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Minecraft "incompatible" with Steam terms of service

Steam too restrictive for Mojang, but still the best digital service

Mojang's Markus Persson has revealed that Minecraft isn't sold through Valve's Steam service because of its restrictive terms of service.

In a post on his personal blog, Persson praised Steam as, "the best digital distribution platform I've ever seen." However, it doesn't offer the sort of freedom a game like Minecraft demands.

"Being on Steam limits a lot of what we're allowed to do with the game, and how we're allowed to talk to our users," he wrote.

"We (probably?) wouldn't be able to, say, sell capes or have a map market place on minecraft.net that works with steam customers in a way that keeps Valve happy."

"It would effectively split the Minecraft community into two parts, where only some of the players can access all of the weird content we want to add to the game."

Persson revealed that Mojang is talking to Valve to resolve the situation, and claimed that he understood the need to control the platform.

"There's a certain inherent incompatibility between what we want to do and what they want to do," he added.

Persson's explanation offers a new perspective on EA's decision to remove its games from Steam, including Crysis 2, Dragon Age II, and the forthcoming Battlefield 3.

"We take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content and other services to our players," wrote EA's senior vice president of global online David Demartini in a blog post in July.

"Unfortunately, if we're not allowed to manage this experience directly and establish a relationship with you, it disrupts our ability to provide the support you expect and deserve."

"At present, there is only one download service that will not allow this relationship. This is not our choice, and unfortunately it is their customer base that is most impacted by this decision."

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Latest comments (6)

Christian Kramer Managing Director, Digitalmindsoft5 years ago
In short, there is only one download service that actually charges you for the superior service they offer and don't want you to make money with their community, through their service, cutting them out of the food chain. Sounds somewhat right to me?

The guys from steam have been the most supportive and flexible 3rd party guys I've ever met and they offer so much freedom to what you want to do. Developers just need to talk to them and show some little flexibility or open mind on their side as well.
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Mike Wuetherick Lead Designer, Super Mega Awesome Games5 years ago
this is kind of ingenius though - there are other games that I play on Steam that have external update mechanisms (usually provided via a launcher of some kind) and they seem to operate perfectly fine within the steam ecosystem. How many games require external logins / accounts (not to mention 3rd party software like GfW) that seem to work perfectly fine on Steam?

if this is specifically related to in-game microtransactions, then I could see an issue - but just as a result of managing updates etc - I don't really see the problem.

All of this anti-Steam news of late seems to be more FUD than anything. I bought BF3 on Origin, gave it a shot - and let's just say that Steam doesn't have anything to fear from EA in this regard.

Not only that but having publisher-specific download / game stores is such a bad idea that I can only hope that EA wakes up and joins the rest of the industry once again soon.
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Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster5 years ago
It's not microtransations that are the problem here, its the whole indie feel that Mojang has maintained, and the user mods and server system that is integral to thier play. It would really really clash with steams VAC protection unless they can do it right. Even Garry's mod had this problem, but the inherent Java basing of this game meaning you can change the binary to include pretty much anything you want makes this is a huge issue.
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Show all comments (6)
Christian Kramer Managing Director, Digitalmindsoft5 years ago
"It would really really clash with steams VAC protection"
It's not in any way obligatory to use VAC. Mods are no problem, 3rd party servers are no problem, not even 3rd party DRM. Offering microtransactions to Steam and non-Steam users is no problem either, or how do you think free2play games work on Steam that are available as Steam independent clients as well?
And where do you get the information from that it's not about microtransactions? Isn't that exactly what he was talking about? By all means, the only issue here is that you can't take advantage of someone else's customer base without showing any will to adapt to their requirements, or even worse, think you can make all the money without them by simply leaving them out of the process while still using their platform.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christian Kramer on 30th August 2011 6:53pm

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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus5 years ago
Isn't this the same issue that Valve slams Microsoft for?
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@Christopher - I was thinking the same thing. Ironic isn't it.
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