Gabe Newell

Valve’s Founder Gabe Newell Talks About Its New Modding Policy: “Our goal is to make modding better”

Gabe Newell, founder of Valve, decided to share his thoughts on his company’s new modding policy. In a Reddit AMA, Gabe Newell answered a number of questions about paid mods. As Newell claimed, Valve’s goal is to make modding better for both creators and gamers.

As Gabe Newell said:

“Our goal is to make modding better for the authors and gamers. 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.”

Gabe also revealed why Skyrim was the first game with which Valve decided to test this new policy.

“Skyrim is a great example of a game that has benefitted enormously from the MODs. The option for paid MODs is supposed to increase the investment in quality modding, not hurt it.

About half of Valve came straight out of the MOD world. John Cook and Robin Walker made Team Fortress as a Quake mod. Ice frog made DOTA as a Warcraft 3 mod. Dave Riller and Dario Casali we Doom and Quake mappers. John Guthrie and Steve Bond came to Valve because John Carmack thought they were doing the best Quake C development. All of them were liberated to just do game development once they started getting paid. Working at Waffle House does not help you make a better game.”

Gabe also claimed that Valve loves MODs in general, and that the open nature of PC gaming is why Valve exists, and is critical to the current and future success of PC gaming.

Gabe afterwards revealed why Valve decided to support paid mods.

“Our view of Steam is that it’s a collection of useful tools for customers and content developers.

With the Steam workshop, we’ve already reached the point where the community is paying their favorite contributors more than they would make if they worked at a traditional game developer. We see this as a really good step.

The option of MOD developers getting paid seemed like a good extension of that.”

When a fan asked Newell about one of the biggest issues of paid mods (people ripping mods from places like Nexus and re-uploading as their own), Newell had this to say:

“This is a straight-forward problem. Between ours and the community’s policing, I’m confident that the authors will have control over their creations, not someone trying to rip them off.”

When another fan asked why Valve was getting a 75% cut of profits, Newell said that the cut is set by the game (each game sets its own share), and not by Valve.

Last but not least, Newell talked a bit about donations and said that Valve will be adding a pay what you want button where the mod author can set the starting amount wherever they want.