Microsoft bought Mojang yesterday—you may have heard something about that. You may also have heard grumblings from some corners of the community that Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson "sold out" by taking the money and abandoning his game—and, by extension, his millions of adoring fans—to the fickle whims of of a corporate villain. But Garry Newman, the man behind indie darlings Garry's Mod and Rust, says he'd do exactly the same thing if he could, and you probably would too.
The rumors are true: Microsoft is buying Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. And as we discovered this morning, Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson is leaving the company. As you can imagine, the PC Gamer team has some strong feelings about the acquisition, and the impact of Minecraft.
Notch statement on leaving Mojang: "I'm not a CEO. I'm a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter."
After a week of rumours, Minecraft maker Mojang has today confirmed they're being bought by Microsoft. The studio has also announced that founders Markus "Notch" Persson, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser are to leave. Blimey!
Yesterday's all-but-unbelievable rumor is today's "looking like it might actually be so," as reports that Minecraft studio Mojang is on the verge of being acquired by Microsoft continue to surface. Even more interesting, the word on the street is that the idea of the buyout came not from Microsoft, but from Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson himself.
In what may be the most unexpected rumor of the year, Microsoft is reportedly close to completing a deal that will see it acquire Mojang AB, better known as the studio that makes Minecraft.
A major update to Mojang's Scrolls is coming later this month that will add new Trials, new scrolls, a Black Market for scroll trading and even an improved profanity filter. And then—a release date!
We basically live in Minecraft now, so in a sense, Britain is about to be flooded with new underwater block types, cute wickle bunny rabbits, less cute killer bunny rabbits, and mutton by the blockload. Which is to say: Minecraft has a big ol' update launching today, featuring quite a few changes and a lot of added content, including those things I just said, a bunch of new world types and more.
August hasn't been particularly kind to Minecraft conventions, official or otherwise. Following that worrying news about the unofficial 'Mineorama' convention comes the sad news that there will be no Minecon this year. Mojang COO Vu Bui announced as much on the Mojang site, stating that "while we’d love to do MINECON every year and it’s the only event we do as a company, we want to make sure we can give it the attention it needs, and that means that springtime next year will work best". In the meantime, there's nothing stopping you from holding your own Minecraft convention in the zombie-infested tunnels under your house.
"Doors and fences now come in all wood type variants," reads one of the patch notes for Minecraft's 1.8: The Bountiful Update, proving that this release is a pretty big deal. Other, less game-changing improvements include new enemies, new blocks, client-side optimisation and other 'under-the-hood' changes. And rabbits. The patch, which officially goes live on Tuesday, 2 September, can now be downloaded in pre-release form by enabling development versions in the Minecraft launcher.
The team lead on Bukkit, a Minecraft mod designed to simplify the job of maintaining heavily-modded servers, wrote a lengthy message this morning declaring that development of the mod was being brought to an end. He said changes to the Minecraft EULA, and Mojang's sudden enthusiasm for enforcing its terms, means that "there is little motivation for us to continue limping on across various aspects of the project."
In Minecraft it's never a matter of 'if' but 'when'. One day every conceivable location will be recorded in-game, but you can strike Diablo II off the list because someone has finally applied themselves to the task. No doubt there were whole online communities out there baying for this.
Minecraft is a CPU intensive game, not that its players seem to mind. I've seen teens hunched over laptops, merrily battling single digit frame-rates in order to expand their Creative repertoire. Does it have to be this way? Mojang think not. Their latest Minecraft Snapshot lets player trial what they refer to as "major optimizations" to the client's rendering, hopefully making for a smoother game.
Minecraft developer Jens Bergensten has revealed on Twitter that players may soon be able to opt for slimmer, three-pixel-wide arms for their characters. As for why, that isn't quite so clear.
At the start of the month, Mojang developer Erik "Grum" Broes reiterated to server owners that charging Minecraft players for perks was against the rules of its end-user agreement. It sparked a vocal backlash from the community—particularly the moderators and patrons of the game's largest servers. Shortly after, Mojang officially updated the rules around server monetisation—relaxing certain criteria, but expressly forbidding the selling of non-cosmetic game features. Eventually, Notch stepped in, defending himself from criticisms of being "literally worse than EA".
Clearly then, Mojang's response hasn't placated the largest communities in the Minecraft multiplayer scene. So is there any validity to their concerns? I've rounded up some of the arguments for and against the new EULA, and have emerged largely in agreement with Mojang's plans. Let me explain why.
E3 remains the place for big developers and publishers to reveal and showcase their games. We love PAX, Gamescom, and GDC, but E3 is where Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, EA, et al. come out swinging with millions of marketing dollars to try and outdo one another in spectacle in a series of Monday press conferences.
The PC, lacking a sole, corporate representative or elected monarch, doesn’t have its own press conference at E3. Our platform has a great presence on the E3 floor, which we’ll be covering tirelessly this week, but we can’t help but wonder each year: if PC gaming a press conference, what would it be like? As we’ve done in 2013 and 2012, here’s our vision.
Minecraft is pretty popular, but it's also kind of a time sink. To get around this, some servers allow impatient players to pay for perks, letting them essentially buy their way to the top, or to whatever measure of "victory" they aspire. The only problem is that this runs contrary to the terms of the Minecraft EULA, which forbids monetization of content created by Mojang, as well as mods and plugins. "You can do whatever you want with them, as long as you don't sell them for money / try to make money from them," it states. "We have the final say on what constitutes a tool/mod/plugin and what doesn't."
It's the kind of thing that people generally click past and ignore, but that may not be an option for much longer. Mojang looks set to begin cracking down on Minecraft servers that allow players to pay for perks.
From a design perspective, elaborating on Goat Simulator's features seems impossible. It has everything: goats; tongue-based physics; big, pretty score numbers; goats; a reckless disregard for property value. Still, Coffee Stain isn't yet done with the glory of goat, as a free 1.1 update hits June 3 with a new map, wall running, and local multiplayer support. From the recesses of the "just because" portion of the team's crazy minds comes another addition to the incoming patch: Minecraft—with goats.
What if Elizabeth tore open a rift, but instead of yanking out a crate of guns or a Gatling-wielding automaton, she withdraws a square-shaped chunk of grass before chucking it at your face with a "Booker, catch!"? I'd sputter in confusion, but that probably also means BioShock Infinite's heroine found her way to the Minecraft-ed version of the floating city of Columbia. Constructed by architect group TheVoxelBox of the Planet Minecraft fansite, the city boasts superb detail and personality worthy of the game's best custom creations.