The makers of Minecraft said Wednesday morning that they would change the game’s user guidelines to make it impossible for fans to add non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to the game. This was bad news for several trading communities.
Under Minecraft’s current user rules, administrators can charge users for access to their own Minecraft servers, but there are a few more rules that must be followed. This includes making sure that paid users have real, paid versions of the game and that everyone pays the same amount for access.
Mojang, the Swedish company that makes Minecraft and is a subsidiary of Microsoft, plans to change these rules so that NFTs can’t be used or traded in the game.
Mojang wrote on the official Minecraft blog under the name “Staff” that “blockchain technologies are not allowed to be integrated into our client and server applications. Also, Minecraft in-game content like worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods cannot be used by blockchain technology to create a scarce digital asset.”
The reason given for the change doesn’t name any specific companies, but it does say that third-party companies have launched Minecraft-integrated NFT implementations that turned the game into a “play-to-earn” version where players could earn Minecraft-themed NFTs by doing things in or out of the game.
“Each of these uses of NFTs and other blockchain technologies creates digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion,” the post says. “This is not in line with Minecraft’s values of creative inclusion and playing together.” NFTs don’t include everyone in our community and make a divide between those who have and those who don’t.
Concerns have also been raised about how unreliable third-party NFTs are, how the technology relies on asset managers who could suddenly go out of business and take a user’s NFTs with them, and how NFTs tend to get involved in what are basically pump-and-dump schemes.
Mojang also said that it has no plans “right now” to add its own blockchain technology to Minecraft, but that it will keep an eye on how the technology develops. No one knows yet how the rule change will affect the official Minecraft NFTs that came out last year as a joint project with Enjin.
Mojang’s change to the rules will affect NFT Worlds, which calls itself a “metaverse platform.” It used to host many metaverse projects, like a customized Minecraft server where users could buy virtual plots of land as NFTs to use in-game.
Its official response to the Minecraft NFT ban, which was posted on its Discord server, is to look into other options. These options could include moving its tech to a different crafting game that is similar to Minecraft or selling its way of coding to other game developers as a service. The company has no plans to leave the area and is “committed to finding a solution.”
To be fair, I think this was bound to happen. People in the NFT/crypto world don’t seem to want to accept that an NFT based on someone else’s intellectual property will still be seen as breaking intellectual property law because it’s basically unlicensed securities trading. This was also true of the Magic: The Gathering-themed mtgDAO project from earlier this year.