Valve Pays Counter Strike Mappers $180k During Operation Payback
Mo’ maps, mo’ money, no problems.
Operation: Payback was the first round of map DLC for Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Seven maps made by CS community members were put together into a pack, which originally sold for $5.99 (it’s on sale for $0.99 right now, by the way). Five months after its release, Valve has reportedly shelled out over $180,000 to the involved community mapmakers.
Shawn Snelling, a law student and map designer in Florida who goes by “FMPONE” online, had one map in Operation: Payback (Museum), and he has two (Cache and Gwalior) in Operation: Bravo, the second and current CSGO map pack. In a blog post on developer site MapCore, Snelling details his experience working with Valve — he made about $18,000 off of his contributions to Operation: Payback — and how they’re making a real difference in the life of John Q. Mapmaker:
…but the crucial difference between a typical commercial DLC [pack] and what Valve is doing, is monetary proceeds from each Operation [going] to community members. And community members are making some serious coin: well over $180,000 dollars was raised throughout Operation: Payback’s five-month season. That’s a HUGE reward for mappers, which is having a real impact on our lives.
Snelling collaborates with independent artists when he designs maps, and the payout system means he can pay for these while still keeping some money in his pocket.
Operation: Bravo launched on Sept. 19th, and the pack brings eight new maps and a slew of new weapon skins to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The skins are random item drops (similar to Team Fortress 2), but buying the Bravo map pack increases your chances of finding a crate.
Valve’s monetization system for CSGO is genius, as it brings fresh new content into the mix without upsetting the balance in competitive play — the skins are purely aesthetic, and don’t affect how guns operate. And since custom maps are a very integral component of Counter-Strike’s history, it’s good to see Valve holding the map community in such high regard.