Friday, 1 May 2015

The Paid Mods Problem and the Gaming Press

So recently a bit of a shit storm went down over at Valve in the last few days.  While their initial decision was a bit dumb the way they dealt with it was commendable and it shows that the people calling the shots do actually have their head on straight.

So Steam announce that they are going to introduce a paid mods system.  This is where people who make mods for games like Skyrim can charge a little bit of money on the workshop in order to get paid for their efforts.  On paper this seems like a good idea because content creators can make a little bit of dosh for all that hard work and it may even motivate modders into creating better mods because they know that they are going to be charging money.

However, it didn't quite play out that way.  I don't follow the modding scene very much but from what I read and understood both fans and modders themselves weren't too happy with the decision.  Fans were unhappy with the idea of having to pay for something that's been provided for free for YEARS and modders were unhappy with the cut that they got from sales of their work.  There's probably more to it than that but I'll leave it for someone more versed in the modding community to explain that part.

So gamers take to social media, forums and petition sites to rally against Valves decision.  Seeing the outcry from the fans, Valve pull the idea and refund the people who paid for anything.  This also comes with a statement essentially saying that while they feel there's a good idea in there somewhere their approach was wrong and they were sorry.

This is fine, this is consumers and content creators showing their dislike for a direction Valve as taking the Steam workshop and Valve responded accordingly by actually listening to the fans.  I bet Valve customers and Steam Workshop creators and both happy that their opinions are important to the people at Valve and I'm sure business for Valve will improve as a result.

But then come the shitty gaming press

What the fuck is this?   It's an article from Polygon with probably one of the most clickbaity headlines in the history of shitty games writing.  I skimmed through it and the whole thing appears to be quotes from people having a calm and collected discussion rather than abusive behaviour.

Recently there's this weird spin games media likes to put on almost every story where they paint people who play games as abusive, angry and lonely weirdos.  They have completely devalued certain terms because the people who write for these sites have no idea what they mean.

A difference of opinion is not "abuse" or "harassment", it's just a difference of opinion.  The whole problem with the modding scene was discussed and a decision was made, no one was sending serious enough abuse to Valve to make them change the decision with their tail between their legs.

Another example of this is gaming controversy du jour "misogyny".  Misogyny means that you hate women but people in gaming press equate this to being male and enjoying a little bit of fan service.  Now, whenever I hear that word I just roll my eyes and close the article because who ever is writing it obviously doesn't know what misogyny is.

Valve did a good job listening to their community and making appropriate changes.  Games press did a bad job by trying to spin the story but in the end did nothing to prove that the opinions of these so called "writers" belong in the trash can.

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