The Future of Minecraft?
Mods are an important part of the Minecraft experience. Mods open up new possibilities for Minecraft and let you do anything you can imagine. Mods have also always been free. Yet this is changing. The internet recently exploded, with Valve’s announcement that the Steam Workshop would start allowing creators to charge for their mods, specifically with Skyrim to begin with, and then rolling out to other games in the near future. Minecraft isn’t sold on Steam, yet recent events raise interesting questions. Will we have to start paying for mods? Will creators start charging? Is Mojang okay with this? Will Microsoft want to take a cut?
Currently, the EULA states that “Any tools you write for the Game from scratch belong to you. Modifications to the Game (“Mods”) (including pre-run Mods and in-memory Mods) and plugins for the Game also belong to you and you can do whatever you want with them, as long as you don‘t sell them for money / try to make money from them. We have the final say on what constitutes a tool/mod/plugin and what doesn‘t.”
It’s pretty clear cut, and explicitly states that you can’t sell mods. Yet what if Mojang could make money off a similar system to the Steam Workshop? Would the situation change? I think so. While Minecraft has sold millions of copies, it’s an evolving game, and relies on updates from the team at Mojang all the time. Basically, Mojang will eventually start to lose money, and they can’t rely on selling copies of Minecraft forever. Taking a percentage cut of mod sales would provide money for them, therefore enabling the continued development of Minecraft.
Given the internet’s outcry against Valve’s move, it remains to be seen whether or not paid modding can be successful. I’m interested to see what comes of it, but at the same time, it’s a risky move by Valve, and one that Mojang may not want to follow. I guess now, we just wait.