Is Bethesda’s Creation Club a New Form of Paid Mods for Skyrim, Fallout 4?

In the midst of a handful of game announcements and reveals, Bethesda used its time during the studio’s E3 2017 press conference to announce Creation Club. Essentially, Creation Club will be a storefront where players can purchase add-on content for Skyrim and Fallout 4. Yes, we said purchase.

It’s a detail that Bethesda may have tried to slip in casually, but fans caught on pretty quickly. In order to use Creation Club, players will need to purchase credits from their respective digital marketplaces (Steam, PSN, Xbox Live, etc.) and then spend those credits on Creation Club content.

That content can come in many forms, but Bethesda outlined six areas that it expects players to experiment. They are:

  • WEAPONS: New weapons, material skins, parts, etc.
  • APPAREL: New outfits, armor, and items for your character.
  • WORLD: New locations, decorations, foliage, etc.
  • CHARACTERS: New abilities, characters, companions, etc.
  • CREATURES: New enemies, mounts, pets, etc.
  • GAMEPLAY: New types of gameplay like survival mode, etc.

At a glance, the new system sounds like a revamped version of paid mods for Skyrim and Fallout 4, but Bethesda knew such assumptions would be made. The studio came prepared with a response that definitively says Creation Club is not paid mods.

No. Mods will remain a free and open system where anyone can create and share what they’d like. Also, we won’t allow any existing mods to be retrofitted into Creation Club, it must all be original content. Most of the Creation Club content is created internally, some with external partners who have worked on our games, and some by external Creators. All the content is approved, curated, and taken through the full internal dev cycle; including localization, polishing, and testing. This also guarantees that all content works together. We’ve looked at many ways to do “paid mods”, and the problems outweigh the benefits. We’ve encountered many of those issues before. But, there’s a constant demand from our fans to add more official high quality content to our games, and while we are able to create a lot of it, we think many in our community have the talent to work directly with us and create some amazing new things.

When Bethesda first attempted to allow creators to charge for their mods, it was met with strong resistance. Because there was no real curation system in place, anyone could charge any price for a mod, and creators of popular mods (like the Macho Man dragon mod) could exploit that popularity and gain a massive profit.

But the biggest concern was plagiarism, since anyone could steal someone else’s mod, put it on the store, and gain money for it. The other issues with the paid mod system were potential drawbacks, but this was a huge flaw. And once Bethesda saw situations like that start to appear, the company shut down paid mods altogether.

With Creation Club, though, it sounds as though Bethesda will be handpicking the content that is put on its store and potentially even setting the prices for different forms of content (the bigger the scope, the higher the price). This will still be a way for people to earn money off their creations – presumably in a percentage split with Bethesda – but it doesn’t sound as though everyone can participate.

There are still plenty of details for Bethesda to cover where Creation Club is concerned, but it apparently was important for the studio to make sure fans knew this wasn’t a second attempt at paid mods. The system does have people paying for mods, but the scope is smaller, the curation process is more involved, and it will not impact any mods that players are currently using.

Creation Club will be available this summer for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It will support content on Fallout 4 and Skyrim: Special Edition.

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