Valve has implemented a major change to the Steam Workshop that gives modders the option to sell their creations directly to gamers in an open, unregulated market.
"We think this is a great opportunity to help support the incredible creative work being done by mod makers in the Steam Workshop," said Valve's Tom Bui in a statement. "User generated content is an increasingly significant component of many games, and opening new avenues to help financially support those contributors via Steam Workshop will help drive the level of UGC to new heights."
The first game to support the new option is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which already has 19 paid mods listed for it, ranging in price from 30 cents to $7. The process for selecting them appears to be largely the same as it was for free mods, but now there's an option under the game's "Workshop" tab that allows the selection of either free or paid mods. Paid mods are available immediately after purchase, and creators can charge whatever price they like for them.
"Unlike other curated games on Steam that allow users to sell their creations, this will be the first game with an open market," Bethesda explained. "It will not be curated by us or Valve. It was essential to us that our fans decide what they want to create, what they want to download, and what they want to charge."
The lack of curation adds a certain element of "buyer beware" risk to the enterprise, but Valve has implemented a Steam Workshop refund policy that allows refund requests within 24 hours of purchase. Refunds will be credited to the Steam Wallet that made the original purchase, and each item's Workshop page will have a post-purchase timer indicating how much time is left before the refund deadline expires.