So I have yet to chime in on this topic in any real way. Sure I posted some gut reactions when I first heard the news and my first reaction was “You mean I can get paid to do something I love? AWESOME!” But as I read into it more it became less and less appealing. No, it wasn’t the 25/75 split with Bethesda and Valve getting the monster cut, it was more the fact that it was commercializing something that at its core is artistic. I, like most true artists, would love to make money from our work, especially if it’s for doing work WE want to do vs simply doing work for hire; free lance, and such, or god forbid… a job… just churning out whatever HQ wants and not having an true vested interest in development. But there is a difference between being paid for your work and being paid so you CAN work.
I am familiar with sites such as Kickstarter but I had not heard of patreon before. Now that I have looked at it I realize exactly why there is a true dislike for the “pay to play” model of mod sales. You sell it, someone pays for it and they get to use it, end of cycle. Anyone who doesn’t pay for it doesn’t get to see it or play it (in traditional circumstances, but you could still offer it for free elsewhere but that’s beside the point I’m trying to make here).
In patronage, you are supporting the artist, NOT the work. The work is already done, it’s already out there for people to see and enjoy, but to make another piece work will require more time and effort, and in doing so, that time has to come from somewhere. Time is finite and you only have so much to spend, so any time you spend modding has to come from somewhere right? it doesn’t come out of your work time, nope, you still have to eat. It doesn’t come out of sleep time (well some days that’s debatable), it comes out of personal time which you would otherwise use to enrich your life with family and friends and taking care of yourself and partaking in other interests.
Patronizing an artist (that is to support them, not to talk down to them), allows them to spend less time working to make ends meet and more time on what they love, their art, which you the patron and everyone benefit from.
Someone on the Nexus forums made a post about this equating Patreon support to how composers and artists like Michelangelo or Gustav Mahler are supported by wealthy people to provide their art to the masses, and now and then the artist would do a tribute piece at their request, but largely they were supported to do their work as they would, sure Michelangelo took that whole Sistine chapel commission thing, but he and many other artists relied heavily on patronage to do what they do.Really in the end; Patronage is unlike Donation in one simple way; donation is once, patronage is sustaining. Nexus allows donation, so I really think patronage should be allowed as well. Though I think the platform of Patreon may not work as it is set up in a fashion similar to kickstarter where it’s geared around a certain project, rather than just having a catch all “support this artist” option, but Patreon as a whole is presented as a patronage building platform. This grey area is still currently being navigated between Bethesda and members in the modding community. Time will tell, but that’s my two bits.