jakimfett's lab

bits of code and other random musings

Minecraft, Microsoft, and Modding —

Update (15 September): So, looks like it’s official. Microsoft owns Mojang, or will as soon as the contracts are signed.

That said, I’d like to point out that my reasoning for “wait and see” is still valid. We don’t know what Microsoft will do with Minecraft. So, for now…I’m going to keep modding, and keep playing. And maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will treat the community in a mature and understanding way.

Last night, my evening was interrupted a tweet by David Hewlett showing up on my timeline. Questions like “Why is Mojang is getting sold? Doesn’t Notch basically lounge on piles of cash, Scrooge McDuck style?” and “Why would it be Microsoft, of all companies?” immediately started popping up in my head. The reaction in the community has already (in about 12 hours) gotten pretty intense. Several major mod authors have half-seriously, half-jokingly said that they’ll be quitting modding. It’s this reaction I want to speak to, and comment on.

My gut reaction when I saw the WSJ article (the source everyone is going back to) was similar to the reactions I’m seeing on twitter/reddit/forums, but after some consideration, I’ve prepared the following response that I urge anyone considering something similar to consider. This response is the answer to the following question:

What if Mojang is acquired by Microsoft tomorrow?

Nothing changes tomorrow. Absolutely nothing. Even if Microsoft set out to systematically and intentionally kill the modding community, that will take time. In general, I dislike Microsoft, and try to avoid their products whenever possible. Long term, I expect that if Mojang is acquired by Microsoft, the community will die a slow and extremely painful death. But I am willing to, and hoping to, be proved wrong.

I’m a Minecraft modder. Currently, my name is on Minechem, AlchemyPlusPlus, and Particle Physics. And I’m going to continue work on those mods. I’ll continue modding Minecraft up until the day that it is impossible, because of technical/monetary/moral/ethical reasons, to continue doing so.

This begs the question…

What is a valid reason to stop modding?

  1. Technical – Microsoft starts actively trying to prevent people from hooking mod APIs (Forge, Sponge, etc) into the core Minecraft code. This could be done by routinely changing the obfuscation methods, or by refactoring bits of the code to intentionally mess with people trying to decompile and understand the core code.
  2. Monetary – Microsoft starts requiring modders to buy a licence to mod. This is more of a soft requirement, as I have a job outside of Minecraft, and I’d be willing to throw a couple of bucks at a license. But this would have prevented me from becoming interested in modding originally, so it would start touching on the next reason:
  3. Moral/ethical – Microsoft starts doing Bad Things with Mojang IP. And no, this doesn’t include “acquiring Mojang in the first place”. I’m talking about actively grabbing mods and putting the code and ideas into Minecraft on a wholescale level, or suing anyone who does a Let’s Play of Minecraft.

So then…

Why should you keep modding?

That’s easy. We don’t know for certain what is going on. Fear is the mind-killer. Panic breeds chaos. If you decide to quit modding because Microsoft acquires Mojang, I won’t judge you. But if you panic and quit before we even have confirmation from either of the companies involved, you need to go home and rethink your life. If you choose to quit Minecraft, do so from a place of rationality and reason, not from a sense of blind fear.

Keep modding. Keep playing. Wait for confirmation. And then…decide.

Categorised as: Forge Modding | Minecraft | unfiled

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  1. Allen Brown says:

    Thumbs up for the Dune quote! I am apprehensive about Microsoft buying Mojang. The two companies have polar opposite views on open source software. What has made Minecraft great is it has kept it simple and allowed others to create complexities as overlays. I hope that the new CEO at MS sees that this is the key to Minecrafts popularity and does not mess with it. #DontBreakTheBlock

  2. woolmonk says:

    Thank you. Rational without reaction… for now. I will enjoy the wonderful worlds of Minecraft and the freedom from other game structures that it has given me with a great deal of gratitude until the very minute that it becomes corrupted. Then it will be judged like all of the others. Until the corruption takes root, it will remain the best game I have ever played, and I will continue to do so.

  3. Queerrilla says:

    Thank you for the Dune quote.
    I think exactly the same: it’s sad to hear that Microsoft is laying its dirty hand on a creature we love so much, but stopping our activity en-masse will harm Minecraft even more.

  4. mike says:

    Rethink my life because I irrationally choose to quit a game? You must not be that old….

    • jakimfett says:

      …that was mostly an attempt at humor. Yaknow, “You don’t want to sell me death sticks…you want to go home and rethink your life…”?

      Obviously, it’s just a game.