For years now, video games have toed the delicate line between being art and being a business. I feel there is no better example of this than Minecraft; both an avenue for unlimited creative expression, but also an enterprise that sold for $2.5 billion. In a recent bid to further connect the two sides, Microsoft is unveiling the “Minecraft Marketplace.”
Announced via press release, the Minecraft Marketplace is a new program that will give players on the C++ Bedrock Engine platforms (mobile and Windows 10 PC) the opportunity to browse, download and play community creations from within the game itself. The Marketplace will be arriving with the 1.1 Discovery Update this Spring.
Microsoft says the reason behind the Marketplace is, “to give mobile and Windows 10 players access to a growing catalogue of fun stuff, curated and supplied by us – the Minecraft team – safely and simply, while giving Minecraft creators another way to make a living from the game, allowing them to support themselves in the creation of future projects.”
To that end, the Minecraft Marketplace will be using a premium currency called Minecraft Coins, which players will purchase with real-world money. At launch, Microsoft will have a catalogue of adventure maps, texture packs, mini games and more; created by well-known community creators like Noxcrew, BlockWorks, and Qwertyuiop The Pie, among others, opening up submissions to anyone with a registered business later on down the line.
While Minecraft has had paid DLC on consoles for a while now (in the form of texture packs and skins), one has to worry about the potential of creating a streamlined marketplace, particularly on a mobile platform, for an audience mostly made up of children. Games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans have all been the centre of horror stories involving thousand dollar credit card bills—to now apply that to a game with the pedigree amongst kids like Minecraft could be equally volatile.