Valve To Allow Other Developers To Split Profits With User-Generated Content Creators

by Mike Futter on Apr 15, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Valve has plans to give other developers access to its Steam workshop premium features. Currently, users can create and sell items for Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, earning a part of the proceeds. Hidden Path CEO Jeff Pobst tells us that Defense Grid 2 will be using those options for user-generated maps when the game releases this fall.

We spoke with Pobst while demoing Defense Grid 2 at PAX East, during which he told us that Hidden Path will be one of the first developers to feature the option for creators. Hidden Path is building the game on a new engine that it originally developed for another company, though the game it was supposed to power never shipped.

The developer is putting that technology to use to give users an option to build their own maps and, if selected by Hidden Path, be placed in an online store for purchase by other users. Hidden Path will also be dropping items into players' Steam inventories as they play that will enhance damage and abilities for towers and can be traded or sold on the Steam marketplace.

"Our first step will be to learn from what Valve is doing already on TF2 and Dota2," Pobst says. "People who make levels will be able to submit them to workshop along with images, video of playing that level, audio or video descriptions of what makes that level fun, and text about that level. The additional info will be available for everyone to see on workshop to help get other players excited about the newly submitted content. Players can then go to the workshop page and up-vote levels that interest them and that calls out content to our attention."

Developer curation of user-generated content is becoming more common, with Rockstar giving some GTA Online jobs its stamp of approval as an example. Right now, Steam Workshops allow users to "subscribe" to content for free. Implementation of the new system would add another revenue stream for developers and reward those who are already making great community content. 

"Once people start buying levels, we’ll get a better idea of what they themselves feel is worth their money by their purchase activity," Pobst explains.  "Our goal will be to bring over levels that will be popular and that players will want to purchase. If a level plays in a way that is new or unique or of a quality that is similar to other levels that are selling, we’ll want to bring it over to the in-game store. And just like on TF2 or Dota2, players who make content will get a royalty on the sales of their content to other players.”

According to Hidden Path, Valve will be handling the royalties just as they do with Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2. Hidden Path already has the tools and plans to beta test the premium creation features when the game enters testing in a couple of months. For more on Defense Grid 2, read up on the game in our PAX East preview.

We've reached out to Valve for more information about the plans to implement these changes for developers. We'll update should we receive a response.

For more on Defense Grid 2, check out our preview from PAX East.


Our Take
Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 creators are making a lot of money right now. As of July 2013, creators had collectively earned over $10 million. Sony Online also has a successful program in its Player Studio. This is a brilliant move for Valve, as it's a new revenue stream; for developers, who extend the tail on their games because of new content; and for creators who will be able to monetize their hard work.