As previously promised at its E3 conference earlier this year, Bethesda has brought its Creation Club mod peddling program over to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim after a short testing period late last month.
As with the Creation Club launched in Fallout 4 this past August, the Skyrim Creation Club is a microtransaction marketplace that offers players a selection of additional content like armor, items, and game modes created by both Bethesda and third-party mod makers.
While the program got its start in the wastelands of Fallout 4, the Creation Club’s jump to Skyrim is especially notable given the game’s troubled past with the implementation of 'paid mods.’ Both Bethesda and Valve partnered up way back in 2015 to try and transform Skyrim’s Steam Workshop into a marketplace where mod makers could affix a price tag on their wares and earn a chunk of change for their work.
The program itself imploded in a matter of days and kicked off a hefty discussion on the legal, practical, and even ethical questions paid mods posed.
So, with such a controversy in its past, the differences between Skyrim’s early paid mods program and the Creation Club should be of particular note to game developers and mod-makers alike.
The Creation Club isn’t so much of a paid mods platform as it is an in-game way for players to purchase currency and pick up DLC similar in size and function to the kind of community-made mods Skyrim has seen for half a decade. But, whether it comes from Bethesda or third parties, every piece of content on the store is curated and doesn’t replace the free mods already available on Steam and other websites.
The Fallout 4 Creation Club has already outlived Skyrim’s initial foray into paid custom content, so it’s likely that the game’s second attempt will have a much less catastrophic launch this time around. But, that isn’t to say that the Creation Club is perfect. Skyrim modder Nick Pearce published an insightful Gamasutra blog on the pros and cons of Bethesda’s Creation Club months back that is well worth a second read now that the platform has launched in Skyrim.