Lets Talk Minecraft EULA

Recently there has been some news about Mojang changing their EULA to restrict private servers from charging real money for in-game services. This quickly spawned discussions on reddit and almost all major gaming news organizations gave their take on it. To be fair, the EULA was reworded, but the rules had been the same for some time. The difference here is that Mojang has never enforced its EULA rules, and it has actually endorsed some of those pay2win servers which makes their EULA void. They cannot forbid something in their EULA and support a server who is breaking it.

Players think this will be good for the Minecraft community and they couldn’t be more wrong. First this forces servers to either downsize or create a pay window in which every player has to buy to get into an unknown server. If servers downsize communities will drastically change because a server that could hold 500 players might only be able to hold 250 now. If a pay window is created all players must pay to play, so the players who suggest that this will mean they don’t have to pay for benefits anymore are completely wrong.

Now I know, some servers charge $500 to get admin on a server, and it is stupid. But you know what? You don’t HAVE to play there. The fact that players are celebrating because there will be no more pay to win is insane. Yes, there will be no more pay to win, but there will also be no more good “free” servers either. There are literally thousands of servers and not all of them are full of ridiculous purchases. In fact many servers strive to provide a benefit that doesn’t affect game-play and are non-profit, because they just want to pay their server bills.

Servers will adapt and survive, particularly the large servers that players think are pay2win now. With their player base they can sell cosmetic items and have advertisements running often which will be annoying but they’ll live on. The servers that are going to struggle the most are small and medium sized servers who don’t have a player base and can’t afford to run good hardware without funding.

Many players suggest that running a server isn’t expensive because for $50 I can have a 500 man server; this could not be more absurd. VPN servers are cheap, but they lag, and cannot support more than a dozen players at most. As more players join these they cause more lag, even though the server host might say that you can have 500 players in all reality it isn’t feasible. Many servers that are successful have dozens of dedicated servers which start at around $150/month/each. On top of that these large server hosts have staff, people who maintain their servers and mods for their customers to enjoy.

Mojang is making this change because they are tired of parents complaining to them that their kids spent money on something stupid for a server that Mojang has no control over. Well to the parents I say, be a parent don’t pawn off the fact that you didn’t raise your kid right or that you didn’t watch your kid when you should have been. How do they get your credit card? In my day I’d be forced to earn the money to pay it back, after I got punished. Now I don’t throw all the blame on parents because a server should be reasonable with their purchases, but in most cases the parents are to blame. You know what is really great about all of this EULA nonsense? It will solve NOTHING. Mojang is allowing cosmetic items to be bought and sold by servers as long as they have no affect on gameplay. Well I’d bet that many servers will offer something like glowing hats that cost $100 and kids will still take their parents credit card and buy them.

It isn’t even clear that Mojang will enforce the EULA this time around. Legally its a grey area, because Mojang promoted servers who broke their EULA so lawsuits will be questionable. More than likely they will go after the major servers and hope the others conform, otherwise they will have to hire a staff to investigate thousands of servers for violations. As far as I can tell most servers won’t be changing anything. If the server gets shut down, they can just move and start again, and most of the ways Mojang can “control” a server are irrelevant because there are work arounds.

For the record I am against servers charging for certain things such as: the only way to obtain diamond gear, double diamond rates, things that are clear advantages. However most servers are not pay2win and they are fair to their players. In the end a free market should decide what is and isn’t needed not Mojang. If a server is full of expensive benefits players shouldn’t play there. This EULA change affects them all which will end up hurting the Minecraft community because there will be fewer options for players to join and even fewer free options available.

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