Yesterday, Bethesda’s Pete Hines sat down with GameSpot to talk about the paid mods feature that came to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim back in April. Whether it was due to the ludicrous money revenue split that resulted in modders only receiving 25% per, the lack of quality control, the fact that modders where stealing assets from one another, or simply the fact that people had to suddenly start paying for things that used to be free, no one seemed to like Steam’s paid mod feature. Needless to say, the monetization model proved controversial and received criticism from nearly every corner of the Steam and Skyrim communities.
As a result, Bethesda suspended the program almost as soon as it started, amidst accusations that the Art of the Catch mod was using stolen assets from another mod. In his conversation with GameSpot, Hines explained that Bethesda came up with the idea for allowing modders to charge for their mods after receiving a request from the modding community:
“We had creators who said, ‘I’ve been asking for donations for years and never saw anything, and I made more in one day.’ So why would I not support that?”
In addition to probing Hines about the fairness of the revenue split, GameSpot also asked if there was any way the program could come back. Hines diplomatically said it was possible, but that the company was focused on “bigger fish” (like Fallout 4) at the moment:
“I honestly, genuinely, don’t know what it means for the future. It was an idea we worked on with those guys for Skyrim; it didn’t pan out. It came back down.”
“I think our stance on it is we’re going to re-evaluate it going forward. I think that we feel like there is a case to be made that people who spend a lot of time working on mods ought to be able to have a way of monetizing what they’re doing.
“Honestly, [we have] bigger fish to fry right now than sorting that out.”
Even if the program returns in some form, Todd Howard, the Game Director of Fallout 4, previously said (to Kotaku) that there are “no plans” to add paid mods to Fallout 4.