The Creation Club is Bethesda's latest attempt at making paid mods a thing and the Internet is not happy. But there's more to it than meets the eye.
Unless you were busy slaying Thomas the tank engine in Skyrim, you would have heard about Bethesda’s Creation Club announcement by now, a.k.a paid mods. The Internet was quick to pounce on them with a barrage of negative feedback.
What is the Creation Club exactly?
Bethesda’s Creation Club is an in-game marketplace where players can buy mods for Fallout 4, Skyrim, and other Bethesda titles in the future. The service will be available on the PS4, Xbox One and PC this summer. Mods can be purchased with credits which can be bought on Steam, PSN or Xbox live. As to the variety, Bethesda has mentioned in their FAQ, that the content would include, but not be limited to, weapons, apparel, worlds, characters, creatures, and gameplay customizations.
Who makes these “Creations”?
The content is created by developers at Bethesda and third party content developers. These “Creators” (Bethesda’s pet name for them) have to submit their pitches to Bethesda which goes through their curation process. Once it’s given the greenlight, the idea is put into the complete development cycle. That includes alpha, beta and release stages, followed by QA testing and localising the content. The Creators are paid for the work put into making the mod and not in the form of a percentage of the sales made. This is the part that the Internet didn’t understand and got all worked up over. Unlike the Steam Workshop catastrophe, it is not an e-commerce platform where anyone can upload content and sell. It has a closer resemblance to a freelance model wherein the freelancer is paid for their work instead of a cut of the profits made through sales of said work. To become a creator, you have to submit an application containing links to previous works etc.
Why Bethesda’s Creation Club is probably a good thing
Tbh, it looks like Bethesda is putting Skyrim on life support with this one. But that’s a good thing for the fans, nay the community that these games have built. The modders now have an opportunity to make a living doing the things they love to do. Hours, sometimes months, are spent in making a mod. Some mods add 20+ hours worth of gameplay time. If you can pay for DLCs then it’s only fair that you pay for mods as well. Here, lies the rant of one particular modder. The incentive would also attract more people into creating custom content.
As for the consumers, they now get quality custom content in a neatly wrapped package that will seamlessly integrate into the base game, DLCs and other creations. Anyone who has dabbled with modding would understand the frustrations involved; some mods don’t work with other mods or mods can completely crash your game and corrupt your saves etc.. Bethesda hasn’t killed free mods, in fact, they have explicitly addressed this issue in their FAQ. Rather, it looks like a mix between DLCs and mods. PS4 owners, especially, are benefitted, since Sony has imposed restrictions to modding. These restrictions are the reason why many of the more complex mods like Thomas the tank engine, for example, are incompatible with the PS4. Since Bethesda is directly involved in the creation process, we can expect such mods to be supported on the console.
Addressing the probably part, all of this sounds good on paper, but it relies on their method of execution. For example, How much will the modders be paid? What will the scale of the mods be? Will we have to be satisfied with buying crab armour? What will the price range of these mods be? But, Bethesda seems to have really done its homework this time. They have listened to all the concerns that were voiced (screamed, more like) during the first attempt. If this works, modding can be taken to a whole new level in terms of scale. All we have to do is have some faith in Bethesda.