Commercial usage guidelines updated
Walking through changes for community-run servers
Hello! We've made some updates to our Commercial Usage Guidelines. We do this from time to time in order to evaluate how we’re letting folks use the Minecraft brand to make money. The changes in this new version deal mostly with giving more flexibility and clarity to community-run servers, partially based on feedback that we've received in conversations with many Java server owners over the last year. In the interest of transparency (and because legal documents can get lengthy), we figured we’d briefly summarize the key updates we’ve made, and why.
Mojang, our community, and the games industry are all in a different place than we were the last time we updated our rules for server monetization, almost six years ago. Minecraft ideas, game design, and monetization strategies have matured. The changes to our rules reflect this, and the update covers and slightly expands upon the types of things that servers can sell. Here is a summary of the more impactful changes in the new rules.
The section that said that server purchases should be targeted towards covering operational costs. It's okay with us if you want to run a business, within the rules. After all, many of the same people working on server gameplay, worlds, or infrastructure on Java are also now working with the Minecraft Marketplace.
Some examples of things that servers can sell. Our intent is that the rules stand on their own without listing some (or all) of the possible features that your creative minds might come up with. Games and their ecosystem will evolve faster than our ability to anticipate every situation.
A line that shows how we think about use of the Minecraft brand to make money. It doesn’t create any new rules, but it’s important to us, and we think it’s worth quoting here in its entirety:
"We want Minecraft to be a place where players can have fun and a trusted place to explore, build, and invest their time and money. Please use your common sense and discretion in creating a safe, fun, and trusted environment for all players. We reserve the right to adjudicate and interpret whether the way you monetize is done in a manner consistent with our Brand. In short, don’t do evil things to players."
A section that talks about disclosing relationships with paid social media influencers. This is an important detail for businesses to understand and follow to be transparent with customers and so we link to the US Federal Trade Commission’s website for full details.
What kinds of things servers can sell. Previously, the guidelines spoke about allowing the sale of effects that influence everyone in the same way and barring the sale of items that affect gameplay. Now the focus is on ensuring that whatever servers sell to people, it’s not a thing designed to give someone a competitive gameplay advantage or make another player’s experience worse. It also provides a clear definition for what we consider a competitive gameplay advantage.
As we mentioned, this won't affect the average player, but we think that it may positively affect some of your favorite servers. We believe that it's possible for some enterprising Minecrafters to thrive under the existing guidelines, and hopefully even more so under the expanded guidelines. Without the support and limitless creativity of our community, including servers, we know that Minecraft wouldn't be what it is today.
If you’re interested in the full text of the rules, please be sure to read up on the full guidelines here.