Valve's Gabe Newell Battles Internet Flames Over Steam Mod Sales During Reddit AMA

My, my, my. How fast loyalties can change. We reported yesterday that Valve had just launched the ability for modders to pawn their wares on Steam - starting with Skyrim - and right out-of-the-gate, modders and regular gamers alike took to the Web to express their rage.

It's not just one single element that leads many to believe that this is a dangerous move by Valve. At the core, game modding has always been about community, and I personally can't even remember hearing about a paid mod before. Typically, if a modder wants to be paid for their efforts, they'd accept donations. But now, Valve is encouraging modders to consider selling their mods regardless of quality, the amount of effort that went into them, or their actual worth to the gamer.

Steam Skyrim

Here's something else to consider: Valve is a company which owes its success to mods -- free mods, at that. Team Fortress Classic? It began as a mod. Counter-Strike? Ditto. Day of Defeat? Left 4 Dead? Dota 2? Mod, mod, and mod.

To help quell the anger, Valve's Gabe Newell took to reddit yesterday to conduct an AMA (ask me anything). While much of what he said was accepted as suitable, what we saw for the first time ever was the PC Master Race's lord and savior being downvoted to oblivion with some comments.

Here's the best example:

Gabe Newell reddit

There are a couple of interesting things to note here; first, Gabe received thousands of downvotes, while the user who replied to him received reddit gold a staggering 22 times. I do not recall ever seeing a comment gilded so much (it costs users about $4 to gild someone). There's also the fact that the user makes an extremely good point. Modding has been an enormous success without Valve's help, so any excuse the company has at this point isn't likely to sway many opinions.

To see this happening is mind-blowing, because until this mod mechanic rollout, Valve was treated as a company that could do very little wrong, and Gabe, as mentioned before, has been exalted.

With a reaction like this, it'd be surprising if Valve didn't make some major change with regards to this mechanic. One thing that would help a lot is instead of these mods having a purchase button, they'd have donation buttons instead. That'd align Valve's system with how other modding websites have handled the money situation up to this point.

Even if you're not a modder or fan of mods yourself, this is a fascinating story to see play out.