Microsoft and Mojang have announced that they will be launching an official Minecraft store where community creators can sell their content to players, whether that's adventure maps, skins or texture packs. The Minecraft Marketplace program will launch on Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition and Minecraft: Pocket Edition in May, 2017 as part of the 1.11 Discovery Update, which brings many of the additions from the Java game’s Exploration Update over to the Windows 10 platform.
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Of course user-created content like this has been available for the Java version - or OG Minecraft - since 2011, this is the first time that Windows 10 and Pocket Edition users will be able to access user-created content like this. As an added bonus of this existing on the game's most popular and most widely ported netcode is that purchased content will be playable on any platform that utilises the Bedrock Engine, which covers everything from the Windows 10 version to the Apple TV port of the game, but not the Java or console versions.
If you’re a seasoned Minecraft Java edition player you’ll wonder exactly why anyone would want to pay for maps, texture packs and skins when you can just download them for free from Forge? Aside from Add-Ons, the Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition and Pocket Edition have lacked any means of modding or customizability. The idea behind Minecraft Marketplace was to sift out the rubbish and curate the best user-created stuff from the internet, particularly with so many platforms to function on.
So how exactly will Minecraft Marketplace work? When it launches, the store will feature content from nine well-known community creators, although more will be added on a monthly basis. That content will have been curated and reviewed in accordance to Minecraft's ESRB rating, and checked over by a dedicated team for major bugs, issues and copyright infringement before going up for sale on the store. Customers will then be able to buy and download that content with Minecraft Coins, the purchasable currency for the store. Both a maximum and minimum limit for how much content can be sold at will be put in place by the time the store launches.
Minecraft Coins will be sold at three pricing tiers:
- $1.99 for 300 Minecraft Coins
- $4.99 for 840 Minecraft Coins
- $9.99 for 1,720 Minecraft Coins
All of this is intended to offer community creators a reliable and steady stream of income, a way to make a living of Minecraft. As such, Mojang are promising that their approved creators will receive over 35% of revenue for their creations, with an initial cut of 30% going to the app store that hosts it and the remaining revenue being recycled into the team that runs the program. Previously, content creators have struggled to make a reliable income from their creations, particularly after Mojang's crackdown on advertising brands within the game via sponsored builds and the like.
While this is a huge leap forward for the Windows 10 version of the game in terms of what type of content its players can access, the fact that anything being sold on Minecraft Marketplace has to adhere to guidelines concerning the use of other IPs and age-appropriate content will inevitably limit what's available there. For example, the popular Pokemon clones, Fallout-inspired adventure maps and Star Wars skin packs won't make it through the screening process. As for age-appropriate material, creators will also be limited by what subjects they're allowed to cover and in what ways. An example of this tension was provided during the announcement presentation by Blockworks founder James Delaney during the presentation, who mentioned that his collective hoped to create a historical adventure map about Jack the Ripper, a topic that would be difficult to cover in a child-friendly manner.
What do you make of Minecraft Marketplace? Let us know in the comments below.