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Valve kills paid mods on Steam, will refund Skyrim mod buyers

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Just a few days after launching paid mods on Steam through the Skyrim Workshop, Valve is removing the payment option, citing customer feedback. Valve says it will refund Steam users who purchased a Skyrim mod on Steam.

"We've done this because it's clear we didn't understand exactly what we were doing," Valve said in a post on Steam. "We've been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they've been received well. It's obvious now that this case is different."

Valve said its intention in introducing paid mods through Steam was to "allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to, and to encourage developers to provide better support to their mod communities."

"We wanted more great mods becoming great products, like Dota, Counter-strike, DayZ and Killing Floor, and we wanted that to happen organically for any mod maker who wanted to take a shot at it," Valve said.

"But we underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim's workshop. We understand our own game's communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there's a useful feature somewhere here."

Valve says it will be "chewing through" customer feedback on its attempts to bring paid mods to Steam Workshop.

Bethesda Softworks also weighed in on the issue, saying of the removal, "Even though we had the best intentions, the feedback has been clear — this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you."

Valve added the payment option to Skyrim's Steam Workshop last week, letting mod makers charge for their creations and set their own prices. Response to the addition was widely negative, with Steam users submitting negative reviews of Skyrim and the initial batch of paid mods. After "pissing off the Internet," Valve co-founder Gabe Newell attempted to address customer concerns over paid mods on Reddit this weekend.

"Our goal is to make modding better for the authors and gamers," Newell said in reply to one Redditor. "If something doesn't help with that, it will get dumped. Right now I'm more optimistic that this will be a win for authors and gamers, but we are always going to be data driven."

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