Microsoft is planning to launch a new Minecraft online store for third-party generated adventure maps, skins and texture packs.
Minecraft Marketplace, due to arrive this spring, will also host the company's own goods. It's planned as a curated store that offers the best Minecraft-related worlds and assets. Mods, which have traditionally been free, will not be included.
In the past, the company only sold its own first-party goods via an online store. Third-parties sold goods via their own online sites, but were restricted to only a few platforms.
Purchases will be made using a virtual currency called Minecraft Coins that can be bought with real money. The Marketplace will be attached to the user's Xbox Live account. The currency cannot be earned through in-game activities. Third-party content creators will take at least a 50 percent share of income, according to a spokesperson for Microsoft, after retail fees have been extracted.
The Minecraft Marketplace will be available for all PC, tablet and mobile platforms, though not games consoles. These may be added at a later date.
At a press event last week, representatives from Microsoft's Minecraft team demonstrated some of the packs that will be available for purchase. Nine creators have been chosen to launch the service including Sphax, Blockworks, Imagiverse and Noxcrew. New packs include:
- Skyfair: A set of floating islands featuring funfair-style mini-games.
- Pastel Skin Pack: Play in a pretty pastel art style.
- Pirate Map: Sunken galleons and swashbuckling combat map.
- Fairy-tale Adventure Map: Explore a world inspired by well-loved tales.
- Stone Age Texture Map: Dinosaurs and cave-dwellers.
- Scorching Sands: A post-apocalyptic role-playing map.
- Automaton Dreams: Cyberpunk adventure map.
A Microsoft spokesperson said that the company has been working on the store almost since it bought Mojang, back in 2014. The team decided on a curated offering in order to avoid IP issues and large numbers of poor user-generated offerings. Map-making is extremely popular in the Minecraft community
The company hopes the new store will inspire quality additional content, such as adventure maps and stories that use Minecraft almost like a game engine. Would-be creators can find out more at a website that launches today. Microsoft is only accepting applications from registered businesses.
Minecraft Marketplace will launch alongside the 1.1 Discovery Update, which includes concrete and glazed terracotta blocks, llamas, ability to effect behavioral changes to mobs (such as allowing zombies to fly), new evil villagers and an option to export in-game creations for 3D printing and editing in Microsoft Paint.