Waypoint.vice.com published an interview and an in depth discussion with one of the developers at the Steam workshop. He was able to furnish details about how the system works and how creators get paid for their creations to get added to the in game store. With rough estimates putting the value at around $40000 for each item that gets added to the store, it is deifitely something that people live off.
“People really seem to like those,” said Heesterman of the pink AK’s. “At least, in the Workshop they are being upvoted, and when Valve publishes a skin in-game that [has] very vibrant colors… People, for some reason, even though it’s been highly upvoted in the workshop, are like ‘the fuck is this? I don’t want to play with that!’ You can be seen a hundred miles away with that thing.”
Steam Workshop recently has been in the news with several bots spoiling the entire process of having votes and downvotes in the workshop. This has created a very skewed system wherein developers are not being helped with legitimate feedback, but spam is creating a very toxic and dangerous atmosphere. Even though an article might be the top voted in the workshop, the system changes drastically once it is actually released. The community might give lots of negative feedback about the item once it is released. This definitely impacts the earnings of the creator. However that being said it is important to understand the amount of effort that goes into creating the content required.
“If I’m working, going crazy at it… to make a full set, back in the day, it took like, two weeks,” said Everett. “But these days, because I have to do loading screens and a whole bunch of other supplementary shit, it usually takes four weeks. And because I’m working with other people instead of working for myself, I’ll work with them to see if they like it, and if they don’t like it I have to change it, and that sort of thing. So there’s a lot more iteration these days than there used to be, which slows it down a lot.”
Each game has itś own set of problems and difficulties. CSGO has guns which might not be appreciated by the community at large. Dota2 , according to the article has it easy when it comes to designing new content. However there are intricate details that are necessary for the system to be sustained.
You can read the entire article in depth at vice.com