Do you know who doesn’t have enough money? Notch and the rest of the Minecraft gang over at Mojang. Luckily for them they’ve hatched this harebrained scheme in which they plan on charging people a monthly subscription for their own private server space. It’s called Minecraft Realms and it’s a response to a request by concerned parents that Mojang receives far too often: is there a way for kids to play Minecraft in a secure online environment?
Obviously the answer was “no” at first, but thanks to the power of capitalism (and the goodness of Mojang’s heart, of course) that “no” has been turned into a resounding “soon”!
The gist is this: for a monthly subscription fee, people can gain access to their own, private online Minecraft realm. They’ll be able to adjust all sorts of parameters themselves and be able to invite their friends via the built-in friends list feature. It’ll be safe, closed off and a perfect way for parents to allow their innocent children to muck about in an online game of Minecraft without the risk of needing to call Chris Hansen.
Mojang’s CEO Carl Manneh explained Realms as such: “our customers are parents who are tired of trying to act as server administrators on behalf of their kids. Minecraft Realms will be a simpler kind of service, aimed at families and kids. In the future we aim to offer certain profiles with mods that are certified to work without crashing, but this will still be a safe and easy way for kids and families to play Minecraft online.”
As for the cost per month, at present Mojang thinks it’ll be in the vicinity of $10 to $15. With an established customer base of over 10 million on PC alone, Mojang reckons they’ll need “many more than” 100,000 servers to satisfy demand – assuming Minecraft Realms takes off that is.
Currently, Realms is in closed alpha testing but a public beta is planned for some time around May. If all goes to plan, Mojang sees Minecraft Realms as having potential to generate far more income than the original game already does. And if that happens, then Notch will be getting the staff of Mojang gold and diamond encrusted toilet seats for Christmas. Nah we’re just kidding – they’ve all got those already.