Minecraft is one of the most-played games in the world, and Microsoft’s sandbox-style game has only gotten bigger since it came out in 2009. But Mojang, the company that made Minecraft, doesn’t want its blocky hit to be used with independent NFT projects. The company has told the public that Minecraft will soon stop letting people use NFT.
The studio, which is owned by Microsoft, put out a news post today about upcoming changes to Minecraft’s rules, and they all have to do with NFTs. Soon, Minecraft will make it illegal for fans and creators who run their own game servers to use blockchain technology. It will also be illegal to use Minecraft images to make NFT projects.
“To ensure that Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our client and server applications, nor may Minecraft in-game content such as worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods, be utilized by blockchain technology to create a scarce digital asset,” the post says.
Mojang currently lets Minecraft server owners charge money to access their custom online experiences, but the studio thinks that NFTs go against the “spirit” of Minecraft. The studio thinks that’s because of NFT scarcity models, which can make it hard for players on some servers to use certain features.
“The speculative pricing and investment mentality around NFTs takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering, which we think is inconsistent with the long-term joy and success of our players,” the post says.
Mojang said that some independent Minecraft servers let players use NFTs that look like items in the game or give players NFTs as rewards. There are also projects that have turned Minecraft assets into NFT collectibles, like Polygon’s NFT Worlds, which sells virtual land plots that can be used on a custom Minecraft server.
Data from CryptoSlam shows that nearly $163 million worth of NFT has been traded on NFT Worlds so far. ArkDev, the co-founder of NFT Worlds, said in a tweet today that the team is trying to figure out what to do now that Minecraft’s rules are about to change.
“We are working to figure out to what extent this will [affect] us and also have potential pivots planned in the absolute worst case that keeps us going,” he wrote.“We’re not leaving.”
On the NFT Worlds Discord server, the team talked about how they had worked with Minecraft’s developers in the past and suggested that the project could “pivot.”
The message says, “We are as blindsided as you are,” “We have talked with Minecraft’s IP department multiple times in the past. They have never clearly indicated that anything we were doing was going to be ruled on/restricted (other than existing EULA items, which we complied with for the entirety of the project, such as our stance on advertising/IP within the game).”
“I know this is extreme cause for concern in the community, and it is for us too,” the NFT Worlds message continues. “But we’re currently [considering] all options, and will do our best to figure out another option going forward, even if that’s a pivot.”
Several big names in the crypto industry have said something about the news. Chris Dixon, a partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, tweeted: “This is a good reminder of why you shouldn’t build on Web2 networks owned by corporations. The rules for developers are changed on a whim.”
An NFT is a token on the blockchain that shows who owns an item. They are often used for digital goods like artwork, profile pictures, collectibles, and video game items. Over the course of 2021, the NFT market grew a lot and reached a total trading volume of $25 billion.
Even though the Minecraft team has no plans to use blockchain technology right now, Mojang wrote that it might change its mind in the future.
“We will also be paying close attention to how blockchain technology evolves over time to ensure that the above principles are withheld and determine whether it will allow for more secure experiences or other practical and inclusive applications in gaming,” the post says.