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Rewards System From Nexus Mods Pays Modders While Keeping Mods Free

While most PC mods incorporate small or humorous changes into their respective games, (Such as The Staff of Sweet Rolls mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a modded item that allows users to permanently transform foes into delicious edible pastries) a few recent mods have gone far, far beyond. For example, the first-ever MOBA, Defense of the Ancients, was introduced as a modified game mode into WarCraft 3’s community servers before acclimating wild popularity and eventually birthing the MOBA genre. Not to mention the Natural Selection mod for Half-Life 2, which also went on to become a standalone title on the steam store. These are just two examples of countless instances where a team of dedicated fans worked tirelessly to tweak and modify a game’s code in order to create an entirely new experience. This comes at the cost of countless hours for the fans with no promise of any kind of compensation for their hard work, because almost all mods are, and have always been, 100% free.

And free they will stay, but popular Mod distribution site Nexus Mods is looking to add in a new rating / rewards system that will offer top modders some return on their time investments. Released on May 22, a recent announcement from Nexus Mods detailed the specifics of their new system:

“…from today, any mod authors on Nexus Mods will be able to opt their files into our Donation Points system. The premise of the Donation Points (DP) system is relatively simple on the surface. Each month Nexus Mods will donate a set amount of money into a central donation pool from which the total DP available that month will be calculated. At the end of each month, mod authors will receive DP based on how many unique downloads their mods received that month. How many DP your mod(s) receive will depend on a number of factors including how much money we have donated into the pool and how many unique downloads all the other opted-in files from other authors have received.”

For every dollar earned, you’ll need to accumulate one thousand DP. The post goes on to explain that Nexus Mods will offer several ways to redeem money earned through DP: Options range from putting the earnings back in for a (probably discounted) Nexus Premium subscription, or taking it out via PayPal.

The post acknowledges that the system will likely suffer from some “growing pains”, and so there will be less money put into the system in the first few months than what Nexus hopes to be the standard moving forward – they want to avoid “chucking a load of money into a big explosive opening only for a limited number of authors to benefit from it.” However, Nexus does say that they have put aside a total of $100,000 of their own money to funnel into the system over the next twelve months.

While the system sounds promising, commenters have been quick to point out potential issues: One user, username “nerdofprey”, noted that he is excited to use the system, but worried about the implications of putting up his mods for monetary donations. He states that while he has had some fairly popular posts in the past, they were usually slight adjustments or iterations onto the work of other modders – modders, who, under the proposed current system, would not receive any reward for their work on the final product despite being cited as the original creators in nerdofprey’s mod posts. There are likely more complications that have yet to emerge within the current system, and the injection of monetary gains into a previously penniless economy is sure to fuel some manner of greedy system exploitations in the coming months. Still, the creation of such a system by Nexus Mods (Not to mention their sizable $100,000 commitment) is a wonderful gesture, and a fitting attempt to create an economy for mods in which all parties have something to gain.

Featured Image Via Flickr/Joshua | Ezzell

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