During their E3 press conference, Bethesda made a small but, important, announcement regarding the Creation Club, which bears some similarities to a paid mod system.
Is The Creation Club Paid Mods?
In 2015, Bethesda allowed Skyrim modders to charge money for their mods. At first glance, this might seem like a good way to help amateur developers make some extra money on a hobby, but it faced a backlash from fans and was quickly removed.
That brings us to the Creation Club, which was announced at Bethesda's E3 press conference, and appears to be a revamped version of that system though Bethesda says otherwise. In the Creation Club FAQ, Bethesda states that mods will remain a free system that anyone can use. The Creation Club, on the other hand, will be a heavily curated system that will include only original content. That means that modders can't retool any existing mods to be part of the Creation Club.
That being said, the Creation Club does, in our opinion, appear to be a paid mod system. According to the FAQ, anyone can apply for membership in the club and will be paid for their work if it is accepted. This process appears to be a middle ground between the free-for-all nature of mods and the more structured way traditional DLC works.
How Will The Creation Club Affect Bethesda Modders
The most obvious way that this system will change the current modding scene is that it will allow talented creators to get paid for their work, assuming they meet Bethesda's standards. The payment process is vague, but the FAQ implies that it will be a mixture of upfront payments with a bonus structure in place for successful content.
"Yes. Just like our own game developers, Creators are paid for their work and start receiving payment as soon as their proposal is accepted and through development milestones," said Bethesda.
How Will The Creation Club Affect Gamers
The Creation Club appears to be fairly limited in scope, but our biggest fear is that its existence will hamstring the creation of free mods. After all, if talented mod creators are able to earn money via the Creation Club then they have little incentive to make free mods.
While Bethesda's games are certainly capable of standing on their own merits, the franchises' devoted mod communities create content that extends the games' lifespans far beyond what Bethesda can offer through DLC.
Our hope is that the Creation Club will serve as a way for the most talented of creators to make some money for their work while ensuring that the free modding community still thrives. That being said, this announcement does make us a bit nervous as the loss of the Bethesda modding community would result in the loss of some of gaming's most memorable moments.
Eric Brackett Tech Times editor Eric Brackett is a tech junkie and a gamer, covering science and technology. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter for updates and his random thoughts on the latest trends in gaming, tech, and comic books.