Let’s talk about money: The EULA

The EULA is a controversial topic for the Minecraft community, and we’re going to be talking about both sides of the story. It’s important that server owners understand Mojang’s point of view on the issue, and it’s equally important that Mojang understands why this is causing a problem for server owners.

First, let’s discuss what Mojang’s perspective. Mojang is the creator of Minecraft. They own the intellectual property. It is technically their decision whether or not you can make any money from their game. Until 2014, there was one exception to their strict no-profit policy: Minecraft Videos. This included basically anything that was published on Youtube. However, that all changed on June 12th, 2014, when Mojang posted an article on their website stating that servers could now make money. The article stated one could only make money through in-game cosmetic items.

You may be asking: “why?” Why does Mojang care if you make a couple bucks for selling a sword or a bunch of in-game currency? Well, it’s because Mojang is worried. Let’s take a look at Hypixel, the biggest Minecraft server in the world. They have made enough money to actively pay over 50 staff members: essentially, Hypixel is a $7.8 million Minecraft server filled with custom minigames. This may pale in comparison to Mojang’s sales, but the CEO of Hypixel Studios has said that profits may double or even triple if they could sell one game-changing item, a coin booster. Mojang believes that this is not fair, that people are earning millions of dollars through something they created. If Mojang hands the ability to server owners, the possibility that the owners can make millions of dollars just by selling items in Mojang’s virtual world is daunting.

Let’s put this in perspective. Say you owned an ice-cream truck. What if customers bought your ice-cream, and then turned around, added some sprinkles to it, and sold it to another customer? The ice-cream truck stands for Minecraft, the ice-cream for any gameplay feature that can be sold. Mojang believes it’s not fair that others can sell their item without giving them a cut of the profit.

We’ve talked about Mojang’s perspective, so now let’s discuss what server owners think about this change. Server owners fiercely believe they are in the right, and that the EULA is adversely impacting their player base. What people generally do not understand about running a Minecraft servers is that it’s a business. It may be an odd business, but it’s still a business. That means losing even 10 players causes fewer people to donate or to join. Server owners believe Mojang only supports the bigger minigame servers, such as Hypixel and Cubecraft, by only allowing cosmetic items to be purchased; this is due to the fact that minigame servers are the primary servers that can benefit from cosmetic purchases. In comparison, factions players just aren’t interested in buying cosmetics.

Serayne92, owner of the mid-sized Minecraft network “The Arkham Network,” stated that his network has essentially given Mojang the boot. Using a popular Minecraft modification known as SquidHQ, The Arkham Network bypasses Mojang’s EULA by having users connect with a client that waives the blacklist feature. This allows SquidHQ users to join any server that has been blacklisted by Mojang. Its usage has begun rapidly expanding, and many servers have started utilizing SquidHQ to maximize their profit. Serayne92’s reasoning was that Arkham could not survive on $50 a day (which, according to his released statistics, is what he earned while maintaining a 1,600 player network and abiding by the EULA). Ever since Arkham was blacklisted, it’s player base has dropped significantly but the server makes more revenue ($1,000 per day for a 500 player network).

The changes in the EULA also affect voting. Voting is a service you can perform online in exchange for something in-game, such as coins, XP, money or levels. Unfortunately, with the change of the EULA, that was altered—now, you could only vote to contribute votes to a party pool, with a general reward for everyone. Server owners don’t like this, as it limits the amount of exposure they receive on servers lists, an important aspect of Minecraft advertising. It can be argued that this brings the player levels down as servers don’t receive as much attention as they normally would on these sites.

Do you have a comment, response, or question regarding the EULA? I’d love to hear it in the comments section below.

Until next time,
Chump

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chump Written by:

Hey there, I’m Nathan. I’m a gaming enthusiast and prospective law student working with servers on EULA compliance.

9 Comments

  1. Projecki
    May 21, 2017
    Reply

    Article was generally well written! Good job!

    What exactly does the statistic “Hypixel is a $7.8 mil Minecraft Server” mean?

    • chump
      May 21, 2017
      Reply

      Hey there,
      Thanks for reading Let’s talk about money: The EULA. The statistic you’re referring to means that the Hypixel Minecraft Network is worth about $7.8 million dollars in USD. Their standalone game is worth about $3 million dollars.

      Thanks for reading Craftbuzz!
      Nathan Sykes // Editor

  2. ShX
    May 21, 2017
    Reply

    Rather well written, except a couple insignificant mistakes.
    Can you state your sources concerning Hypixel Studios’ value on the market?

    Keep up the good work.

    • chump
      May 21, 2017
      Reply

      Hey there,

      Thanks for reading Let’s talk about money: The EULA. While you might find them as insignificant mistakes, we recognize them as errors that we’d like to know about. If you could send a message to me through Spigot detailing what went wrong, that would be grand.

      I am not prepared to comment on the source of Hypixel Studios’ market value.

      Thanks for reading Craftbuzz!
      Nathan Sykes // Editor

  3. May 24, 2017
    Reply

    Excellent post!

    This is guest written, no?
    Do you have a blog yourself somewhere?

    • chump
      May 25, 2017
      Reply

      Hey there,

      Thanks for reading Let’s talk about money: The EULA. I am a guest writer in the sense that I’m the first contributor to write an article other than Buildblox here at Craftbuzz. But Craftbuzz will be my home sweet home for my Minecraft news career. We’re actually currently talking over next month’s article. Expect to see an extension of this article, primarily talking about the Minecraft Marketplace and partnership program, or an article concerning Minecraft and Hypixel in China and some legality stuff behind that decision. I hope you’re enjoying Craftbuzz, and I hope you come back to read our articles every time we publish.

      Thanks for reading Craftbuzz!
      Nathan Sykes // Editor

  4. Lolinator
    August 14, 2017
    Reply

    Again, like everyone else, I am going to start off by saying this was well written.

    One question I have is that: Do you foresee any way of a compromise for Mojang and server owners other than just saying “Screw Mojang. I am going to use SquidHQ!” or “They are making money off of P2W items! Blacklisted!”?

    Also, any comment on the new cross-platform update? They pretty much gave us Java Editon players the boot. Jeb is even credited with saying the Java Edition is just the experimental version and will become the community edition in the future.

    • chump
      September 16, 2017
      Reply

      Hey there,

      Thanks for reading! I’m sorry I didn’t get to your comment sooner. I think several options are most definitely something Mojang can look into doing, such as compromising on what constitutes a ‘game changing feature’, or taking a set cut of payments made on game-changing items. I may be coming back as a guest writer to follow up on my article, so please do keep an eye out.

      Thanks for reading Craftbuzz!
      Nathan Sykes // Editor

  5. […] how the EULA affected voting (for more information on why the EULA is such a controversial topic, see my last blog post). But today, I would like to actually delve into reasonable consequences as dictated by EULA, […]

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