Something that has been making the rounds recently was Bethesda’s controversial Creation Club. This was something announced at E3 last month, and since then has continued to gain infamy with the gaming community. For those of you who don’t know, the Creation Club are a bunch of modders and programmers who are getting paid by Bethesda to make new things for their old games. What’s so bad about this? These are basically paid mods, which is something that is drawing a lot of ire.
Mods are a service that’s normally available for free, they are modifications made by fans of a series to a pre-existing game. Now, I have no problems with modders getting paid. They put in all this time and effort into transforming games into things of pure wonder and beauty. They deserve some monetary gain for all their hard work, I won’t deny that.
The problem I have with this setup is that Bethesda is doing this all wrong. For one thing, the mods aren’t really that substantial. They are mostly superficial things, like armor and weapons. Some things I don’t get is “Survival Mode”, which should be in the game itself. I don’t know why Bethesda thinks selling different modes for the game is a good idea. Most alternate modes are more gimmicks than anything else, things tacked to add variety or challenge to the game your playing. Yet, Bethesda is also selling those on their pricey mod store.
Honestly, I think is overall a bad idea. While Bethesda said that the mods wouldn’t clash with the content of the game, I highly doubt so. Skyrim is a pretty buggy game, so I can only imagine all these mods making it even more unstable. Also, once you buy a mod that’s it. There’s no refund option, and there’s no way to refund Bethesda’s made-up currency back for your cash. Oh right, forgot to mention that this “program” only uses a fake currency that Bethesda made up. You have to buy this currency using cold hard cash, and there’s no way to earn that money in game.
Almost every PC game that is popular enough with fans has mods of its own. Almost all of these mods are free in some way. Bethesda is trying to throttle that market, and make it so people have to pay for mods. Will they take down Nexus? After all, that’s the central hub for most of the popular mods. I doubt Bethesda would that site down, but it wouldn’t surprise me. If the paid mods fail, Bethesda will most likely get a bit desperate.
Now, what do I think should be down about this situation? For one thing, I think this “Content Creation” program needs to be dropped. It’s only going to hurt the modding community and Bethesda’s street-cred in the process. Secondly, I feel like Bethesda should be doing a lot more with the mod creators. What Bethesda should do is make a new studio or development team, then proceed to staff it with modders and programmers.
Bethesda should then have this new studio focus on making expansion packs and spinoffs of their pre-existing games. Creating something new and massive like that would be far less of a waste. A lot of people actually prefer the full expansions to cosmetic stuff, so I think this would be a good idea. This way, modders can still make cash, and Bethesda still gets to market those sweet mods to people. Instead, Bethesda decided to just sell a bunch of useless DLC on their store-front. I’ll take a guess here and assume that most of the starting mods won’t be play-tested enough.
I fear we are in for some dark times, as far as the mod community goes. Honestly, I love mods, (I use the lightsaber mods in Fallout New Vegas all the time) but there needs to be a fine line between what is acceptable. A product is being sold here, a product made by the fans for the official game itself. Whether people are willing to pay for this is a whole other story. Bethesda will probably lose a ton of cash doing this, along with a lot of support from their fans. Will Bethesda learn their lesson before its too late? Time can only tell.