The days of using Minecraft to overtly promote your product are finished, it seems.
In a blog post today, Mojang director of creative communications Owen Hill says the company is adding a new section to Minecraft's commercial usage license to prevent corporations and advertisers from using Minecraft as a tool for their advertising.
Under the new rule, "corporations, businesses, advertising agencies, non-profits, governments, and other entities MAY NOT use Minecraft gameplay to promote or market unrelated brands, products, campaigns, or services."
The rule prevents companies from building or comissioning mods or servers dedicated to their product or TV show, says that politicians can't promote their platform in-game, and that companies can't offer Minecraft gameplay on large-screen TVs, and that companies can't pay to have trailers created for their products using video of Minecraft.
Hill attributes the rule change to Minecraft's skyrocketing growth and the increased number of companies who see Minecraft's players as an audience to market products to.
"We want to empower our community to make money from their creativity," writes Hill, "but we’re not happy when the selling of an unrelated product becomes the purpose of a Minecraft mod or server. That doesn’t feel right, or more importantly, fun."
The rule change does make clear that players can still create replicas and mods of their favorite movies, TV shows, or other products (such as the one pictured above), to their heart's content, they just can't be paid or solicited to create them for advertising purposes.
This probably does mean the end of such creations as the working phone Verizon created in Minecraft, but also helps set some clear terms about the nature of such creations and how they can occur. Despite Minecraft's vast popularity and highly customizable worlds, it's still a game owned by a private company, and using random creations for free or cheap advertising probably created lots of business and ethics questions for Mojang and Microsoft.