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Mojang struggles to refine  Minecraft  monetization rules
Mojang struggles to refine Minecraft monetization rules
June 18, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

June 18, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing

Last week, Mojang announced that it was modifying the Minecraft end user license agreement to permit server operators to make money from the game -- as long as they followed Mojang's rules.

The change comes in response to a torrent of complaints from Minecraft fans about a portion of the game's EULA that prevents users from making money from the game by charging for things like server access or cosmetic in-game items.

"Someone saw that the EULA says you can’t charge for these things, and asked one of the people working at Mojang about it. That person said that yes, it is indeed against the rules, and then everything exploded," reads a recent entry on Notch's personal blog. "A lot of people voiced their concerns. A few people got nasty. Someone said we’re literally worse than EA."

The new exception governs how players may monetize their Minecraft servers by, say, selling ad space or charging people for server access. The folks at Mojang claim they don't want the Minecraft EULA -- which includes a clause forbidding users from making money off the game -- to stop server operators from covering their costs in a non-exploitative manner.

"People running servers are a huge part of what makes Minecraft so special, and they need to be able to pay for the servers," wrote Notch. "So we came up with all sorts of ways this could be done without ruining the 'you don’t pay for gameplay' aspect of Minecraft we all find so important."

It's an interesting example of how license agreements may need to change as the business of games evolves, and Mojang is upfront about the fact that they may continue to modify or change the game's EULA as necessary. Yesterday, the company published a follow-up Q&A post that confirms the changes will be effective as of August 1 and addresses a number of player concerns about the business of operating a Minecraft server.

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Chris Book
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PCGamesN has a good writeup on the kinds of scummy servers that Mojang is targeting.

Of course they're going to act like Mojang is worse than Hitler because they won't be able to scam children anymore.

Arnaud Clermonté
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( deleted comment )

Christian Nutt
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Have to remove the space before the t in the URL when you copy/paste it from above.

Philippe Allard-Rousse
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I undestand that all change can bring contestation, but the only thing I see is server owner moaning without bringing creative solution.

From what I understand, the only thing Mojan want is that all player have equal gameplay on one server. This still leave the door open to tiers subscription, where the advantage are the same for every player of that server.

That would mean Tiers Servers instead of Tiers Player. Yes, that would mean less player on these server, but at least, all player will be equal.

Eric Finlay
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This is a lesson in how the vocal people are the angry people. Can you imagine the outcry if Mojang had announced that they were implementing some sort of Minecraft-wide F2P system? But what they've done is announce intentions to prevent predatory F2P systems...and the internet still explodes! "Worse than EA" my ass.

Kyle Redd
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Isn't Minecraft supposed to be DRM-free? How can they enforce the rules of the EULA if the game allows you to create a server at any time you want, without getting permission from Mojang?

Javier Degirolmo
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It's a legal threat, it's enforced with lawyers, not with software.

Kyle Redd
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To clarify my question: Assuming that Mojang were to revoke a person's license to play Minecraft, how would that decision be enforced?

If Minecraft is a DRM-free game, revoking a person's license because they violated the EULA is a completely toothless act. License or no, there would be no way to stop that person from playing the game or continuing to run their server, correct?

Austin Kucera
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From what I understand, Javier's answer still holds.

Mojang could not ip ban them, or prevent the offenders from using their game by software means. But they could hire lawyers who could sue the server admins. The offenders could lose money or be thrown in jail, in theory.

Ian Uniacke
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"A few people got nasty. Someone said we’re literally worse than EA." You cut me deep Notch. We used to be friends.