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'Minecraft' PC battle brewing between Mojang and custom server owners

Photo courtesy of Mojang, used with permission

Mojang and its creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, have made millions from the release of “Minecraft” for the PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and tablets with plans to conquer the PS4, Xbox One and PS Vita next. The PC community for the game is the most actively involved though with fans creating their own custom servers and game. Some of those custom servers have introduced monetization tactics that Mojang does not approve which started the beginnings of a battle on Friday.

The controversy started with a discussion between Mojang’s Erik Broes and one of the “Minecraft” custom server administrators. The chatlog posted to Reddit (since removed) read, “You cannot make money with Minecraft without our permission… If you are on a server, your experience should be the same as every other player. We just do not want people to mix the pools of ‘paying people’ and ‘nonpaying people.”

The current EULA was last updated in December 2013 with the “One Major Rule” stating that you cannot “give copies of the game away, make commercial use of, try to make money from, or let other people get access to our game and its parts in a way that is unfair or unreasonable.” This includes the client and the server as well as “modified versions” of “Minecraft” or “anything else we’ve made.”

However, running a “Minecraft” server has turned into an expensive proposition as the game’s popularity has exploded. The hosting costs are sizable which led to custom servers to begin to take donations to maintain them. However, some took it a step further by offering playable perks to those who donated such as access to a Diamond Sword, a different colored username or other monetization techniques that grant use of certain features or items.

The restriction of access based on who pays money is what has Mojang concerned. This Twitter exchange between one of the server admins and Persson is especially noteworthy.

@notch: I have no idea what's happening with eula, I've been home with a bad cold. But basically, you can't charge for our game. Duh.

@PandaTooth: @notch We are not charging for your game. We are charging for our games built on your game engine we spend 50 hours a week working on them.

@notch: @PandaToothGamin You can't made paid games based on our engine. That's the entire point.

Mojang is reportedly working on updating or clarifying the EULA situation to find a middle ground between protecting its rights with the game it created and the need for custom server administrators to bring in some money to help offset costs. According to Notch, it should be out early this week.

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