You’ll End Up with the Companies You Deserve: The Minecraft Meltdown

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You’ll End Up with the Companies You Deserve

Apparently, some cretins have accused Mojang of being ‘literally worse than EA’ in recent times due to a perceived change in their stance over how servers for Minecraft can be monetised.

Let’s take a look at this:

  • Mojang made a game called Minecraft.
  • Millions of people bought the game, either in its final version or in one of its Alpha/Beta iterations.
  • Mojang allowed people to make content for the game – indeed, it was designed in such a way as people could run servers by themselves.
  • In the Licensing Agreement for the Minecraft it’s made clear you may not make money from Mojang’s products.
  • A de-facto partnership was formed with the community as Mojang agreed that people could monetise video content about the game. A great many people profited from this – including Mojang who gained thousands of hours worth of free publicity for their title.
  • Mojang recognised the costs of running servers for the game and allowed for charging players for access by those who operated the servers.
  • As is the way of things, monetisation spread out from simply paying for access to include paying for cosmetic items and in-game upgrades and boosts.
  • Mojang were incredibly busy continuing to develop their flagship title in addition to other games.
  • Disgruntled people contacted Mojang asking for refunds for “their hundred dollars back their kid spent on an item pack on a server we have no control over.”
  • Mojang’s recognised people were being asked to pay for gameplay on these servers and decided to end this practice by enforcing the already existing EULA.
  • Predictably, the internet lost it’s shit.

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Mojang responded by releasing a statement clarifying what you were allowed to do with respect to monetising your Minecraft server. Edited highlights below:

You are allowed to charge players to access your server
So long as the fee is the same for all players, you are allowed to charge for access to your server. You are not allowed to split your playerbase into paying, and non-paying users, nor can you restrict gameplay elements to different tiers of player.
You are allowed to accept donations
You are allowed to accept donations from players. You are not allowed to restrict gameplay features in an attempt to make money.
You are allowed to provide in-game advertising or sponsorship opportunities
You are allowed to put adverts in your Minecraft worlds to help with costs.
You are allowed to sell in-game items so long as they don’t affect gameplay
We don’t mind you selling items in game, but they must be purely cosmetic. We want all players to be presented with the same gameplay features, whether they decide to pay or not.
You cannot charge real-world cash for in-game currency

Provide your customers with loads of info
If you do decide to monetise your server, you must clearly state that the purchase is not associated with Mojang.

These rules are making attempts to prevent Minecraft servers becoming “pay-to-win.”

Those running the servers have, in some cases, taken to running petitions and trying to gather support on reddit in order to make their case. They evidently disagree with the ‘changes’ that have been made and want to continue to bilk the players on their servers.

Let’s face it, profiteering on the back of someone else’s video game was always going to be a short-term prospect. Of course you’re butthurt, you were making a considerable amount of money and now Mojang are cutting off some of that revenue stream. The problem is, they’re being pretty damn decent about the whole thing.

Minecraft creator, Notch, has made it difficult for you by having the temerity to be a game designer first and a money grubber distant last.

“Mojang does not exist to make as much money as possible for the owners… at the end of the day we choose to do what either makes the most sense for our products, or the things that seem like fun for us.”

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If you seek to make money on the back of someone else’s creative endeavour, you need to be clear of the ground upon which you stand – and how it might shift at moments notice. After shipping 50 million units on various platforms, you’d better believe there’s some serious legal clout behind the Minecraft name. To all intents and purposes, Mojang have ‘made their money’ on this game. Whine about the server community being destroyed all you want, but Mojang can do what they like; beholden to no-one but themselves, it’s fortunate for you that the company didn’t want a cut of your takings in the first place. All they seem to want to do is protect the quality of the experience for the player base. If only most developers and publishers saw things the same way.

The sense of entitlement from those running effected servers is staggering. Causing headaches for those developers who try and do a good turn for everyone by sharing within the community is going to push them to less open in the future.

Persistent bleating is likely to cause even nice guys like Notch to go the Goodfellas rout of, “Fuck you, pay me.”

Sources

Notch’s personal blog – http://notch.net/2014/06/literally-worse-than-ea/

Mojang website – ‘Let’s Talk Server Monetisation’ – https://mojang.com/2014/06/lets-talk-server-monetisation/

Bjarn Bronsveld’s Petition – Change your EULA – https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/mojang-change-your-eula

reddit.com discussion – http://www.reddit.com/r/admincraft/comments/27dy0q/1710_forces_you_to_accept_the_eula_before_you_can/