This comes from TF2 Cut Content Wiki on Twitter, who had reached out to Valve regarding the price and payment for a Source developer repository license. The entire exchange between them and Valve was posted on November 13, and Valve’s response reads:
“We reached an agreement with Microsoft to have Havok fees waived for future mods of Valve games,” said Steam support. “With that being said, we see the main purpose of mods to act as non commercial fan projects. As paid mods set a certain amount of quality expectations on the part of the community and the TF2 [Team Fortress 2] team does not have the bandwidth to actively work with mod teams the bar is at this point extremely high to onboard new commercial mod projects.”
Should've posted the full exchange. I didn't submit this through Steam Support initially either, as you can see. I guess it got forwarded to their legal department. Caught me by surprise when I noticed I had a Steam Support notification. #TF2 #TeamFortress2 pic.twitter.com/ZJQk05wpuv
— 🇨🇦 TF2 Cut Content Wiki (@TF2CCWiki) November 13, 2021
The TF2 Cut Content Wiki then came out earlier today (November 14) to clarify what this means for Team Fortress 2 mods, as there was some confusion regarding paying the license fee. “It appears this Havok license fee bit is for “paid” mods only (mods you pay for). All of the TF2 mods are not “paid” mods, so this doesn’t affect them as they wouldn’t have to pay those fees,” they said.
Microsoft bought Havok – the company behind the Havok physics engine – in 2015, and as this Steamworks page notes, for “any Source Engine game that charges money, Havok needs to be paid a licensing fee of $25,000 (roughly £18,600) for the physics engine,” if the game is to be sold on Steam. This is because Havok physics are a middleware to Valve’s Source engine.
Whilst this means that free Team Fortress 2 mods, and any other free content based on Valve titles, won’t need to pay the fee, this is a huge step for paid mods of Valve games, as they will now not need to pay the cost either.
Despite this, major Team Fortress 2 mod TF2Classic is still unable to be downloaded as the developers are working out “an arrangement with Valve”. The team also tweeted on November 7 to reiterate that it is waiting for a response from the developer whilst working on the free mod internally.
Valve is typically very receptive to mods and fan projects, as just recently, a fan-made remaster of Half-Life 2 has been given the company’s blessing, and it has an official Steam page in the works.
In other news, the multiplayer component for Halo Infinite is rumoured to launch on November 15, a month before the official release date for the game.