Newell takes to Reddit to defends premium Steam mods

Such has been the backlash to Steam’s introduction of paid-for mods that Valve founder Gabe Newell has taken to Reddit to address one of the move’s most critical communities.

Premium mods went live last week but quickly evoked a fearsome response online.

Our goal is to make modding better for the authors and gamers,” Newell said. 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.

A lot of comments are about Valve’s motivations and intentions. The only way to credibly demonstrate those are through long-run actions towards the community. There is no shortcut to not being evil. However I didn’t resist pointing out when someone’s theory of Valve being evil is internally inconsistent or easily falsified, when I probably should.

If you are going to ascribe everything we do to being greedy, at least give us credit for being greedy long (value creation) and not greedy short (screwing over customers).”

Newell also resisted calls for the Valve to take a more direct approach to policing and accessing the value of content – which is no surprise for a company that has always been reluctant to curate content on its service.

The one thing I’d ask you to think about is your request to put our foot down,” he added. We would be reluctant to force a game developer to do ‘x’ for the same reason we would be reluctant to force a mod developer to do ‘x’. It’s just not a good idea.

For example we get a lot of pressure to police the content on Steam. Shouldn’t there be a rule? How can any decent person approve of naked trees/stabbing defenceless shrubberies? It turns out that everything outrages somebody, and there is no set of possible rules that satisfies everyone. Those conversations always turn into enumerated lists of outrageous things. It’s a lot more tractable, and customer/creator friendly to focus on building systems that connect customers to the right content for them personally (and, unfortunately, a lot more work).

So, yes, we want to provide tools for mod authors and to Nexus while avoiding coercing other creators/gamers as much as possible.”

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