Mojang Hard at Work on 'Minecraft Realms'

March 13, 2013 -

Mojang is working on a new service called Minecraft Realms, which it hopes will give those players interested in subscribing their own special little corner of the Minecraft universe. According to information given to GamesIndustry International by Swedish author and journalist Thomas Arnroth (who works for it24), Minecraft Realms is Mojang's way of answering the call from parents about a simple and secure way to allow their children to play online. Mojang CEO Carl Manneh hopes Realms will satisfy the needs of its non-core audience while tapping into a new market that could prove highly lucrative in the future.

"We have never tried to sell anything except the game and a little merchandise. It'll be very interesting to see if the community will be prepared to pay for this service," Manneh said.

"Our costumers [for Realms] are parents who are tired of trying to act as server administrators on behalf of their kids," said Manneh. "Minecraft Realms will be a simpler kind of service, aimed at families and kids. In the future we aim to offer certain profiles with mods that are certified to work without crashing, but this will still be a safe and easy way for kids and families to play Minecraft online."

Subscribers will be given their own self-contained world, with full control over who has access and their friends list. Only one person per world would need a Realms account, and anyone invited to join would need to own a copy of Minecraft and an internet connection. Details on just how much a subscription to this service will cost has not been decided by Mojang but the company indicated that it will likely be between $10 and $15 a month. It also plans to sell special pre-paid cards for those with no access to credit cards.

"In the end I think this will get Minecraft new players, since there is a viral aspect of Realms. Kids will probably invite friends who don't have Minecraft yet to play with them," he said. "All we know is that there has been a great demand for this service. We have never tried to sell anything to our gamers except the game itself and a little merchandise, so it'll be very interesting to see if the community will be prepared to pay for a service like this."

"But since we have about 10 million paying PC gamers and, soon, as many mobile gamers, there's definitely potential. And yes, if we look ahead, I do think [Realms will] be the biggest source of income in the future, and to bring in more money in total than the game itself."

If Realms proves to be successful, Mojang will consider creating portals between the different user worlds. The PC version of Minecraft Realms is currently in private alpha, with a beta launch planned for May if everything goes well. A special Realms version for Minecraft Pocket Edition is also in development. On PC, Realms will be hosted by Multiplay, according to GII. On mobile, it will be hosted by Amazon.

Source: GamesIndustry International


Comments

Re: Mojang Hard at Work on 'Minecraft Realms'

I'm not sure how this solves the parents needing to administer their kids.  Honestly I think this is too late on the server scene.  I deal heavily in minecraft, and I rarely see people requesting services for only the base game.  It's always with mods.  Mojang should be putting in the API they promised and said would be in 14.. then said would be in 1.5.. but still haven't even gotten around to doing.  Once kids have seen what they can do outside of the base minecraft game they no longer want to stick with it.  On top of this, I don't see why you would want to pay monthly for a service you can quickly and easily setup elsewhere.

 

Truth is if they wanted something similar they should have just implemented something like the xbox where you invite people on your friends list to play with you on a self-host, just like older multiplayer games.

My favorite statement is this:

 "All we know is that there has been a great demand for this service. We have never tried to sell anything to our gamers except the game itself and a little merchandise, so it'll be very interesting to see if the community will be prepared to pay for a service like this."

 

If you're not sure if the gaming community is prepared to pay for it, obviously you aren't sure if there is a demand so you can't make both statements.  Someone needs to go back and logic through what they are saying and get their contradictory statements settled out.

Re: Mojang Hard at Work on 'Minecraft Realms'

One of the classic issues with customer feedback is people tend to have tunnel vision and forget that they do not make up the whole demographic.

You encounter mostly people who are only interested in multiplayer with mods because that is the type of person you are encountering.  There are a LOT of vanilla servers out there.

This type of service is not intended for the hard core minecraft player into mods and factions and all that stuff.  This is geared towards parents with kids who want them to play with others but not set up a home server (and expose thier computer) or research the multitude of 3rd party services and maintain an account with them.

A nice simply 'pay the company you bought the game from in order to have a mini-world they can share with friends' has a lot of potential.
 

As for not being sure if the game community will pay contradicting with is there demand... no conflict there at all.  People can want things and not want to pay for them.   The question will be what kinds of norms and expectations do these parents have.

Re: Mojang Hard at Work on 'Minecraft Realms'

Yet they couldn't add in simple functionality to just invite someone based on their mojang account?  This looks like a very simple money grab, rather than extending functionality similar to the xbox version to the PC.

I still see the statements as contradictory, its as if they didn't even ask if people were wanting to pay for the service. 

Re: Mojang Hard at Work on 'Minecraft Realms'

Who said you couldn't invite someone based off thier mojang acount?

As for asking, it is possible they simply listened instead.  Forums, events, player feedback, that information doesn't nessearily go into a black hole.

As for being a 'money grab', if they started charging for something that used to be free or started locking out other hosting services then I could agree, but here it sounds like they are building something that a certain segment of the minecraft population was likely asking for.

 
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