Minecraft dev explains absence from Steam

Notch offers high praise for digital storefront, but balks at the limitations imposed by Valve, says there's an inherent incompatibility to their approaches.

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It isn't just mega-publisher Electronic Arts that has issues with Steam. Minecraft creator Marcus "Notch" Persson posted an entry on his personal blog yesterday explaining why his open-ended PC hit hasn't shown up on Valve's digital storefront to date, echoing EA's reservations about Steam-imposed limitations.

Don't expect Minecraft to hit Steam anytime soon.
Don't expect Minecraft to hit Steam anytime soon.

"Being on Steam limits a lot of what we're allowed to do with the game, and how we're allowed to talk to our users," Persson said. "We (probably?) wouldn't be able to, say, sell capes or have a map marketplace on minecraft.net that works with Steam customers in a way that keeps Valve happy. It would effectively split the Minecraft community into two parts, where only some of the players can access all of the weird content we want to add to the game."

Persson confirmed that his studio Mojang is talking to Valve about resolving the conflict but did not express much optimism. "There's a certain inherent incompatibility between what we want to do and what they want to do," Persson explained.

Despite the disparate business interests, Persson heaped plenty of praise on Steam, prefacing his explanation by calling it "the best digital distribution platform I've ever seen." He also went on to emphasize that the service is awesome, as opposed to "certain other digital distribution platforms that we would NOT want to release Minecraft on." [Emphasis in original.]

Electronic Arts' issues with Steam also revolve around postrelease content. When the publisher pulled Crysis 2 from Steam in July, EA's head of global e-commerce, David DeMartini, said, "We take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content, and other services to our players" and so insist on being allowed to "establish an ongoing relationship" with customers and contact them to inform them of new patches and available content.

For more on Minecraft, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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