- Minecraft has been unable to implement its planned ban on NFTs despite an earlier announcement.
- Implication of the proposed ban on Web3 projects.
In July 2022, the announcement that Minecraft intended to ban the use of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on player-run servers caused a significant stir in the Web3 community. However, nearly a year later, the anticipated action is yet to be enforced, though it remains on the horizon.
Minecraft says the decision is awaiting confirmation
Mojang, the game developer owned by Microsoft, revealed in a news post last summer its intention to update the game’s usage guidelines to outline specific restrictions regarding the incorporation of NFTs. Mojang broadly stated that it would generally not support or allow integrations of NFTs with the game. Despite the passage of time, Minecraft’s guidelines have not been updated, and no follow-up announcement has been made. A Microsoft representative recently confirmed that the update to the official guidelines is still forthcoming, emphasizing that the policy has not changed.
The platform’s initial plans to ban NFT usage were prompted by the emergence of unofficial and community-driven Web3 projects centered around the popular game. As of 2021, Minecraft boasted 141 million monthly active players across all devices, according to Microsoft. Mojang specifically highlighted its intention to prohibit the use of NFT assets that “gate” or restrict access to certain content or features on fan-operated game servers. While players are permitted to charge for server access, these features must be available to everyone. NFTs, on the other hand, introduce the possibility of exclusive features limited to a select group of asset owners.
Implications of the ban on other Web3 projects
Mojang explained that the concept of NFTs and other blockchain technologies, which rely on scarcity and exclusion to establish digital ownership, contradicts Minecraft’s values of creative inclusion and communal play. The post further criticized the speculative pricing and investment focus surrounding NFTs, which detract from the game’s core experience and encourage profit-seeking behavior. Moreover, Minecraft announced its intention to prohibit the creation of third-party NFT assets based on official game assets. This decision affected third-party Web3 projects that had been developed around Minecraft servers.
One such project was NFT Worlds, which operated on the Ethereum scaling network Polygon. NFT Worlds sold customizable land plots as NFTs and had plans to establish a dedicated Minecraft server that utilized these tokens. However, the creators of NFT Worlds subsequently pivoted and rebranded the project as Topia, an original game that draws inspiration from Minecraft but is built from scratch.
Interestingly, Microsoft itself ventured into the NFT space by releasing NFTs tied to Minecraft in February 2021. These digital collectibles were launched in collaboration with crypto gaming startup Enjin and could be used within the game through an Enjin-created plugin. Although Minecraft’s intended ban on NFTs has not been implemented yet, Mojang’s commitment to updating the guidelines underscores their continued stance against the integration of NFTs into the game. Players and the Web3 community eagerly await further developments regarding this matter.
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