In the last day or so, the normally bright skies of Minecraft have been darkened by arguing, fear and talk of the EULA for Minecraft being changed to restrict players and server hosts making money out of the game beyond donations.
Some of the folk behind the private custom servers who sell services and other things like perks are in an uproar, as they say they will be unable to continue maintaining the worlds they’ve created.
What’s changed to cause the debacle? Well, nothing. But change might be coming.
Mojang’s current EULA was drawn up in December, 2013. The one major rule outlined in the EULA is that people cannot make money from anything Mojang has made. That seems reasonable, but a lot of the things being sold in custom servers have nothing to do with Mojang. They are things like titles and plugins not developed by the studio.
The EULA does expand this “major rule”, but it continues to be vague. “By ‘distribute anything we‘ve made’ what we mean is ‘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’.” What is unfair or unreasonable?
There is not an explicit rule that states nobody can make money from anything in Minecraft. Which is where most of the confusion has stemmed from, since Mojang appears to be acting under the impression that this rule has always existed.
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Mojang’s Erik Broes seems to be the point of origin for the new EULA discussion. A Reddit post displays a chatlog where Broes says it doesn't matter if it's based on plugins, "you cannot make money with Minecraft without our permission". This is not clear from the current EULA. “[I]f you are on a server, your experience should be the same as every other player,” he continued. “[W]e just do not want people to mix the pools of 'paying people' and 'nonpaying people'.”
Broes mentions that the developers discussed the situation, with the end result potentially being a change to the EULA. That would certainly need to happen, as the current version does not make this remotely clear.
There is only one way where you can get money in Minecraft, both Broes and Notch - who chimed in on Twitter - explain. Server hosts may accept donations to fund the running of said servers, but these donations must come with no strings attached. Donors cannot receive gifts or perks, because then it becomes a sale.
You can charge for hosting servers, but not for gameplay features.— Markus Persson (@notch) June 6, 2014
Have any of you lot paid for perks or other things in a Minecraft server? Would the removal of such a feature put you off continuing to play? And if you run a server yourself, what do you make of the potential changes? Let us know in the comments, chums.