Let’s Talk: Bethesda’s “Creation Club”


Creation Club Editorial

Wow, I haven’t seen a video with that many dislikes to likes in a long long long time. Almost everyone who plays Bethesda games has an opinion and the majority [the overwhelming majority] are not happy campers. A video said there have been over 300 million downloads for mods for Fallout 4/Skyrim Special Edition. That number doesn’t sound wrong, but I think that’s the number that makes Bethesda think [again] that they can charge for mods, and that people will just pony up. Huh? Pony up? Like that shit Horse Armor? That’s a hashtag that I don’t think will ever die. #HorseArmor conjures up awful memories for Bethesda fans, of paying for a mod to give your horse … Yup, armor! So I’ve given it a few days to really let this simmer in my brain. Not to mention, I had to wait for E3 to be over, otherwise, I might explode. So let’s chat about this whole “Creation Club” thing. What is it, at the core? It’s a way for mods to be monetized, without Bethesda actually making anything new. Which really tows the line with the whole “We have twelve versions of Skyrim, so no matter what, you have to play it on this new console/PC”! Bethesda tried doing this before, back in 2015. Do you remember how long it lasted? You might not even remember it happened, it got shut down so damn quickly. Hence, #HorseArmor. But will this really be so bad? Time to play Devil’s Advocate.

Creation Club for Fallout 4 & Skyrim Special Edition – E3 Announce Trailer - You

However, the two systems are not quite the same. There are some fundamental differences. Paid Mods could be done by anyone, charge whatever price they wanted, and it was not moderated or curated by Bethesda at all. These supposedly are. With Paid Mods, they could charge for content that had already been created, which was scummy and awful. This requires the content to be new and agreed upon by Bethesda themselves. It’s interesting, but I’m still not so sure I like the idea of having to “pay for mods”. Sure, the modders themselves work incredibly hard, taking the time out of their lives to create stuff to make games better. A lot of the time, it’s stuff that probably should have been in the game in the first place, or fixes to things that probably should not have been broken. Are there ways to pay modders right now? There are, but it’s not really enforced or controlled. It’s more of a tipjar system. That’s what Patreon/Gamewisp/etc are for, also. For people to monetize their hard work, whether it’s livestreaming, cosplay, writing, coding.  From an economic standpoint, there’s nothing wrong with Bethesda introducing paid content for their games. That’s kind of how this shit works. That is literally economics in action. But nobody has to do that. You can just enjoy their work for free, without a paywall, and not support their endeavors to make more. However, I’m not sure how I feel about them setting prices for other people’s work that is not inherently theirs. How much of a cut are they going to get? That’s the part I’m hung up on. What’s the division of the cost? Do the devs of the mods only get 25%, where the Bethesda team, who did not create this content, get 75%?

skyrim review

Modders aren’t being forced to charge for their work. People that don’t want to, that do it because it’s fun and not to make money? That’s not going to change. The Creation Club’s not going to turn people into selfish, money-driven trolls overnight, guys. Perhaps this will create teams of modders who work together to create truly outstanding work, something worth paying for. You know, like Skyblivion [which will still be free]. Bethesda exists for making a profit, though. You want a new Elder Scrolls game? They have to make money to do stuff like that. No matter what, people will still pirate/download games/paid content without putting in their two cents, as it were. Being paid to do a task is how the world functions. You can’t just expect modders to work for free, forever, because you “like what they do”. You like what they do? You enjoy that artists pieces, that author’s short stories, but you aren’t going to spend money on them? Then you don’t really like or appreciate them. You’re being a greedy jerk. The same goes for developers, coders, etc. You want that free to play game to keep being free to play? Then invest in some cosmetics, tell your friends to come play it with you, get them hooked on it! I bet you were expecting a rant about how hateful and awful the Creation Club is going to be, judging by that top jpeg! I don’t hate it yet. I’m waiting to see what all the details are. I understand the principle behind it, and I think it will be a much better idea than “Paid Mods” which was unmoderated, and a desperate cash grab for people who considered their fellow gamers to be lazy sheep. At the end of the day, if it’s fair and above board, if the people doing the modding are fairly compensated, it’s going to be a good thing. That is, after they get through with all the people dumping shit on their doorstep. Instead of lining up with the torches and pitchforks, let’s see what the details are first, yeah?

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  • Dale A Ginger-Riquelme

    Nope, they can convince us to put the pitchforks down when they release details that exonerate them for their prior behavior. Instead we get full price remasters of a 6 year old game that we already paid for.

    I will give them the benefit of the doubt when they prove they have earned it. With them no longer providing reviewers copies of games prior to their release I cant really feel like their behavior is anything other than anti consumer.

    Seriously, why wouldn’t you want reviewers crowing to the heavens about how good your game is, so customers can make an informed decision before potentially wasting their money. The only benefit is to penalize consumers for trusting your marketing. You can’t return open console games, so you better be right, and then they give you incentives to preorder to cajole you into purchasing, because the last thing you want to do is give a customer giving you full price for your game the full experience they are paying for….heavens no.

    Their actions have shown me they do not deserve my trust.