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Paid mods encourage developers to release broken games

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It’s been four days since Steam announced it was introducing paid mods, starting with Skyrim, which means every gamer and their dog has had plenty of time to say that it’s a bad idea. The popular argument seems to be that paid mods will lead to the destruction of the modding community. Turning modding into a quick buck rather than an artistic endeavor done out of love for a game goes against everything that modding is supposed to be. There’s also the potential for abuse. People were quick to point out that unscrupulous modders could overcharge for work that takes only a couple of hours, or that buggy mods would rip people off, or that modders might charge for work that isn’t theirs. The latter actually occurred a couple of days after the paid mods scheme was introduced, with a mod called “Art of the Catch” being taken down for apparently using content from another modder, Fore, without permission. That mod maker, Chesko, has since said that Valve told him it was okay to use content from other people’s mods.

Then there’s the argument that Valve is messing with a system that works. Modding has been around almost as long as gaming, and plenty of the titles that are staples in any Steam library today owe much of their success to the modding community. Case in point: Skyrim, and any other Elder Scrolls or Fallout game. The free availability of a multitude of mods has meant those games continue to be bought and played long after they otherwise would have. Skyrim itself, now three and a half years old, continues to be played by countless gamers because of the plethora of new and interesting mods being made available on the Steam Workshop and on Nexus Mods. People are rightly saying that it’s a bit rich to hear from companies like Bethesda and Valve, both of them companies that owe much of their success to the modding community, that they now want us to pay for mods.

And then there are the proponents of paid mods, though you may struggle to find them. Most of their arguments have been drowned out over the din of people angry about Valve’s decision to mess with modding. Gabe Newell himself went on Reddit yesterday to defend the move, but you may struggle to find some of his comments, with many of them downvoted to oblivion. Their number one argument is that having paid mods is no big deal. Nobody’s being forced to pay to for them, and modders can still choose to make their work free. And since modders are always asking for donations anyway, how much has really changed? Right? Well, it turns out modders might have to continue asking for donations because Valve and Bethesda are taking 75% of profits from all Skyrim mods. How much goes to Valve and how much to Bethesda hasn’t been disclosed, but unless modders are selling their work by the bucketload, they shouldn’t expect to make a lot of money out of this. And in his AMA, Gabe Newell himself stated the paid mods had only generated $10,000 of revenue. And only 25% of that went to modders.

This brings us to the argument not a lot of people seem to be making, or at least the one that hasn’t been shouted the loudest. It’s not about how paid mods will affect the players. It’s about how they’ll affect developers. Now we all know there are plenty of big developers who have struggled over the past few years to, you know, actually finish their games before they release them. Players are sick and tired of paying top dollar for games that are so buggy they’re barely playable. *Cough* Watchdogs *Cough* Assassins’ Creed Unity *Cough* Well, you know what they are. So how are players going to feel now that developers have even less incentive to release working games? I guess we’ll find out soon, because that’s exactly what’s going to happen thanks to these paid mods. Remember how broken Watchdogs was when it first released? I myself had to download a mod patch just to get rid of the game-breaking lag. Imagine if there had been paid mods back then. Modders would have been stumbling over themselves to release their own patch for the game, which means we would have had to shell out even more money just to get the game to work. And where would 75% of that money have gone? Straight back into Ubisoft’s hands.

This is the real problem behind paid mods. It’s not that it’ll destroy the modding community – it’s that it’ll destroy anybody’s ability to trust that when they buy a game, they’re buying a complete, finished product. Developers can save money by releasing broken, unfinished games, and then rake in even more money as people pay for the mods to fix the games the developers should have finished in the first place. So developers actually make more money by making their games more broken. It’s not paying for mods that’s the problem here. It’s who’s being paid. Maybe hard working modders should be able to make some sort of profit – even a living – off their work. It’s not going to destroy PC gaming as we know it. But paying developers for mods just might.

Rhiannon likes video games and she likes writing, so she decided to combine them. As well as writing about video games, she also belts out the occasional science fiction or fantasy story, edits videos, and eats strawberry oreos. In that order.

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Ten million people play The First Descendant in its first week

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The free-to-play shooter The First Descendant has gotten a lot of attention in its first week. The game’s publisher, Nexon, says that 10 million people have already tried it out.

Insider Gaming pointed out that since there is no cost up front, it’s still too early to tell how many of those players will stick around, but it’s still a big number for a new IP. On Steam alone, it peaked at 264,860 concurrents right after launch and has still managed to break 200,000 in the last 24 hours, so it looks like a lot of people are still really into the game.

It was a “mindless and repetitive grind,” and we gave The First Descendant a 3/10 in our review. Of course, that’s just one opinion; other experts have had different ones. Most people, though, say that the game’s annoying free-to-play model is the worst thing about it.

Are you one of the millions of people who played The First Descendant last week? Are you going to come back for more? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Raiden, the famous shmup series, will come back as a twin-stick shooter on PS5, PS4, and PC

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Raiden has a long and interesting history as a vertical shooter in arcades. However, the series is going to get a Super Stardust HD makeover, which means it will switch to a twin-stick format. It comes out in Japan on October 31. There’s no word yet on when it will come out in the West, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

A Gematsu translation of the game’s website says that the full version will have an arcade mode with up to six stages. There will also be an “Unlimited” option for people who want to be at the top of the rankings. It sounds like a pretty straightforward package in terms of what’s inside, but we think the action will be what makes it worth it.

There’s a trailer up top that should help you figure out what to expect. There are, however, different versions of Raiden 3, Raiden 4, and Raiden 5 that you can play right now on the PS5 and PS4, if you can’t wait for this game to come out in the West.

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Bandai Namco and Nike designed Tekken 8 sneakers with tag-team designs

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Nike, the maker of high-quality shoes, is working with Bandai Namco, the company that makes the Tekken series, to make a pair of sneakers. The fun competition is part of the franchise’s 30th anniversary celebrations. You can get your own pair for $250 or the equivalent in your country, though they’ll probably be worth a lot more on the sneakerhead black market.

Two pairs of Tekken 8 x Nike Air Foamposite One Fist sneakers are set to come out in September 2024, according to shoe fan Sole Retriever (thanks, VGC). The designs are based on Kazuya and Jin, two main characters in the series. You can get them at Nike and some other stores. People who like hypebeasts and fighting games are likely to buy these quickly, so if you like Tekken and shoes that make people talk, you should probably act fast.

Should Bandai Namco and Nike work together? What do you think? Are you going to fight for your own pair? Make sure to take good care of your shoes and keep their value in the comments section below.

 

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