MICROSOFT THREATENS TO SUE A 15 YEAR OLD MINECRAFT PLAYER?
Mojang, a subsidiary company bought by Microsoft in 2014, is now threatening Minecraft players with blacklisting and possibly legal action too for not following the guidelines established in their EULA.
The developers of the popular game have often had their decisions criticized by their players. From censorship of popular Minecraft Youtubers, to the Billion dollar sale of Minecraft itself. Mojang’s relationship with the community could be described as shaky at best.
Yet, it seems that already fragile relationship is at risk of shattering.
This article was formed by collecting the opinions of several Minecraft server owners and players who are afraid to speak up for themselves.
Since the start of Minecraft, Mojang had a very lax rule set on what players were allowed to do with the game once purchased. This included players being able to set up multiplayer servers with no restrictions so that they could play with other people from around the world. In the very beginning, in 2010, a Hungarian IT Business Analyst found out how to monetize the Minecraft multiplayer niche. Monman11, the inventor of “ranks” and “donation extras” showed the world how to make money off of running servers that are basically free to play for anyone who purchased the game. Of course, he is still out there with his – by now only medium sized – oldschool server network: monman11.com
After this “invention” happened, Mojang even encouraged the creation of these servers, as number of new Minecraft account purchases were boosted tremendously by them and invited many of their creators to host events at Mojang’s Minecraft Convention Minecon. The creator of Minecraft Notch ‘Markus Persson’ even made verbal agreements with several players confirming that them hosting servers was allowed.
Most of these servers created around this time still exist today. Many with player counts of ten-thousand players or more. However as player counts on these servers grew so did the operational costs of hosting them. In order to pay for these growing costs many servers started accepting donations or selling perks to players. This revenue allowed servers to hire developers to create more content for the players who play on them. Many of these servers now employ whole teams of people ranging from developers to customer support.
These servers are hugely beneficial to Mojang and Microsoft as they provided massive amounts of multiplayer content for players that increased the value of the game tremendously. As Mojang saw the benefit of these Multiplayer servers and the value they brought to the game. They were content to let them grow and develop for years. And even promised features in order to encourage their growth. Mojang was more than happy to rake in Millions off of the labor of their playerbase in exchange for giving players the freedom to make their own money as well.
Recently however, this symbiotic relationship now no longer appears to satisfy Mojang as they have have now launched a full out assault on many of the owners of these servers. Dozens of large server networks have received emails from Mojang’s Eula Enforcement Team and have been told to stop selling anything that Mojang doesn’t like. Any servers that have failed to respond to Mojang’s emails, or have not complied quickly enough, have been subjected to thug like tactics and given less than subtle threats that if they do not comply they might receive legal action.
But, according to Mojang’s emails selling $500 hats to 6 year-old kids are totally fine!
One of these servers is owned by a 15 year old who has received many of these threats from Mojang. Along with these scare tactics, Mojang also blacklisted his server. Preventing anyone who has bought the game from connecting to his server to play on it. The blacklist is essentially a death sentence to servers, and it sends a message that even with all the money you’ve earned for Mojang, if you cross them they will take action against you. Dozens of owners, even younger than 13 were contacted by Mojang’s Brand Enforement Team and were threatened the same way.
Many players have criticized Mojang’s Mafia style enforcement as unfair or even criminal. As several servers have even been blacklisted when they were following Mojang’s guidelines simply for expressing concern or criticism. Many legal professionals have also said that Mojang has no legal standing in enforcing restrictions on Multiplayer servers because of their endorsement of these practices for years, and the fact that EULA’s have never been upheld in court.
Mojang/Microsoft are also making up rules as they go. An example of this can be seen in recent leaked emails from Mojaing telling servers not to give players any rewards for voting on server list websites. Even though there is no clause in Mojangs Terms of Service regarding this Mojang has still blacklisted servers that have not complied with this mandate.
However, even if players do see these rules as unfair or illegal there is little any of them can do. Many Minecraft youtubers and servers are afraid to speak out against Mojang for fear of retaliation. As was the case when the owner of one large network went on Dramaalert to discuss the issue with the community and had his server blacklisted within 24 hours. Mojang then ignored his emails to them for weeks even though he was complying with their guidelines. Some have even criticized Mojang’s move as an attempt to push server owners out of the way as they introduce their own server hosting platform, Minecraft Realms.
Needless to say, these actions by Microsoft, and its subsidiary company Mojang, have sparked outrage in the Minecraft community and this issue has cast serious doubt as to whether Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investment in the game will pay off. Or whether players will abandon Minecraft and seek out games that don’t threaten their players and the people who help make them a success.
Source: this is an open letter to the public written by a part of the server owners community
We are yet to see what will happen to the server of monman11, the “father of ranks” after publishing this open letter on his own server’s website, standing out for the niche he catalyzed to boom: Minecraft Servers!
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