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

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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 (opens in new tab), the way Valve has in Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2. Catch our full interview with Smedley right here.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.