No crypto allowed
Mojang Studios, the developer behind the popular game Minecraft, has decided to ban the use of all blockchain technology involving their game. Mojang Studios appears to be most concerned about NFTs entering their game, but they ended up banning all use of blockchain technology, which includes simple payment solutions like Bitcoin.
This decision is a stark contrast to many other game developers such as Ubisoft, who has embraced blockchain technology by becoming a corporate baker on Tezos and using the Tezos blockchain for major NFT marketplaces.
Potential scams and inclusiveness
The decision appears to be rooted in the assumption that NFTs are inherently related to scams and that players purchasing NFTs will make the game noninclusive to players who don't purchase NFTs.
Although, there was a petition by Climate Relay, a group containing numerous Minecraft developers, to ban the use of NFTs based on the assertion that NFTs are bad for the environment due to the underlying use of blockchain. They failed to mention that carbon-neutral blockchains exist, such as Algorand and Celo.
While the Minecraft team didn't use this as part of their official explanation, the fact there were developers in the initiative likely put pressure on Mojang.
The Minecraft team explained their concerns with NFTs, stating:
"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."
They ended the article outlining the complete ban:
"As such, to ensure that Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, 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."
Was it the right call?
It's understandable that NFTs would enable a more commercial atmosphere in Minecraft, but ultimately, it would simply be an option available for users to explore. By making this decision, Mojang studios turned away a specific population of players from their game.
Since Mojang's top concern was that the majority of players engaging in NFT activities would be scammed, they could have partnered with a blockchain to ensure safe market conditions, instead of leaving it up to the individual players/companies to decide the rules.
Mojang studios did leave crypto as a possibility in the future, saying, "We will also be paying close attention to how blockchain technology evolves over time... However, we have no plans of implementing blockchain technology into Minecraft right now."
While this leaves the door open in the future for a new team to review these new guidelines, it seems unlikely that the current team will allow the use of any crypto-related activities.