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How Mojang is creating a sustainable future for Minecraft
Minecraft Realms is an upcoming subscription service for Minecraft that could essentially turn the sandbox game into an MMO. Mojang CEO Carl Manneh discusses the move forward for his company.
"Pretty much from when we started the company, we've been getting feedback from players, and players want to connect and play multiplayer," says Mojang CEO Carl Manneh. So rumbles on the success of Minecraft, the sandbox open-world indie behemoth that has nearly sold 10 million copies of its PC and Mac version alone, and more than 20 million copies across all its versions, including on mobile and Xbox 360. But Mojang is far from finished with the popular title. It continues to put out regular updates for the game, and as revealed this month, has big plans for a new subscription service called Minecraft Realms on the way. It's currently possible for Minecraft players to set up their own servers, or pay for a third-party service to host a server for them, but as Manneh notes, those less tech-savvy players will no doubt hit plenty of bumps and issues along the way, and may not be able to find the solution online. "We've consistently gotten a lot of feedback from players, and now lately a lot of parents that have kids, and they basically say that they're tired of being server admins at home, and sorting our their children's issues with Minecraft servers," he laughs. He continues, "We've been thinking about this for quite some time for several reasons: Because Minecraft grew so quickly, we had to handle a lot of other things, so the the servers have been delayed. Now we've been developing it for probably half a year, and we're getting close to releasing it, so that's exciting." This is what Minecraft Realms boils down to: rather than offering a service that isn't already available elsewhere, the Mojang team is aiming for ease-of-use as its main sell point. "This will be a one-click option in the Minecraft client that offers access to the server," Manneh adds, "and allows you to invite friends without any technical knowledge around setting up the server." As part of this accessibility charter, Manneh notes that Minecraft Realms servers will not provide many of the current elements of the game. "The goal is to keep it very simple - so that will also limit a lot of features," he says. "It won't be very feature-rich, at least from the beginning, so we're really targeting the middle of the market to try and solve the problem for the normal Minecraft player who just wants an easy way to connect with friends." He adds that, for those players who want to add lots of mods and make tweaks to their server, "Minecraft Realms will not be your option, and you should continue with your third-party host. It will not be possible with Realms to add tons of mods, at least from the get-go."