Daybreak boss John Smedley: paid mods were an "awesome idea"

Paid Mods

The rollout of paid mods on Steam was one of Valve's biggest blunders. Whether or not there was anything fundamentally wrong with the idea is a matter of some debate, but the launch was received terribly, and the widespread perception that it would kill the modding scene caused Valve to remove the feature. Daybreak Game Company president John Smedley said something similar happened with the launch of H1Z1, and so he understands why Valve was forced to back down. But he also wishes it hadn't.

"We always manage to do stuff and then it pisses them off, but you’ve got to try things. Look at the Valve mod payment thing, for example; it’s a great example of—of course they’re smart for doing that," he said. "Modders getting paid is an awesome idea and I wish they’d stick to their guns, but sometimes you think you have a solid plan and it gets in front of the players and they’re like, 'Yeah, we don’t like this,' so it changes."

Despite his wish that Valve had stood its ground, he acknowledged that "being able to listen and actually change the course of what we’re doing in reaction to the people that pay the bills" is a positive thing overall.

"The reality is, I like dealing with companies that listen to their players. I’m proud to say we’re one of those companies," he said. "I think we do a good job of that, but sometimes you put ideas out and they don’t work. We’re not going to change that, we’ll still try it."

Daybreak, formally SOE, has a history of experimenting with paid community creators, the way Valve has in Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2. Catch our full interview with Smedley right here.


As lead news writer during ‘merican hours, Andy covers the day-to-day events that keep PC gaming so interesting, exciting, and occasionally maddening. He’s fond of RPGs, FPSs, dungeons, Myst, and the glorious irony of his parents buying him a TRS-80 instead of an Atari so he wouldn't end up wasting his life on videogames.
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