Minecraft subscription service revealed

New "Realms" service aimed at parents and children will cost $10-15 per month; could end up bringing in more money than the game itself.

Minecraft developer Mojang has revealed plans for a subscription service called Minecraft Realms, according to a new report at Swedish news site it24 (translated by GamesIndustry International). Aimed at parents and children, the service will allow users to own a slice of the Minecraft world that friends can join free of charge, provided they own a copy of the game.

Pricing has not been finalized, but a subscription is expected to cost between $10 and $15 per month. The Minecraft Realms service comes as a response to inquiries from parents, according to Mojang CEO Carl Manneh.

"All we know is that there has been a great demand for this service," Manneh said. "We have never tried to sell anything to our gamers except the game itself and a little merchandise, so it'll be very interesting to see if the community will be prepared to pay for a service like this."

If the Minecraft Realms service does catch on, Manneh said he believes it will be a major revenue stream for Mojang, so much so that it could overtake sales of the game itself.

"But since we have about 10 million paying PC gamers and, soon, as many mobile gamers, there's definitely potential," he said. "And yes, if we look ahead, I do think [Realms will] be the biggest source of income in the future, and to bring in more money in total than the game itself."

If Minecraft Realms is widely supported, Manneh said Minecraft would become a "huge MMO; a really vast universe consisting of many very small worlds." He described this result as a "dream" the studio has had for a long time.

The PC version of Minecraft Realms is in private alpha, while a public beta is planned for this May. A version for Minecraft: Pocket Edition is also in the works, though it is "some way" behind its PC counterpart.

The entire Minecraft franchise has sold over 20 million units, with the PC version closing in on 10 million copies sold.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about Minecraft?

Minecraft

Minecraft

Discussion

184 comments
Lausanna
Lausanna

I would be interested, but I already rent my own server for 6 bucks. There's have to be a compelling reason for me to switch services for twice the price.

IllegallyAwesum
IllegallyAwesum

I'd prefer to see the Game on WiiU or Windows Phone 8.

MasterTheHero
MasterTheHero

Why would someone "request" a subscription service when the game could be played for free? Either this is a mis-translation or Mojang is delusional.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

This is where the definition of the word 'lol' should actually be used.

Why someone would pay for this service is beyond me... But still!

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Sounds like a step towards a Second Life model of owning virtual property. Interesting. 

u1tradt
u1tradt

I'm surprised it's taken them so long to offer this kind of streamlined service.

nedrith
nedrith

It could be a decent idea but I think $15 a month is too high for such a game.  Even games like say WoW you have complaints that $15 is too much and that game has a ton of content a ton of epic PvE fights and a really strong lore.  

Minecraft is fun, in fact I've recently gotten addicted to it again after a friend introduced me to tekkit however it lacks the content that a game like WoW has.  While connected worlds and such would be a great addition along with well made servers(hopefully) I don't see it being worth $15 a month. 

Not to mention mods like Tekkit and all those bukkit mods are what make minecraft fun.  Going to a new server with new rules and different recipes is what makes it great.  Vanilla minecraft just lacks the content.  

I could see Mojang getting $5 a month perhaps just on the basis of connected worlds and that it's professionally hosted but more than that?    They'll have to do a lot to the game to convince me playing with no mods is actually going to be fun.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

I love minecraft but....wtf? Why? Why would someone pay for this?

DrKill09
DrKill09

Anyone who subscribes is a moron.

I am currently playing Rollercoaster Tycoon 1 from 1999.  Not only does it look better, but it is infinitely more fun. 

Supperdude9
Supperdude9

I say good for Mojang.  You made it in a world of FPS's and yearly sport games, and you're making money.  Go for it, Notch.  You made it to the top and you deserve it.

What I'm worried now are the griefers who *will* attempt to take down Realms. They do exist, and are possibly salivating at the prospect of attacking a family-oriented server world.

TheThoughtless1
TheThoughtless1

I'm assuming that their "goal" is to have a universe of connected worlds that you can travel to and live in, almost like Second Life. Once you pay, you'd have control over your own world that was then connected to other everybody else's worlds, at the moment their are features similar to this, but it doesn't have that WOW feeling that they're trying to achieve. 

aryeec
aryeec

so..... I assume this is for those who don't know and don't care to know how to set up their own servers?

kerrman
kerrman

If the "dream" scenario were the reality, I would buy this. A universe consisting of small worlds done with Minecraft would be an amazing MMO.

SlowMotionKarma
SlowMotionKarma

So it's like downloading the Minecraft server (free) and hosting for friends, except Mojang is hosting and you have to pay $15/month? 

Ah, capitalism. You're a smart one, you are. Can't fault Mojang for grabbing the green this time.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Eh... what?  Sorry could you explain *why* you're charging for this again?

I didn't quite catch it the first time.

realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

I don't really know what you are buying.  Do you have to subscribe to play the game?

CodingGenius
CodingGenius moderator

As long as people who have the base game can join their friends' Realms, I see no problem with this.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

Makes sense to me. Not everyone is a tech savvy person or god forbid some people just don't care to much. Would I buy it? No, but this sounds like a logical thing to charge people for. They are running a business, not a charity and SHOCK they aren't your friend. I wish more young people could get that through their head and we wouldn't have this insane over reaction every time a corporation or company decides it wants to make more money. 


This literally effects no one but adds an option for those who don't have the know how or the hardware to make there own server. No one is losing in this situation.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

After playing Tekkit I can never go back to vanilla, it just feels so lacking.

HeadExploder
HeadExploder

even though im sick of BF and CoD games, I am interested in a Star Wars take on it. however, looking at the footage.... so far looks kinda crappy to me...

residude
residude

I haven't played Minecraft myself as it has yet to capture my imagination. What exactly is the purpose of the game?

cjlebron
cjlebron

This is a poorly written story - it does nothing to clarify the central question: exactly what is Minecraft Realms? "Owning a slice of the Minecraft world" is a useless descriptor.

vault-boy
vault-boy

I don't get it. They're charging a subscription fee for... servers?

zyxahn
zyxahn

It seems weird but the way this game has gone I don't see them wanting to do this at all.  If  as they say it was asked for by enough players then they have to at least try it.  If you don't like it then it was obviously not aimed at you so saying it sucks is dumb. 

sadscooterpipe
sadscooterpipe

Joking aside, can/will any of you PC gamers who understand this care to offer a very quick explanation to this sheltered console only gamer as to why one would pay for this?  I don't play MC, (but there is no denying its popularity) so forgive the ignorance.  I don't understand what you are getting for this service, but am very intrigued by the projected finances they anticipate?  Are you essentially owning a time-share of sorts on a server?  Confused...

Cheers and Thanks!

u1tradt
u1tradt

@nedrith WoW subscriptions are to play the game. You don't pay, you can't play. This is something else. It's simply dedicated servers, except you're personally paying for its maintenance (which makes you the admin of the server) and can invite as many people as your server can take to join you.

So suppose you are part of a group of 10 friends who love to play Minecraft together. With this you don't need to go searching for a server and get whitelisted etc. You pay $15 a month and you all have unlimited access to your personal map on your personal server, and you can invite many more people to play on your map as long as the server can handle the capacity.

But if there's 10 of you who play it a lot then you can all chip in, for example, and pay $1.50 each per month to have jolly co-operation on your favourite game.

It's something the Xbox 360 version definitely needs since the host acts as the server and if they're not online no one can access the map. But then again I don't know how people would feel about paying server fees on top of the fee for Gold on top of having already bought the game for 1600 MS points.

u1tradt
u1tradt

@---Cipher--- The same reason someone pays for a dedicated server on anything else...

u1tradt
u1tradt

@TheThoughtless1 You don't have access to the other realms unless the owner of it gives you their server code. It won't be like MMO's in the sense that you move from world to world effortlessly while questing. It's simply a large network of worlds that are closed off from one another.

u1tradt
u1tradt

@aryeec Yup. In the same way that a console is mainly for those who don't know and don't care how to build their own PC.

Dante-xero
Dante-xero

@SlowMotionKarma 

The thing with having a dedicated server like this is that it'll be on 24/7 (until your subscription runs out) and you don't need to keep it up yourself, this way your friends can access the server without having the host around.

Fanible
Fanible

@realguitarhero5 

It will be essentially like renting a server to play on, which is something PC gamers can already do.  It will be your own land/area, and you'll have control over who comes in and plays.

Saketume
Saketume

@residude you can build complex machines in the game without having to fork out real world money for labour and part costs.

Engineers love to play around with it.

Some guy built a fully functioning 16 bit computer in the game.

You can build fancy models and walk around in them.

The most famous example is probably the guy who rebuilt the star ship Enterprise-D using official blueprints.

u1tradt
u1tradt

@residude If you want to see how much fun Minecraft can actually be watch some Yogscast videos on YouTube. 

But in general from my experience playing, watching my brother playing (a lot it must be said) and watching other videos of people playing, Minecraft is one huge grind-fest. Just knock down many many many blocks, place them down to make a crappy house, go into dungeons to mine better stuff to be able to create better stuff that lets you mine stuff quicker. 

No real goal, no ultimate aim (well, there is one tacked on). It can be fun in many ways but in general I find it to be a grand waste of time. Players spend a huge proportion of their free time playing it and I often find myself asking 'What have you achieved in the grand scheme of things?' Nothing is usually my answer to myself.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good game. But it's a lot more tedious than players let on.

Daian
Daian

@residude as far as I know there are none, no end game, you just mine and, well, craft.

surrealme
surrealme

@SOKOLEK It's really no different than renting server space for anything else, like having a website hosted or cloud storage.

Squirrelatwar
Squirrelatwar

@cjlebron To play devil's advocate, maybe that's the only wording in the news article this info is taken from.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@Tagman11 @Toysoldier34 Its a collection of mods that add tons of content to Minecraft. You can look up Tekkit and the Technic launcher. It is a new launcher for the game that downloads and updates all the mods for it so there is no hassle.

Adds hundreds of new items and gives the game a lot more to do and shoot for.

Skulker87
Skulker87

@Tagman11 Tekkit is a mod pack for mine craft. It's unsupported by most of the modders that created the mods. If you want a mod pack that is supported by the modders , look into Feed The Beast.

%s