Ok so rather than writing my mandatory and highly controversial E3 blog (which is late) Iíve decided to post this one about the latest nontroversey to erupt in gaming.
Mojang have finally decided to crack down on people monetising Minecraft with a set of rule for server. No this is not Mojang banning lets plays, let me get that clear and out there to begin with.
Iíve played Minecraft on a number of servers and honestly I can see where Mojang is coming from. There have been plenty of servers I tried only to immediately leave because of the monetisation methods used.
Now I entirely get that monetisation is used by people to support the servers as servers cost money. However as getting people to cough up an upkeep when they already bought a paid for game is a problem and some servers have just gone too far.
Minecraft servers can range from very ethical Valve level to Korean MMO level of pay to win. Some servers have tip jars, others give aesthetics to peopleís names or use other mods to allow different options like custom capes (capes now actually being against EULA but hey ho you can still charge for hats) . Then there are the servers people hate the servers like one I once spent 30 minutes on that charged you $20 for the ability to mine diamonds. Thatís right there are servers out there that wonít let you mine the most durable material in minecraft unless you pay. Iíve seen servers run a popular mod called MCMMO (which adds MMO levelling and ability elements to Minecraft ) then charge people $15 to unlock the function to use MCMMO abilities. †Some servers have their own currency and then offer the chance to charge to top up the currency.
Mojang are not being the devil here. Theyíre bringing law to the wild west they created. A wild west thatís often as wild and unethical as the android or IOS marketplace.
Now the issue of the wild west shouldnít be placed entirely on Mojang or even server operators as honestly itís the same issue that everyone has no doubt seen again and again. The electronic babysitter problem. Rather than monitor their children or pay attention parents are just using Minecraft as a babysitter and even more shockingly when little Timmy asks to borrow his parents credit card they arenít asking why (Assuming little Timmy did ask and not take it). According to Notch "I don't even know how many emails we've gotten from parents, asking for their hundred dollars back their kid spent on an item pack on a server we have no control over."
The new EULA actually differs from the original line which said no monetisation was allowed, the latest potential change being the suggestion Mojang might enforce said EULA now and bring law to their own personal wild west and also to entirely protect themselves against any potential action and trouble they could face due to action of servers operating without their knowledge or consent.
For those interested the Actual EULA for Minecraft can be found here
which details the what can and can't be done.
It boils down to
Pay to access the server = fine
Accept donation = fine†
You are allowed to have in server ads / adspace or sponsorship
You can sell in game cosmetics items that do not impact gameplay (but no cloaks).
You cannot have a currency exchange system where you can turn real world money into fun money.
Any monetisation must make clear to the player who they are paying and that it is not going to Mojang.
So how long do you give it before another issue of the electronic babysitter comes up in the media now ?