In a recent update, Mojang has started cracking down hard on advertising in their game servers for things unrelated to Minecraft. They have amended their commercial usage guidelines so that now any company or organisation that uses their servers to promote themselves isn’t allowed to do so. Yes, that includes Verizon and their giant face-time phone call antics.
Full details of the update can be found here on their website, but for ease, the specifics of the restrictions introduced in the update are:
- Build a Minecraft mod or server that promotes unrelated products in playable form; e.g., if you are a restaurant chain, you can’t market your restaurant by releasing a mod that includes your restaurant built out of Minecraft blocks.
- Build a Minecraft map or mod that markets a movie or TV show; e.g., if you’re a movie studio, you can’t make a map that uses Minecraft blocks to build out the fictional world of the movie or its characters, and you can’t make an official movie trailer out of gameplay footage from that map or mod.
Now, for those who make videos in Minecraft for their YouTube channel or such, there’s little to worry about. Unless you’re advertising by proxy for another company, you’re all set to continue doing what you’ve been doing regardless.
In fact, even if you build things like a brick-by-brick remake of a Nando’s restaurant, or a giant Mario statue with a stern but heroic face, it’s still okay. The point you’re getting across there is your love of that particular thing or establishment, not a statement explicitly to get everyone else to buy things related to it.
However, this does raise a gray area as to what exactly counts as advertising and what doesn’t. If companies are making money through their advertising in the game, they won’t want to give that up so easily.
Backdoor dealings could begin to occur where companies pay notable players to do a string of videos where their product/company/organisation plays a large role. So, no direct advertising there, but if you’re watching the video, you’re definitely going to think about it. Without a doubt, this will be something that will be brought into contention in the not-so-distant future.
Minecraft is an absolutely huge game, both in what you can do within the game and its level of popularity. Obviously Mojang has now reached a point with the game where they feel it is now its own viable platform for companies to be able to make money through, and they don’t want that to happen.
It makes sense, but what does this mean for companies like Hiesholt, the company that organised the world’s first live music concert in Minecraft? They’ve only just opened shop in Minecraft with a virtual set of offices, and although they don’t have massive advertising campaigns, is the fact their business inside the game affected by the new update? It’s an interesting conundrum. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.