let the battle of Steam Workshop, commence!

CHARGE!

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1
Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

Wakkander Ket_Viliano carson63000  I damn well know what is in the engine, I use it. Blender, for all its faults, and it has many, can do everything needed as far as graphics go, Audacity can handle sound effects, and other open source software rounds out other needs. Other paid software does some things better than open source, but they charge cash, not points.

As for the game systems, that is what the game developer does, that is the job.

The distribution system has a responsibility to do more than just make a download available, after all a torrent can manage a download. Marketing matters, and for 30 points gross they better get my game in front of every gamer on the planet, or they are not earning their keep.

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

SallyBowls1  30% is a total rip off, considering that the “publisher” is not investing in the studio. Furthermore, the online stores let any troll, dork, or murderhobo post what ever they want, with no curation whatsoever, leaving discovery to chance. What remains is a digital jungle, it would be just as hard to get your game discovered by putting up your own website and hoping people just find and fall in love with the game. The price the digital stores charge the developers is nearly pure profit, as there is no upfront investment in the games, and no reinvestment to fund new games.

To succeed, a studio needs development money, time, wise management focused on quality, and some way to get the game discovered. The digital stores offer nothing to the developer. Check out Gamasutra.com to hear about the trouble indie devs have trying to make and market games.

By comparison, Epic charges 5% for UE4, a complete game engine, and they are now accepting submissions for free, no strings attached grants up to 50k. Kickstarter is also a 5% deal, and keep in mind these are points gross, there are only 100 points to go around, and they run out fast.

wjowski
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wjowski

breetoplay wjowski 
Even the most in-depth, most intricate mod cannot compare to building a video game (a real one, not a piece of crap smartphone distraction) from scratch.

wjowski
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wjowski

Midgetsnowman Lethality 
Given how every other article posted here about specific MMOs is peppered with obnoxious ‘Waiting for F2P’ posts I’d say he raises a salient fucking point.