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With reactions like these, it’s no wonder gamers have a bad reputation

Monday, 16th June 2014 00:56 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Developer tries to protect paying customers while still allowing others to profit from their hard work. Gamers chuck a tanty. And people wonder why we’re stereotyped as unsocialised basement dwellers.

minecraft

Something pretty stupid is happening at the moment: there’s a public hue and cry against Mojang, the independent developer of Minecraft, over changes it made to its EULA that benefit everybody.

Here’s the executive summary: the end user license agreement for Minecraft forbids users from profiteering on Mojang’s hard work by walling off parts of the game for users. That seems pretty fair, right?

But Mojang understands that hosting Minecraft servers costs money, and it doesn’t want those users who support the community by hosting to be out of pocket as a result. As a result, Mojang has always permitted hosts to charge a fee for others to access their hardware. (You’re also allowed to monetise YouTube videos of Minecraft, by the way; this exception was added to the EULA post-launch.)

This hasn’t stopped people breaking the EULA in various ways; for example, some hosts charge users for access to things like game modes, in-game items and XP boosts. Mojang does not approve of this at all, because as far as it’s concerned if someone has bought Minecraft they deserve access to everything and shouldn’t have to pay for content.

According to a blog post by Markus “Notch” Persson, the company hasn’t cracked down on this practice because of the huge amount of work it generates. Nevertheless, Mojang does suffer as a result of these unscrupulous individuals, as customers who get fleeced by server hosts generally complain to and about Mojang, not understanding the distinction between the creator and host.

Still with me so far? Okay. Here’s where it gets stupid.

According to Notch, who admits he might not have the full story, somebody asked a Mojang staff member about the terms of the game’s EULA, and whether it was forbidden to charge for anything that changes gameplay for some users and not others. As this has always and forever been the case, the staff member replied that it yes, that sort of thing isn’t allowed under the EULA.

That was when things exploded. Tweets, forum posts, blogs – a small number of Minecraft users got very, very angry, and very, very vocal.

“A lot of people got the impression that we’re changing the EULA somehow to only now disallow these things, but they were never allowed. A lot of people voiced their concerns. A few people got nasty. Someone said we’re literally worse than EA,” Notch wrote, linking to a Wikipedia page detailing add-ons and expansions for The Sims.

Nobody’s really sure why this uproar happened, but presumably it hinges on some sort of misunderstanding of what Mojang is trying to do – protect gamers and allow server hosts to make money in ethical ways.

As a result of this backlash, Mojang sat down and worked out a new set of rules, to be developed into a new EULA. The heart of the agreement is the same, and a plain speak outline makes things pretty clear for those who don’t enjoy legalese (ie, everyone). You should click through and read the full explanations, especially regarding what can and can’t be sold by server hosts, but in short:

  • You are allowed to charge players to access your server.
  • You are allowed to accept donations.
  • You are allowed to provide in-game advertising or sponsorship opportunities.
  • You are allowed to sell in-game items so long as they don’t affect gameplay.
  • You cannot charge real-world cash for in-game currency.
  • Don’t pretend to be Mojang. Provide your customers with loads of info.

“There are new rules. These are new exceptions to the EULA. All of these make the rules more liberal than things were before,” Notch wrote.

“People are still asking me to change back to the old EULA. That makes me sad.”

It makes me sad, too. The Internet, eh? Can’t live with it, can’t set it on fire and go live in a cave.

Thanks, Joystiq.

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12 Comments

  1. TD_Monstrous69

    Wow, this is quite honestly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. On how some people who exist are this stupid is beyond me. Thank you Brenna, for making my day.

    #1 2 months ago
  2. Brenna Hillier

    @TD_Monstrous69 ha ha, when I first started reading this comment I thought you meant my article. Massive D: moment.

    #2 2 months ago
  3. Blackened Halo

    @Brenna Hillier he did :DDDD …..joke ;)

    #3 2 months ago
  4. FreeZZa

    The last bit is so true. I love the internet for many things, but these idiots are the reason why I also hate at least as much. Also the YOLO children, but that’s another story…

    #4 2 months ago
  5. TheWulf

    Mojang: We’ve changed our EULA to restate what we’ve already said — that we don’t want anyone exploiting our gamers. Minecraft isn’t a freemium service, exploitation is not allowed!

    Gamers: You [crass, and probably racist or homophobic expletive], Mojang! You’re more evil than EA!!!

    Why is that way, way too easy to imagine? Well, probably the stuff I’ve seen recently about Ubisoft that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt, factually, that there’s not only a weird conglomeration of sociopaths amongst gamers, but that sociopathy itself (that is to say, anti-social personality disorder, which implies a distinct lack of empathy) is a far, far more common illness than I ever realised.

    I mean, I always thought that sociopathy was common, but I never realised that it was as common as this. The funny thing is is that usually I’m all for the ethical treatment of people, but I’m a very golden rule person — if I see you being a sociopath, I’m going to treat you as a person should treat a sociopath.

    What I wish is that there weren’t so many sociopaths amongst the gaming masses.

    Funnily, it didn’t used to be this way. Back in the ’90s, up to the early ’00s, it was cool to have women as playable characters, it was something that everyone appreciated. All you have to do to realise the truth in this is look at the popularity of Beyond Good & Evil, The Longest Journey, the 2000 version of Aliens vs Predator, et cetera. No one had sexist remarks about it.

    But ever since the mainstream shifted and we’ve had an extroverted flood rush into gaming, things have become ever more hostile, and ever more horrible. If this were the ’90s or early ’00s, almost every gamer would have nodded their head at Mojang understandingly and thanked them for considering them. Because, hey, as an intelligent person I realise that exploitation isn’t cool.

    I remember one person who was decidedly awful in their defence of King’s exploitation, just as I can remember too many people who’ve been incredibly awful in defence of the exploitation of WoW. You see? The herd is like this, and when others realise that their tremendously herd-like tendencies have been taken advantage of, the herd doesn’t get angry at the people who so thoroughly exploited their stupidity, no! No, no no. The reaction is much different, and bizarre.

    They defend the people exploiting them! WoW players defend Blizzard, no matter how much Blizzard exploits them; Casual game players defend their freemium developers who’re taking them for all they’re worth; And now Minecraft players are defending freemium servers whose only purpose is to exploit people to get as much money as they possibly can.

    And extroverts love to be exploited! As an insightful, introspective introvert, I just do not get this. I don’t think that being exploited is in any way enjoyable. I don’t want that, and I wouldn’t defend that. And more, I wouldn’t defend it happening to others, out of empathy, and ethics, and what’s right. I always want to be on the side of ethics and what’s right.

    The thing is is that what I’m finding, more and more, is that the divide actually is something like this: Extroverts are happier, yet less intelligent and informaed, and sociopathic. Introverts are less happy, but more intelligent and informed overall, and empathic. My favourite axiom that covers this is ‘ignorance is bliss, knowledge is an ulcer.’ Essentially, the extrovert defends their own ignorance, even if other extroverts are harmed by it, because they don’t want to have to think about how they were exploited. They’d have to admit to being exploited, then.

    And more, they’d have to admit to just how much their herd-like nature leads them to be exploited. If you were to gather a sample of introverts and extroverts and ask them if they liked freemium or found it exploitative and horrible, 99 per cent of the extroverts would reply that they like freemium, and 99 per cent of the introverts would tell you that they dislike it. Because an introvert can look inward for analysis and thus realise that they’re being exploited.

    An interesting example of this is, bizarrely, The Secret World. What I never expected with that game was that their game is almost focused entirely at introverts. I dismissed it at first because it seemed like another dumb MMO, and I was tired of being exploited by such. But an introverted friend pestered me to give it a go, anyway, so I did (out of trust for them) and I found out that they were right.

    What really got me, though, is that at the end of quest arcs they actually give you shop money, to buy things, from the shop. I was floored by this. And the shop was really non-exploitative stuff. It was a breath of fresh air. Really, the only stuff worth getting was cosmetic, and some of the cosmetic stuff was fairly damned awesome. So I began to understand that Funcom had designed this with the mindset of ‘if you like it, please give us money to help us keep this going.’

    That’s the introverted perspective, they’re asking us from a point of empathy, rather than trying to exploit us. I can respect that, so I did share some money with them. I feel that this is the best approach. The problem is is that if you try exploitation in a game that’s staffed by more introverts than extroverts, you end up with a ghost town (Champions Online et al). The game has been geared towards needing to buy to win, lately, so everyone’s left.

    I warned them that this would happen. That in the end, only their tiny cadre of extroverts, their loud voices, would win over. That it was a game for a more introverted audience and that they needed to market towards that. It was so weird being right, and watching how every time they ham-fistedly nerfed it more, or included another lockbox, the server populations would drop by another hundred. I guess they were trying to make it appealing to extroverts, but there are MMOs out there that fit extroverts much, much better. They failed to understand what The Secret World understood from the outset, and that’s a damned shame. I loved what Champions Online was.

    It’s just sad that they didn’t understand their market in the way that TSW does. You can’t exploit an introvert, they’re too smart for that, much sooner rather than later they’re going to catch on, no matter how clever you are, and they’re just going to be annoyed and they’ll want some form of recompense or justice. Extroverts tend to lack a capability for self-analysis, though, which is why even big business bosses tend to like Angry Birds. But more than that, the extroverts I’ve known are emotionally manipulative, in that they use their outward emotional sensing to screw with people, so exploitation is just a way of life for them.

    All these reasons and more are why I prefer introverted company, any day of the week!

    I’m just genuinely sad that extroverts got into gaming, because — for a time — things were better. The extroverts felt that gaming was a past-time of losers, loners, and shy nerds with pocket protectors. Well, I’m a shy nerd, of an engineering mindset, and I liked it when games were insightful, interesting, and clever. I’m the kind of person who liked Myst. Back then, a lot of people liked Myst, weirdly the Myst-hate seems to have occurred ex-post facto, by extroverted gamers who fail to understand the fuss about older games. Games not meant for them.

    But yeah, this is hardly surprising.

    As I said, we had one such person defending King’s exploitation, and it wasn’t until VG24/7 started running articles about King’s exploitative nature that that person shut up. I could smell what they were up to from a mile away, it was basically a clever confidence plot in the form of a game that pretended to be a skill game, but arcing up the difficulty in such a way that you felt like you needed ‘just a bit of help,’ or ‘just a little bit more help.’ It was a con, an exploitation.

    If someone says ‘you liked my game, please give me money,’ I’ll give them money! I’ll give them a lot of money if I really liked their game because I can be very generous with my money. Generosity is part of my personality. I wish more people were like me in that regard because that would make the world a better place, but most people aren’t. They just do stuff that has charities involved once in a while to help themselves feel good, rather than having their own charities and societal systems that they support. Most of them are too cut-throat for even that, though.

    There’s a reason why almost all rich people or politicians (people in power) are extroverts (do your research on this, it’s a truth). It’s because of their manipulative, cut throat, exploitative nature. As an introvert, I just don’t have that killer instinct. I’m not primal enough. Sometimes I feel that Nietzsche is right, you know? It’s not the most benign, benevolent, and empathic ones who survive, despite their advancements over other peoples, it’s the ones who like to kill shit, be aggressive, and so on.

    It makes me sad to think that the Manosphere will probably last longer than the works of William Shakespeare, but there you go, that’s what humanity is, now. We enabled the extroverts, it’s our fault.

    So… yeah. Extroverts are going to defend people who exploit because exploitation is second nature to extroverts. Introverts are going to speak out against it because, frankly, when we weigh it internally against our sense of ethics, our morality, our own feelings and empathy for other people, we realise it’s wrong, terribly wrong.

    And that’s the difference.

    There isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not glad that I’m more of a nerdy, shy introvert. People who want to socialise too much just want something out of it, anyway. I mean, look at social networks, it’s all about getting people to help you play your games, or being able to brag to a large group of people, or being able to brag about a large group of people as friends. They aren’t friends, they’re just units to be used to measure personal worth, and to obtain things from. And that’s what a lot of social networking is these days.

    This is why my only social networking site is tumblr, which is social networking for introverts, where you can subscribe to a number of art blogs (of all forms and mediums) and be spammed with immense creativity. One of the fun things I learned from tumblr is that most creative people are introverts — even actors! That was the one that surprised me.

    I’ve read a number of actors saying that they like to separate the job from their lives, and they prefer to be away from people, spending time with a good book when they’re not acting, because they find the whole act draining. And this has come from sources I never would have expected. Robert Picardo (Voyager’s Doctor) pretty much said this in an interview. So, yeah, it seems like creativity is tied into introversion, too. Whereas the imagination of extraversion is tied into… well, plots and schemes, social ideas, social planning, getting to the top of the herd, et cetera.

    So, yeah, this just confirms everything I’ve come across in my research and reading. Every book and source I’ve read on the topic continues to reinforce this idea. I’m just beginning to see extroverts as the parasites of our species. And it doesn’t begin and end with how they need other humans to leech off of (which introverts don’t), but how they feel the need to exploit in general, and defend exploitation.

    This one’s going ‘in the file.’ :P

    #5 2 months ago
  6. TheWulf

    @3

    Not cool. Really. Not cool.

    Adding ‘joke’ to the end of something doesn’t make it even remotely less of a shitty thing to say.

    #6 2 months ago
  7. FragileSurface

    @TheWulf Extroverts bad, Introverts good? It’s not that simple. It really isn’t. People are much more complex than that. Would 2000 words of digression from the article topic be considered an act of extroversion or introversion?

    #7 2 months ago
  8. ManuOtaku

    Well i do agree with the article, however, even if a company is doing it for the right reasons, i do still believe there should be a international body that watchs and rules this, in order to protect the consumer. Companies should not be allowed to change tos and eulas that easily and without an overwatch. Because most of the time they might apply unfair terms to their users. Companies Should not have that kind of power imo.

    #8 2 months ago
  9. eTitan

    Not even gonna bother reading what TheWulf said, go make your own website please.

    Also, I get that the people who react like this are fucking silly to say the least. However, don’t report on it like it’s something unique to gamers. Everybody in the whole fucking world acts this retarded over stupid shit.

    #9 2 months ago
  10. bradk825

    Even if this had been a change, it wouldn’t have been wrong. Like Notch said, nobody should be able to restrict the content when someone has bought the game. Completely ridiculous situation.

    #10 2 months ago
  11. NocturnalB

    Jesus Christ, sometimes humanity really depresses me. How are the hosts going to sit there and bitch over something like that? How about they get to steppin’ right on down the digital fucking road and go make their own game? Then they can charge for whatever the hell they feel like.

    #11 2 months ago
  12. sebastien rivas

    Hi guys,
    This a good article but I fear the point is taken away from subject matter.

    A simple question:
    -If you love a game so much, would you pay for others to join your game.

    Now should profit on it?

    The answer really did not matter but here is what matters!
    if you pay to open a server, whether you profit on it or not. Would you allow the game devers dictate what you should or must do while knowing the dam developers is likely not spending a fucking dime on servicing the game through server(s)?

    Servers are expensive or can quickly become. On top of it, your server shall likely be on 24/7 if you hope keeping user base.

    Ho yeahhhh, the point is around Minecraft but definitely not the only one.
    IDK.
    Dice/EA BF franchises for example could open their own servers 24/7 which until today I did not see a single one beside rented servers for pre-launch.
    But why they don’t keep doing it?
    Because it cost fucking money
    So they rather let the game be fucked left and right rather than keeping some control and pride in what they do.

    Therefore and in comparison, perhaps Mojang should fairplay instead of lashing out or to not use the term hypocrisy….

    Let me get the butter and keep the money for the butter too… yeeeehaaaaaa

    #12 2 months ago

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