Bethesda Skyrim
Skyrim in action. Bethesda Softworks

Valve has cancelled its controversial plans for a paid mods system on Steam, removing the scheme from Bethesda's fantasy RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In a statement they said that they "believe there's a useful feature somewhere here".

Last week Valve initiated the system, which allows mod creators to charge for their content via Steam Workshop. However, it also granted those creators the ability to set their own prices without Valve's input.

Previously modders were able to get paid for their work by Valve if their content went through official channels, but this new system caused a substantial backlash which Valve boss Gabe Newell responded to in a Reddit AMA over the weekend.

He defended the changes, saying: "Our goal is to make modding better for the authors and gamers. If something doesn't help with that, it will get dumped." They later decided that the system wasn't helping that.

"We're going to remove the payment feature from the Skyrim workshop," read their statement. "For anyone who spent money on a mod, we'll be refunding you the complete amount. We talked to the team at Bethesda and they agree.

"We've done this because it's clear we didn't understand exactly what we were doing. We've been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they've been received well. It's obvious now that this case is different."

They also went on to explain their original thinking behind the idea. "Our main goals were to allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to, and to encourage developers to provide better support to their mod communities. We thought this would result in better mods for everyone, both free & paid.

"But we underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim's workshop," they continued. "We understand our own game's communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating."