On June 12, Mojang announced that Minecraft players can now monetize the servers they host by selling access and other cosmetic items, although many feel that this new monetization model stunts the ability for hosts to make back the costs of running their servers.
The news sparked a debate among some players that make money off of the game via servers and Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson. Persson took to Twitter to express frustration over the online argument.
"Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life?" Persson tweeted. "Getting hate for trying to do the right thing is not my gig."
According to a post on Mojang's website, server owners can charge other players to access their server, so long as the fee is the same for all players and no gameplay elements are restricted to paid tiers. Server owners can also accept donations and place ads in their in-game worlds. In-game items can be sold so long as they are cosmetic and don't affect gameplay; this means a ban on the sale of swords, invincibility potions and other items of this kind. Special items, minigames and cosmetic mods can also be sold for money, but all players on a server must be able to access them. If these mods or items affect gameplay, however, owners cannot charge for them.
No servers are exempt from these rules and all must comply with this new EULA by Aug. 1.
Players have already raised concerns over this model, stating this will stunt multiplayer innovation with its focus on cosmetic items. By preventing players from charging for gameplay features, such as a mods and other user-created content, this means creators will need to focus on selling loads of non-gameplay-altering materials, which some players believe won't recoup the cost of running a server. Without earning money, many of these player-run servers will inevitably shut down, players say.
"We have always felt like we were partners, we were taking your open platform and creating a second tier of customized content to keep players engaged and interested in Minecraft," wrote Gregory Schmitt of server Mineplex. "It is hard for servers that have put so much time and effort into MC to see you guys using language that imply you have merely been putting up with us rather than valuing our contribution.
"It is disappointing and disheartening to feel like Mojang does not see the incredible value of servers that are adding so much content to the game and keeping players engaged and interested in it," he added. "Last year we were described as the ‘second tier of content' to Minecraft, that is the value we have always been seeking to provide."
"I have no idea how the bigger servers that pay people to answer support tickets, deal with hackers, develop content all as a hobby can exist if Mojang pushes the issue," wrote Reddit user "Rurikar" on the forums. "My bet is they won't. If you do not play on any of these servers, I do not expect you to care if they disappear, but for those of us who have communities and games that go above and beyond, it's really sad to see that this might kill everything.
"I thought Mojang embraced us, but it's starting to look like they feel they are so big they don't care about the mod community, the content creators, or hell even the YouTubers," he added.