Valve is creeping into paid user-generated content once again, though the system in place for DOTA 2 is remarkably different than the failed Skyrim workshop.

It was almost a year that ago that Valve made the controversial decision to allow modification creators to charge for content within the Skyrim workshop. The idea had some merit, but a lack of security in place to prevent fraudulent posts and plenty of concern from fans prompted the company to nix the idea shortly after it had been announced. Now, Valve is testing the waters once again with paid user-generated content, though this time they are doing so through DOTA 2.

Valve had revamped DOTA 2 with a new interface and engine last year, entitling the virtual renovation as DOTA 2 Reborn. This new interface made it much easier for content creators to share their latest creations, and Valve itself aided in bringing some select items to the spotlight. The company is now taking things a step further, and will be allowing select custom content creators the ability to sell premium content featured in the form of Custom Game Passes, marking the first time since the Skyrim workshop that modification creators can share their work for-profit via a Valve distribution system.

Dota 2 Concurrent Users Steam 2

For those wondering what a Custom Game Pass might actually entail, it’s an in-game purchasable item that allows DOTA 2 players access to select custom game content within Dota 2. The passes are valid for 30 days from the date of purchase, though Valve is refraining from calling such a thing as a subscription, since gamers can’t set the ability to auto-renew the custom pass itself.

It’s important to note that all custom games within DOTA 2 will remain free of charge, and the Custom Game Passes solely exist for additional content. The DOTA team itself will be curating which custom content creators will be selected to be part of the program.

It was wise of Valve to stick to a first party title as they revisit the paid content effort, and featuring Custom Game Passes instead of direct modification purchases feels like a fresh spin on the ill-fated idea from yesteryear.

Valve made it pretty clear that plenty of through went into the Custom Game Pass idea, and that they would be keeping a close eye on the content that gets developed under the program:

We will be carefully selecting which custom games are able to offer a Custom Game Pass, selecting only games which have already established a sizable community and are mature enough to offer good value to customers.

While only time will tell if Custom Game Passes end up being a success, they’re far from the first paid content available to DOTA 2 fans. Last year, a Rick and Morty announcer pack was released after passing a communal vote process, and there are plenty of other official items on the DOTA 2 store.

Source: Custom Game Pass FAQ