Nexus Mods, the long-running and popular repository of mods for PC games like Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Stardew Valley, and hundreds of others, has implemented a system that will allow mod authors to earn money for their work. The system is designed to award mod makers donation points based on the number of unique downloads their mod files receive each month—and those points can be traded for cash. To seed the program, Nexus Mods has put up $100,000, which it will use for payments to participating mod authors over the next 12 months.
That's great news for modders looking to earn some money, but how does this all work? From the announcement on Nexus Mods:
"Each month Nexus Mods will donate a set amount of money into a central donation pool from which the total DP [donation points] available that month will be calculated. At the end of each month, mod authors will receive DP based on how many unique downloads their mods received that month. How many DP your mod(s) receive will depend on a number of factors including how much money we have donated into the pool and how many unique downloads all the other opted-in files from other authors have received."
A thousand donation points equals $1, and mod authors can exchange these points in a few different ways. The first and presumably the most popular option will be to receive payment through PayPal. Mod authors are also able to donate the cash from their points to charity, or share their points with other mod authors they'd like to support.
Mod users may get a chance in the future to support this system as well: "Looking forward, we would also like to introduce a crowd funding mechanism that will allow users of the site to donate to the monthly pool and top up what Nexus Mods is already paying in each month."
It's worth noting that we don't know how much Nexus Mods will pay out each month, nor do we know how much individual modders will earn. Mod authors will need to opt into this system to reap the benefits, and to combat any chicanery with download stats, Nexus Mods is doing away with the 'guest downloading' feature, wherein users could download mods without having an account on the site or logging in. If you use Nexus Mods from now on, you'll need to login to your (free) account first, or create one before you can download files.
If you still have questions, there's a robust FAQ on the site. We'll keep an eye on the new system to see how it works out and what kind of feedback it gets from users and mod authors.