Mojang has always been one of the few companies to follow the flow of the player. This is due to the remarkable things, connecting to the players and just showing that it cares. It is also smart, very smart, in fact. During the time when content creators on YouTube started playing Minecraft, Mojang started working on more updates, as it knew an influx of players was coming.
Mojang always knew how to make the players feel like they are integrated with the game. The entire game is built upon the fact that you can change the world to your liking. However, they take it to the next level. Mojang, quite literally, asks the players to vote for the next mob, which is an extremely innovative concept.
It is this ingenuity that made Mojang turn Minecraft into what it is today, and this ingenuity carried onto its corporate decisions as well. Recently, there was some uproar that Mojang might be joining the NFT (non-fungible token) market. NFTs and microtransactions have always been a controversial issue in the video game industry, with many companies facing criticism even for discussing the matter. However, this wasn’t the case with Mojang.
If you’re unsure what an NFT is, Mojang defines it as “a unique, non-editable, digital token that is part of a blockchain and often purchased with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. An NFT can be associated with any form of digital asset such as an MPEG or a GIF. But the most common use case today is digital art like JPEGs.”
These days, the NFT market is on a major decline, and for good reason. These things only last as long as they are the centre of attention, and well, these days, players are more concerned with actual content rather than a digital market.
The reason people started to talk about NFTs in the first place was because of Minecraft-themed NFTs that have become popular over the last couple of months. Some of these collections sell for thousands (yes, thousands) of dollars apiece. These NFTs are listed on many marketplaces, such as OpenSea, some of which have sold for pretty hefty amounts.
It is gratifying to see that the reason these NFTs started was not originally from Mojang but rather from other origins. That’s why the community was eager to know if the NFT market was going to launch or not, after which we received a detailed answer from Mojang.
“To ensure that Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our client and server applications, nor may Minecraft in-game content such as worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods, be utilized by blockchain technology to create a scarce digital asset.”
Mojang outlined how a server owner can charge for access, and that all players should have access to the same functionality. It wants a community where everyone can have access to all functionality, a truly heartfelt sentiment.
It continued by adding that it only cares for the gameplay experience for the player, not to turn its game into a monetized mess. “The speculative pricing and investment mentality around NFTs takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering, which we think is inconsistent with the long-term joy and success of our players.”
“Blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our Minecraft client and server applications nor may they be utilized to create NFTs associated with any in-game content, including worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods.” To some, this news may be unfortunate, but to many, it is a sign of hope. Either way, the decision shows Mojang’s care for its players.
These decisions may come from Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, himself, who has an extremely open mind to these things. Last year, Phil Spencer emphasized that just because something is trending in the gaming community, doesn’t mean that everything has to be exactly that.
He said, “As an industry, we have to embrace that diversity. We have to ensure we don’t fall into thinking, okay, everything’s got to be a battle royale free-to-play game now.” He also stated that game developers should focus on providing the right gaming experiences to the audience instead of what’s in the market. “A creator should use the business model that allows them to deliver the right experience for them,” he said.
On the other side of the spectrum, we see completely opposite examples from other companies, where a developer or publisher is mostly in it for the money. SQUARE ENIX recently partnered with Enjin, an NFT company that will store tokens on its Efinity blockchain, just a few days ago. Consumers will be able to pre-order a physical figure that comes with a digital NFT.
Obviously, this is not the greatest feat accomplished by SQUARE ENIX. Making a new NFT system for buying physical items just degrades the integrity of the company as a whole. Of course, not everyone is like SQUARE ENIX; some companies see their mistakes.
Electonic Arts, for instance, silently scaled back its NFT plans, once having called them the “future of gaming”. This is coming from the same company that called developers who do not add microtransactions in their games “some of the biggest f****** idiots.” Pretty ironic coming from the company, if you ask me.
The entire idea of an NFT is absolutely absurd, but Mojang would have seen a lot of success in it. Seeing that it did not go on this path shows compassion and love for the community, or just a good business decision. Regardless, it’s safe to say that Mojang certainly dodged a lethal bullet.