When Valve tried to introduce paid Skyrim mods to the Steam Workshop last April, let’s just say it didn’t go over well. As mods are historically a free service provided by dedicated and passionate co-fans in service of a video game community, many didn’t take to the idea of compensating creators for their work. Valve quickly withdrew their decision as a response to the feedback, but with this new feature coming to Dota 2, they seem to be testing the waters again, devising a new system with the aim of “supporting and rewarding custom game developers”.
In a post on the official Dota 2 blog, the team announced the new Custom Game Pass, a one-time fee of $1 that will open premium access to user-made modes. As a temporary pass of only 30 days, this service will offer bonus goodies to subscribers as they trek through the Roshpit Champions, Dota 2‘s free-to-play dungeon crawling mode and one of the best examples of the many custom games made in Dota 2 since the custom tools debuted in the Reborn update last September. Player bonuses will be at the creator’s discretion, with Roshpit Champions including extra stash and character slots and “multiple” other perks. In the post they said:
“Purchasing a pass directly supports the creators of the custom game as well as granting you extra features for that game. All custom games will remain free to download and play.”
In an interview with PCGamer, Valve discussed this new approach at length, saying that this time around they intend to make sure that players know that this new option will not be the end of free content. The official blog post also makes note that only a small number of high quality games that have already established themselves within the community will be eligible for the Custom Game Passes. As Valve explains:
“The process will be curated by the Dota team. We will be carefully selecting which custom games are able to offer a Custom Game Pass, selecting only games which have already established a sizeable community and are mature enough to offer good value to customers. Ultimately, players will help determine which games are right for a pass by choosing to play and engage with growing communities, and the Dota team will continue to work with the custom game community to identify good candidates.”
Eurogamer also says that Dota 2 modders will be receiving the same cut of profits as developers on Steam, about 70%, as opposed to the 25% previously offered Skyrim modders. Passes will also be eligible for refunds within a 48 hour period.