Starfield fans suspicious after Bethesda re-introduces paid mods for Skyrim

Jake Nichols
Starfield Earth headerMicrosoft

Starfield fans are growing suspicious of Bethesda’s plans for the popular space adventure game after a paid mod marketplace was re-introduced in Skyrim.

Bethesda Game Studios Creations was revealed on December 5 and promises a new way for Skyrim: Special Edition players to “discover, download and play community-made content.”

The paid mod marketplace merges the Creation Club and mods into a new “verified creator” section, allowing creators to earn royalties for each of their mods sold within Skyrim: Special Edition.

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But the announcement has already caused a divide within the gaming community, most particularly among Starfield fans, who feel that Bethesda is “testing the water” for a similar approach to Starfield down the line.

Two paintings in Starfield's Lodge featuring Todd HowardNexus Mods: ronaldomoon, Bethesda Softworks
One of the many bizarre mods freely available in Starfield

The few paid mods currently available for Skyrim: Special Edition are from well-known creators, such as Kinggath Creations, but fans are already expressing their disapproval, “Don’t like it,” one fan stated, with another commenting, “Horrible for the industry.”

Ad now, as Bethesda gears up for the release of the Creation Kit for Starfield in 2024, fans are worried about the potential implications of a similar paid mod system in the new game.

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Some players believe that while paid mods might bring financial rewards for modders, they could also adversely affect the game’s long-term appeal.

“Free mods are pretty essential for making Bethesda games run well,” a fan pointed out, emphasizing the role of mods in improving (and sometimes fixing) Bethesda’s games.

The introduction of paid mods is not a new strategy for Bethesda; they have been experimenting with this model since 2015. However, some see the recent Skyrim update as a gradual step up in monetization efforts.

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“Think of this as Bethesda turning up the temperature on frogs they are trying to boil,” a user explained, referring to the incremental approach to introducing paid mods.

Discussion is also centered around quality control and longevity of paid mods, with fans sharing, “Every mod that makes even a single penny better have quality control that keeps it updated with every single patch the game ever releases. Otherwise, they are scams,” a player stated.

It remains to be seen how Starfield’s Creator Kit and mod availability will look when it arrives sometime in 2024 but there’s certainly every chance it resembles the new-look mod marketplace for Skyrim.

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About The Author

Jake Nichols was formerly a Senior Writer on the Australian Dexerto team. A "washed-up" competitive gamer with an economics degree, he has a unique angle on industry trends. When not writing, he's snapping away in Marvel Snap and hunting purple sector times in sim racing games. You can contact Jake at jake.nichols@dexerto.com