Microsoft’s Minecraft to ban NFTs on recovery servers, spinoff NFT initiatives

Two players looking at a zombie in a minecart in the video game Minecraft, tags: nfts blockchain - CC BY-SA

Mojang, the developer of the hugely popular creative sandbox game Minecraft, has announced that blockchain technology and NFTs are not allowed to be integrated with the game.

The reason stated is that the inclusion of NFT and blockchain “can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft“.

Since several companies have tried to launch NFTs in association with Minecraft, Mojang has decided to clarify its stance on the matter, concluding that “blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our Minecraft client and server applications nor may they be utilized to create NFTs associated with any in-game content, including worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods.”

Why no NFTs?

In the announcement, Mojang asserted that Minecraft is designed to be, and is marketed as, a game that is accessible and enjoyable to everyone and that the introduction of digital scarcity and competition does not align with the spirit of the game — one of “teamwork and shared creativity”.

The developer believes that NFTs would take away focus from the actual gameplay itself and harm the long-term enjoyment of its player base. It also expressed caution towards the financial aspects of blockchain technology, calling the reliability and stability of third-party NFTs into question.

Mojang cited that there have “been instances where NFTs were sold at artificially or fraudulently inflated prices”, which is in conflict with its belief that players’ creations within the game have value by themselves and want to create a marketplace where the value of such creations can be recognized.

Mojang also discussed that monetization to access private game servers in Minecraft is allowed within certain limits. However, players within those servers should have access to the same functionalities to foster a spirit of equality and cooperation, and NFTs, by their nature, cannot be equally accessible as that would defeat the point of the technology.

“Each of these uses of NFTs and other blockchain technologies creates digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion, which does not align with Minecraft values of creative inclusion and playing together. NFTs are not inclusive of all our community and create a scenario of the haves and the have-nots. 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,” Mojang wrote in the announcement.

Mojang is planning to update its community guidelines to reflect its stance on NFTs. This is not a definite end for NFTs and blockchain technology in the game, however, as the developer has also said that it would be paying close attention to blockchain technology as it develops. It noted that if blockchain technology has secure applications that can promote inclusivity, it may reconsider its stance on the matter.

The developer affirmed that this change would not affect the majority of Minecraft players or creators if they are not actively involved in the buying, selling or trading of NFTs related to Minecraft. It remains to be seen how this announcement will affect other Microsoft products and games.