Bethesda should do more to reward and promote modders
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One of the hallmarks that distinguishes Bethesda Game Studios’ games from others are the modding tools released by Bethesda and the amazing mods that some consumers (modders) of their games make. Some mods just add little things to the game, while some like the recently released Enderal for Skyrim or FROST Survival Simulator for Fallout 4 add totally new worlds, or revamped ones, that sometimes almost take as much time and effort to make as the games that are used as the foundation for them.
This is not news to consumers of Bethesda games, but Bethesda themselves have increasingly touted this aspect of their games in recent years. At Microsoft’s E3 conference in 2015, Todd Howard used a brief showcase mainly to announce that mods would be coming to Xbox One before coming to PS4. Then with the reveal of Skyrim: Special Edition, one of the main selling points of that remaster was that skyrim mods would be playable on console for the first time as shown in the game’s reveal trailer, as well as being displayed on the back of the game’s case and on steam. Undoubtedly, many people purchased Fallout 4 and especially Skyrim SE on console because of the promise of console mods. Therefore, Bethesda is profiting from the hard work of thousands of modders, most of whom do not get any sort of compensation or promotion, donations or otherwise. Now, there is no real problem with this; Bethesda doesn’t even have to release these modding tools, and the modders know that they are pretty much exclusively doing this for the fun of it and to bring joy to others. However, I and many others believe Bethesda could do much more in the way of rewarding and promoting modders, without giving any sort of monetary compensation or constructing a process similar to the “paid mods fiasco” on Steam a couple of years ago. How you ask?
Well my suggestion is a “Modder Royalty Program”. Here are my ideas for how this could work: Bethesda can create a tiered system based on either downloads or favorable ratings across all platforms (whichever they deem most appropriate). So once a mod reaches 1000 downloads/ratings say, that modder receives some sort of badge to display on their Bethesda.net profile. When a mod receives 5,000 downloads/ratings, that modder receives a badge and a discount code on the official Bethesda store. When a mod receives 10k downloads/ratings, that modder receives a badge and a code for a free item on the Bethesda store of $40 or less value. When a mod receives 20k downloads/ratings, the modder receives a free Bethesda game of choice and a badge. Any mod that receives 30k downloads/ratings or more receives a badge, is displayed on the Bethesda.net main page for a period of 30 days, and if he/she so chooses is granted a “MyCreation” interview. Of course Bethesda could make these rewards/tiers however they want, these are just suggestions.
Besides this “Royalty Program”, Bethesda could do other things to promote modders as well. Bethesda has done the aforementioned “MyCreation” interviews with a select few modders, but the last one of these was over a month ago. I would like to see Bethesda doing these more often. Another thing they could do is interact more with the wider modding community on bethesda.net. Maybe have a section where devs and other employees highlight their favorite mods, and put a little badge on the mod that says “Staff/Dev recommended”. Bethesda could also promote specific mods more often on social media, possibly streaming their favorites, or even getting the opinions of developers and others on certain mods. Maybe even have a competition where the top 5 mods chosen get shown to Todd Howard himself and he gets to give his opinion on each and pick his favorite! Sweet little things like these would go a long way toward showing the modding community how much Bethesda truly values and appreciates their efforts.
Having been a small part of creating a Fallout 4 new-lands mod “Realm of Dusk”, I’ve gotten to see the tremendous amount of effort and time that goes into making mods. Many of these modders are incredible and talented people who often put creating these mods ahead of themselves and spending time with others. Bethesda has this great platform with bethesda.net, and could certainly utilize it more to promote and reward modders. The rewards in this “Royalty Program” are most likely peanuts compared to the extra profits Bethesda have made thanks to modders, and would show modders that Bethesda truly cares about them as well as just being a very kind gesture. Even though Bethesda has no obligation to do anything for modders, I and many others believe they should do something along the lines of this “Royalty Program”, or at least interact more with the community as stated above. While there are surely kinks that would need to be worked out with such a system, Bethesda could ultimately do with it as they please, and it would incentivize and energize modders to create many more amazing mods, as well as boost the morale of the entire community.
I strongly urge Matt Grandstaff (Global Community Lead for Bethesda), Pete Hines (VP of PR/marketing), and all of Bethesda Softworks to consider the ideas put forth in this petition, and together let's make 2017 the year of the modder!
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