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If you haven’t heard, Microsoft, er… Mojang is going to launch a marketplace for player created content, and mods will not be supported. We understand microtransactions will net you Mojang “funbucks”, which you’ll use to buy the maps, sound or texture pack you want play with. (Which means your friends will have to also buy the same content if you which to share the same experience.) A handful of content creators have been selected to participate, and this puts their popularity on the dime.

Let’s be clear: Microsoft is only allowing registered businesses to participate, but seeing as how that’s not a massive hurdle, it remains to be seen how effective a deterrent that will be against scammers and asset flips. The “community store” will not be appearing in the deskop (Java) version of Minecraft. This initiative raises some important questions: Will participants be granted early access to snapshots? How comfortable will you be having to pay for the latest version of a resource pack that was previously free? Will content creators selling maps and packs on the community store stop supporting the desktop version? Given Microsoft’s history, can they be trusted to curate modded content?

Where do Tumble and I stand on the issue? We have no intention of applying to the Microsoft/Minecraft Marketplace. In the same way that we released our pack complete, no betas or incomplete versions, we are going to hold to our original mission statement. This pack is for players, all players. We’ll never charge a price for it. If you’d like to show your appreciation, make a video, play with your loved ones, some friends, or strangers. Have fun, because that’s what games are for!

~ Hastypixels and Tumbleberry

Tumbleberry and I hit some new milestones this year (in addition to the texture pack exceeding two million downloads), and encountered new frustrations with our existing tools. Inkscape is a blessing to be certain, but when the artist has to compromise their own work for the sake of the tool, it’s no longer doing its job. I am making the arduous transition to Illustrator so that our plans can go ahead uncompromised.

Meanwhile Mojang updated Minecraft to version 1.9 with combat functionality, and no apparent plans to complete adventure mode. There’s a parallel there and it lays between Cubeworld and Minecraft’s inability to realize a procedurally generated world with fully fleshed out quest-based gameplay.

I’ll lay it out that this is too much to ask for the inexperienced Indie, but now that Mojang no longer falls under that category, we may yet see a major overhaul of adventure mode. I’m going to side with George Wiedman on this: Player experience will “tell a more interesting story.” Every, single, time.

He was comparing Telltale’s Minecraft: Story Mode to the core multiplayer mode, but this reflects my enjoyment of Minecraft. It’s a Microsoft style tacked-on cash grab. Just know what you’re getting. Minecraft is all you need, but don’t hesitate to grab a texture pack to address its lackluster vanilla texture pack.

Summarily, keep it simple and trust yourself.

So many things have changed since the last update: We have our own homepage and hosting solution now, we have surpassed 100,000 downloads, had our textures and splash texts cherry-picked by Mojang in advance of its sale to Microsoft, just as others have.

Tumbleberry and I discussed the issue thoroughly, and in the end the experience is what matters, not paycheque. Clearly if it did, we wouldn’t be making a modification for Minecraft. Now that Microsoft will be assuming control, we are going to continue updating the texture pack as usual. We are hopeful that Microsoft’s expertise will improve Minecraft as a creative tool for all of us.

Above all else Minecraft enables previously unrealized creativity and social interaction. How many have sat down to watch someone build Lego? Tens of millions watch others play and build in Minecraft, to the extent that Microsoft is paying for the audience, not the product. May that be the guiding principle as development continues.

Promised features, bug fixes and community attentiveness have all been inconsistent under the stewardship of Mojang, which, like other home-grown Indie houses, lack experience at the international support level. I am assured, if nothing else, by Microsoft’s past experience in this arena. While not always positive, they do have a lot of it.

The fact is that Minecraft reached millions more than it would have thanks to the XBox 360 and PS3, and increased audience can only do more good in this type of game: Our creativity is at the heart of its success, after all. We made Minecraft the success it has become, let us not forget that.

What will you be creating? We’re excited to find out!