Minecraft Windows 10 launching mod Marketplace

All right: who picked Minecraft in the pool for who’d try paid mods next? Come see me to collect your winnings. Mojang have announced the Minecraft Marketplace, a microtransaction store coming to sell skin and texture packs, adventure worlds, minigames, and more in the brick ’em up’s Windows 10 and pocket telephone version. Mojang say they’ll curate the store and only accept submissions from registered businesses, so it won’t be quite as much of a free-for-all as Steam and Skyrim’s crack at paid mods in 2015. And this is only in Microsoft’s rebuild of Minecraft, to be clear, not the original Java version.

The Minecraft Marketplace is due to launch this spring. Purchases should be cross-platform through shared Xbox Live accounts. Today’s announcement says:

“The idea is to give Minecraft creators another way to make a living from the game, allowing them to support themselves in the creation of ever-greater projects, while giving Pocket and Windows 10 players access to a growing catalogue of fun stuff – curated and supplied by us, safely and simply. And, of course, you can still manually download free community creations you’ve found out there on the internet, too.”

Items of on the Minecraft Marketplace will be sold for ‘Minecraft Coins’, a virtuacash sold in bundles in the usual microtransaction way. How much will things actually cost? All worlds in the few announcement screens are priced at 960 Coins, which comes out at around $5.50. Mojang do say the Coins “let creators set flexible prices” so… prices are a little hazy right now. As is how well it pays creators.

Mojang say that “the app store platforms take a 30% cut, but creators get the majority after that.” Without precise figures or a breakdown, I couldn’t tell you how it’ll shake out. Steam offered modders a 25% cut.

As I’ve said before, I don’t strictly oppose paid mods as I do think it could let more people support their work – and the thriving and vibrant free games scene shows many are happy to still release things free even when they have the option of monetisation.

Modding is huge in the Java version of Minecraft, big enough that many players ignore official Minecraft updates until their favourite mods carry over. It’s wild and free, and it neither needs nor could support a Marketplace. The new version of Minecraft, while it does support mods, doesn’t have that same scene. This change can’t destroy much and may help grow an interesting world of player creations.

I do wonder quite how the launch will be handled. I’ve seen Minecraft on a tablet plonked in front of many a child to keep ’em quiet, and I can’t imagine many parents pay attention to quite what its updates add. I’d be surprised if Mojang haven’t thought of this but who doesn’t enjoy a good “My child spent £2000 on microtransactions, oh god how did this happen” headline?

The Minecraft Marketplace will enter beta on Android in mid-April, to test Coins rather than the content. Mojang plan to hold an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on the Pocket Edition subreddit on April 20th from 5-8pm (UK time), so we should learn more about all this soon.

[Disclosure: Marsh Davies, our former resident Premature Evaluator, now works for Mojang. He does… something? Dunno. Never spoken to him. But I’ve happily slopped across a few marshes in my time, and I bet he loves those jokes.]

15 Comments

  1. PseudoKnight says:

    Another good reason to just stick with the original Minecraft.

    I should add there are segments of the Java Minecraft modding community that do offer premium solutions, such as Spigot plugins. (though not all of them do it well) There’s also traditional donations, which is probably the best way to support mod/plugin authors. Finally, there’s server owners that pay coders directly to create specially-made mods/plugins.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      I should add that as someone who does coding and support for part of the Minecraft community, premium plugins are a pain if the source isn’t available. It makes diagnosing compatibility issues very difficult. If you’re going to use closed source plugins, I can’t help you. You’re on your own. I hope the developer is still around and cares.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I don’t really get the point of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition other than Microsoft doing what they can to exercise control over something they don’t understand.

    Also the controls on the phone/tablet version are straight up terrible.

    But hey. I won’t use the store, but it’s no skin off my back if other people do. I’ll just keep playing terrafirma craft on the proper java version, like a weirdo.

    • brucethemoose says:

      It’s just an extension of the Xbox/Pocket versions.

      If you’re a kid, and you want the same game that your friends are playing on iPads and Xboxes, then you’d get the W10 version on your parent’s laptop.

      • Aetylus says:

        Wow… this two version thing may have worked out. Seems MS may have found a viable way to deal with the Great Micro-transaction Schism. Simply put Generation LoL in a different room to Generation Warcraft.

        • brucethemoose says:

          Exactly As far as M$ ventures go, it works out pretty well for everyone.

          They make an absolute killing off the LoL generation without any complaints, while the WoW generation version remains undisturbed. Neglected, yes, but that’s MUCH MUCH MUUUUCH better than MS screwing it up like they have a habit of doing.

  3. brucethemoose says:

    Oh man, MS is going to make a killing off of this.

    And yeah, this is a totally different demographic than the Java modded MC segment, especially the Forge mods. It always makes me a little sad that many youngins miss out on that, but nevertheless Im sure their favorite YouTuber’s skin will bring them pure joy.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Like Alice, I’m not against paid modding – as long as it’s optional (that is, as long as the modder can choose to have their mods be paid or free). The question, then, is whether the Win10 version will also support free modding – which would be great, because Java modding is a nightmare (I could never get Forge to work, even a few simple mods caused serial issues with my server that I have never been able to fix).

  5. Duke of ankh says:

    Well atleast it sounds like an improvement of how Valve implemented it last time

  6. Czrly says:

    I can help but feel that if I had built something and it had grown exponentially, mostly because of vibrancy of the community that grew up around it, I’d give those blokes the chance to take 100% of the money from selling their works, perhaps minus a small handling fee, instead of pocketing 30%, giving most of the rest back to myself (Mojang is owned by Microsoft, now) and letting them have the scraps.

    Mod developers: if you put up with this, you’ve only got yourselves to blame. Anything you put up on the store is feeding the business model and proving that it works.

    Don’t expect my support.

    • sosolidshoe says:

      Sadly, plenty of mod authors are happy to be actually-exploited by the publishers who own the videogames they mod so long as they don’t have to be “exploited” by dirty stinkin’ poors “stealing” their work.

      I wish I was joking, but seriously, there’s a segment of the mod author community who sees a system where the best mod authors scrape a measly ~30% of whatever their mods get sold for to the rest of us is better than one where the game companies give the best mod authors actual proper jobs to gain the benefit of their work over the long term. They would rather be reduced to freelancers working for pennies just as long as the “leeching masses” are forced to fork over money to use their mods.

      That’s their right, of course, but it’s hilariously petty and self-defeating.

      • interloper says:

        I’m sorry, I had to register just to reply because I have no idea where you’re getting this ludicrous image of mod authors acting like roaring twenties robber barons. Nobody thinks the people playing their mods are stealing their work – the average mod author is just happy anyone is even interested enough to try it.

        Also, the alternative to making 30% off of their work is making nothing, just spending lots of time and effort for nothing in return. And as the reflexive reaction over Skyrim showed, mod authors should apparently be happy they get nothing while spending tons of time and effort to create something enjoyed by many.

        There is nothing wrong with creating content for its own sake, but many people mistake mods being free in the past as indication of ‘as it should be’, rather than simply because there was never a framework in place to monetize them in the past. Now most AAA titles are so heavily locked down, and so many tools are free, that the mod-makers of old are simply indie developers. The overwhelming majority of people would welcome a chance to make money from doing something they enjoy and that entertains a lot of people.

        As for hiring the best mod makers, sure it happens, but there are far more mod makers than jobs, no one wants to hire. You think game companies aren’t already exploiting huge amounts of contractors to make these gigantic games? Getting hired is a whole different can of worms. The whole industry is exploitative whether you’re a mod maker or full-time developer.

  7. racccoon says:

    This game is brilliant but it has taken so dam long to wake up to what the world & others do in it! These devs are so SLOW on the uptake!

  8. April March says:

    Nice way to start, offering a virtuacash that obscures the actual cost of things.

  9. Kimau says:

    For those interested there is a very active and good open source Minecraft called Minetest. Built from the start for modding. link to minetest.net