Earlier this year, there was a big storm over on Steam, as Valve and Bethesda decided to let mod creators charge for their work in Skyrim. This didn't go down so well with fans who had experienced free mods up until that point. The outrage was so loud that it didn't take long for the program to be stopped just a few days after launch.
Speaking to GameSpot, Bethesda director Pete Hines talked about the experiment, saying that he'd like to see it comeback at some point, as he want's to support creators:
I think our stance on it is we're going to re-evaluate it going forward. I think that we feel like there is a case to be made that people who spend a lot of time working on mods ought to be able to have a way of monetizing what they're doing.
Certainly some of the folks that we talked to were very interested in and supportive of the idea. We had creators who said, 'I've been asking for donations for years and never saw anything, and I made more in one day.' So why would I not support that?
When talking about why he thinks the program failed specifically, he said:
It's sort of like having the world's largest ball of yarn and deciding you're going to unravel it. Everything is so tied together that in some ways it's almost impossible to do.
I honestly, genuinely, don't know what it means for the future. It was an idea we worked on with those guys for Skyrim; it didn't pan out. It came back down.
When asked if the program would come back in the future, he was almost certainly referring to Fallout 4 when he said:
Honestly, [we have] bigger fish to fry right now than sorting that out.
I really would like to see this come back at some point down the line. I think modders who are getting paid will, in the end, make better mods. Itjust needs better regulation. I'm not sure how you integrate it into the PC community without annoying people, but at some point, I think a company is just going to have to be brave enough to eat the controversy.