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Thinking Out Loud: Microsoft and Mojang

First off, let me say these are my thoughts and perspectives and may not represent the other folks on the Broville team. We’re a rather loosely held organization of folks with our own opinions. I tend to be more cynical than most.

So, here we are, “day 2” of Microjang. It’s still pretty early in the morning but here’s what we know so far.

1. Upper management is taking the money and running. (I can’t say I blame them.)

2. Jeb is, as of 9/15, still lead dev. (Will he stay that way? Will he answer to a program director that steers his dev?)

3. Microsoft has game content rules that are quite problematic for the Minecraft community.

4. Broville could TECHNICALLY conflict with those game content rules. (I’ll explain in a moment, but you probably know why.)

1/2. Upper management and the vacuum of power.

So lets pick this apart for a moment. I was part of an aquisition a while back. My relatively small “family feel” company was aquired by a huge global mega-corp that wanted to “add our uniqueness to their own.” (Not their words..I’m making a reference to the borg.) Our management stayed on, despite getting huge checks. A lot of them got new cars and were very jovial, relaxed, and unconcerned about.. well seemingly anything. The fact that they remained however, meant that they had some influence over the steer of the aquisition. We maintained our corporate culture for the first few months (for the most part) for this reason.

Now, I can’t confirm this, but if Mojang’s management is gone, as in, they’re not coming in to work today, they lit out of Mojang studios at the end of the day  yesterday with a briefcase overflowing with $100 bills like the monopoly man, hopped into their tiny metal car, put on their top hats and yelled “see ya later shitlords!” and never came back.  If this happened (or something slightly less dramatic) this creates a cultural and managerial vacuum within the company that Microsoft will have to fill. In comes the guy from the mac vs pc commercials. A stuffy, suit and tie managerial robot that will potentially steer assimilation. This could be bad for Jeb/Dinnerbone/other improvident faces that aren’t managers and are left with 2 options. Comply, or leave.

When I was faced with comply or leave, I left. I was working with highly educated highly paid corporate IT folks who were so specialized in their particular pieces of Microsoft software I had to be on conference calls with 30 people. We’d spend most of the call asking who is on the call, then we’d find out the person who had the important information was not on the call because ??? and we’d adjourn. Ultimately though, I was handing off my servers to these people. I would work with them filling out forms, explaining my process, and would be shutting down my hardware and they would be scheduling it to be picked up by ups to be sent to their various other facilities where the resource was needed. This could very well happen at Mojang,with developers and developer’s resources. Maybe Microsoft sees something in Dinnerbone they feel will be better placed on some other project. (Like an entire underwater game for instance, or one where everyone walks on their heads) So they tell him, you’re moving to the US, you’re going to Raleigh, or you’re going to Redmond, and if you don’t like it, you can quit.

Lets say Microsoft sends.. oh I dunno.. Leeroy Jenkins, lead game community developer and coordinator for global sandbox gaming profitization modeling and totally made up title counselor out to Sweden. He walks in and tells Jeb, ok lead developer, we want everyone out of private servers by 2.0. You will be working on implementing microtransactions for skin and texture pack purchases, adding Microsoft single sign on support into the dashboard, and disabling Herobrine again.

Jeb might say “But we love Herobrine! He’s like awesome and stuff!” but if Leeroy says no, then the answer is no. Jeb may still be “lead developer” but that does NOT mean with 100% ceertainty that he is in charge of game direction.

3. Game Content Rules and their application

You probably know by now that Microsoft has it’s own set of game content rules. You can find them HERE: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/developer/rules What you, or I don’t know at this point is whether or not these rules will apply to Minecraft. (This is such a big issue we may know sooner than later. this is a BIG DEAL.)

To avoid picking these rules apart, let me paraphrase my interpretation of them as they relate to Minecraft:

1. You don’t own your map, your skins, your videos. Microsoft can add your creations to the game, claim its theirs, and even charge for it, and you have no legal right to it.

2. You cannot monetize. Videos, Maps, Skins. This could mean that ad.fly, youtube, and other monetization methods will not be allowed. You CAN ask for donations for your content however, and there are options for commercial licenses, which I’m sure are prohibitively expensive.

3. You cannot use the title of the game in your production. So if you make a minecraft video on youtube, you can’t say MINECRAFT: the adventures of Notchsauce or something to that effect.

4. You cannot use the game to create adult, racist, hateful, or divisive content. Also, this rule is left up to the whims of Microsoft and is intentionally vague.

So to recap, no more youtube videos from big players, the potential your work will show up in a Microsoft strategy guide, on a T-shirt, where Microsoft can make BILLIONS, but you make nothing, and potentially, having your map, video, skin etc. removed and/or legally challenged because Microsoft does not like the content.

It is my opinion that these game rules, as they stand, and if they are enforced to the letter, are a death blow to the Minecraft community. They stifle innovation, bully free speech and expression, and leave a massive swinging door for Microsoft to swoop in, take your creation, and say “I made this!” and get money thrown at them.

4. Why Game Content Usage Rules apply to Broville

Let’s assume for a moment that the game content usage rules as mentioned above are set in stone, apply to the letter to this game, and are enforced with an army of back coat, red tie wearing, briefcase toating, porsche driving, soul-less lawyers that march lock-step down the halls like some sort of corporate gestapo. How does this affect Broville?

Well first of all, what is the name of the large battleship floating in the open ocean off the northern coast? Anyone?

What was V10 like? Was it insensitive? Did it use “dirty words?” Did it insult you in some way? (no? Oh, I’m so sorry we missed you. We’ll try harder to offend this time around.)

After Curse bought out the minecraft forums, a moderator actually had Broville taken down from the forums because of this content. How do you think Microsoft will react to this kind of content on their IP?

We’re not going to stop development of the map, we’re not going to stop being insensitive, insulting, hateful in our snarky, no-real-harm-intended signage. If you’re offended, you’re offensive. It is something however that I felt should be addressed.

V. Final Thoughts and Predictions

My final thought is this. I feel demotivated, a slight tinge of hopelessness while standing, our David, against the Goliath that is Microsoft. I feel intimidated, powerless, and for the first time perhaps, nostalgic, for the “good old days” when we knew what was going to happen with our game and our community. The uncertainty this has created, more than any REAL threat so far, has already had an impact on this game, and the community of players at large.

I am however, going to continue as normal. I’m going to keep my ear to the ground, but I’m going to keep building, I’m going to keep working on my projects, and I would suggest to everyone out there, that we just keep moving forward. That storm we think we see on the horizon may be nothing more than an optical illusion created by the treetops.

My PREDICTIONS, are not so optimistic. Here’s the thing. Microsoft bought Mojang for a hefty sum. Why do you think they paid so much? I’ve also heard through various grape vines that they hope to recoup this money in only a few months. How do they plan to do that?

So here’s my predictions. You won’t like them, and they’re probably wrong. (I hope.)

1. The game starts to be boxed into vanilla with future versions. New content is added, the game becomes more stable, updates are faster, better, but modding starts to be frowned upon by Microsoft. Either through C&D notices, DMCA IP enforcement, or even an entire code re-write into C#, C++ etc, the modding community is methodically shut out. Bukkit, despite it’s promised update by Dinnerbone, is dead. Sponge never takes off because of Glowstone, and other mock products. The Bukkit vaccum of centralized standards and power leaves modders adrift in tiny pockets of civilization, ultimately to find that no source code will be available for 1.9, 2.0, and that no server version may even exist by 2.0.

2. Realms becomes the only avenue for online play, outside of locally hosted LAN games. Microsoft forces people into their box, a vanilla hosted server. It’s great! Even you can host your own server! No guess work, no bandwidth requirements. Just pay the fee! This increases in popularity among younger people, newcomers to the market. The people who aren’t Broville builders that rely on heavy mods and specialized server software. The ones more likely to have no understanding of money.. the ones more likely to agree to microtransactions.

3. A minecraft store is introduced into the game through the launcher. You can synchronize your microsoft account, use it to buy skins, texture packs from the Minecraft store. This becomes unpopular with map builders like us, but small children and newcomers to the game eat it up. (Did you really think hats would take off on Team fortress?) Gradually the Alpha/Beta players start to lose interest int he game because it’s not what they remember, but the community thrives and grows rapidly as new, younger people flood into it. New updates and features dangle in front of them like a carrot on a fishing line.

4. The game ultimately results in a divided community. Those who play the “old game” (1.8, now.) with “old” mods like Tekkit, older bukkit mods, client hacks and “offline” servers that rely on security patches made of duct-tape and zipties; and the new community of shiny new children buying diamiond pickaxes with unbreaking III enchantments from the Microjang minecraft store for 99 cents, downloading the latest texture pack, once created by the community, now seized by Microsoft and updated on their own. The game doesn’t die, the community doesn’t die, but it’s not the same commuity it used to be. It’s younger, it’s more naive. It’s more.. big business.

That’s it friends. Thanks for reading! Lets hope I’m wrong.

Microsoft has strict rules about sharing content created in their games. 

Will these rules spill over into Minecraft? Will I be sent a Cease and Desist legal notice for my content currently on Planetminecraft?

I DO NOT plan to modify the zips. I WILL remove them if I am sent a C&D and will not be adding them back. 

This is concerning. Unclear if this will affect us and when, but concerning all the same. 

So the title says it. WE for 1.8 on bukkit? Porlbably not ever gonna happen. 

What they’re doing now, before Microjang orders a takedown for copyright violation.. is creating a NEW modding API in the wake of Bukkit called sponge project. 

I’ll be doing more research on this in the next day or so. Sounds interesting. Sounds hopeful. If you’ve used worldedit you know SK89Q is a god among steves when it comes to manipulating the Minecraft environment, so.. I’m confident in him being tied to this project. 

..Wow..

Worst of all, they do not deny that Microsoft will have the authority to stop modders, developers, LPers etc. and/or setup a marketplace. 

I dunno about you all, but.. here’s how I feel:

Like a relative (a cousin, someone not very close) has DIED. 

Am I going to change my ways and/or boycott or stop playing?

Nope. The only way I’ll stop playing is if the game is made into something it wasn’t and/or starts costing me money, or Microsoft starts shutting it down. 

I’ll tell you right now, I won’t be paying for your skins, your maps, your music etc. So if a marketplace is set up, I may upload a few things (providing it doesn’t cost ME anything) but I won’t be paying for anything. I’m cheap like that. 

If Microsoft starts setting up road blocks for modders, screenshots, blogs (like this one) LPs or custom content.. we will have a problem. I know I won’t be alone in this problem though. 

This, like the Bukkit crisis, like the EULA crisis, is just another one that I’m going to ride out and continue as normal. I suggest you do the same. Until we see the changes.. there may as well not be any. 

Ice Cube

Ice Cube

golonkaswe:

oldshoes:

Now you can be in Broville!

We are looking for ideas for interiors for different commercial properties. Give us your idea and we will create a store/place of business based on this and make you the owner and operator. Immortalize yourself in Broville v11 and make your mark on the business…

Be the unqualified entrepreneur Broville needs!

Microsoft and Mojang, a theory.

OK so today is the first full day and all has been quiet. Some people believe that this is confirmation of everything they’ve heard. I’m not so sure.. yet.. but based on some information from Notch, who tends to be a vocal person, and the Eula “debacle” might mean that Notch is ready to get out of Mojang.

First things first, I don’t KNOW Notch, but he reminds me of a “normal person.” A person who would revel in the idea of being financially well off forever, a person who has, in my opinion, distanced himself substantially from minecraft in the last year or so, instead letting Jeb and Dinnerbone head the charge.

Most importantly, Notch is a guy who made a game, just like you tool around with your hobbies, what if your hobby suddenly turned into something huge? A $100 mil. plus enterprise employing 40 people? Could you handle that pressure? That fame? That responsibility?

One day you’re taking the train to work for “the man” the next day you’re hosting conventions for your product! Kids and adults of all shapes and sizes idolizing you, loving you, hating you, hinging on your words, throwing loving comments at you, throwing hateful comments at you..

I think if I were in Notch’s shoes, I’d want to be left alone. He doesn’t strike me as the kind of person that wants to be the center of attention. He strikes me as a coder, a tinkerer, a guy who took advantage of something and made it big. And good for him!

Now.. we know so far that Mojang and Microsoft have been silent on this. Lets say they are in talks about something, anything. We know already that they have a stake in xbox minecraft. They already have a working relationship. This means the foots already in the door. If they’re talking aquisitions, they WOULD be silent.

This doesn’t mean its a done deal, this doesn’t mean it’ll happen, being in talks for an aquisition means DICK. They get offers all the time to buy their company and they probably entertain more than they ever let on. In fact, during aquisition talks, many times when the buyer is examining the seller’s PNL, talent pool, IP etc, they enter into sort of a gag agreement that PREVENTS them legally from discussing anything publicly about the aquisition. This is (probably) because Microsoft is publicly traded, and having any aquisition talk public would influence stocks and the values of both companies and could affect negotiations.

My previous employer (my real one anyway. Screw you Florida)  was aquired. Management knew about it for months and months but us employees were kept in the dark. My boss later told me that he was not ALLOWED to discuss it because our.. aquisitioners? were publicly traded. Furthermore, we had to purge the email system of any and all discussions about other potential buyers because NOT doing so would violate their legal pre-aquisition agreements.

Basically ours was more of a merger.. so we got to look at their financials, they got to look at ours. Mojang is probably in a similar situation. Microsoft offers Mojang employees a lot. health life dental 401k, and most importantly, employment protection. Don’t even kid yourself here. Minecraft is Mojang’s 1 trick pony. When it dies Mojang is done.

So what my theory? All this bullshit for nothing?! Look, here’s my theory. All this comes from unconfirmed sources and seems like heresay, yet bloomberg, wsj etc. thought it safe to announce. Either they’re even less honest as news agencies than I thought OR the source is credible. IE a mojang eployee, potentially one that disagrees with the aquisition, and is trying to stir up the community to get us to push Mojang to change their mind.

So yea.. there’s my theory. I could be wrong, totally wrong, this could be some kind of weird swedish september fools joke, or it could have been a prank call from a neckbeard, or EVEN ALIENS! REPTILIANS! THE NEW WORLD ORDER! who knows.. but I thougth I’d just throw this out there.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-09/microsoft-said-near-2-billion-deal-for-minecraft-maker.html

…wat?

WHAT?!

well I sure hope this is bull.

descole-designs:

Dusk
3spooky5me

You’re in the forest at night and its pouring rain. Do you brave the storm, or seek refuge in an abandoned insane asylum?

3spooky5me

You’re in the forest at night and its pouring rain. Do you brave the storm, or seek refuge in an abandoned insane asylum?

Wait, is it really true that the smooth double slabs will no longer be obtainable in 1.8? I hadn't heard this from anyone until that warning yesterday. It's one of my favorite blocks...
Anonymous

oldshoes:

It’s what I keep hearing!

so.. here’s what I’ve heard on this.

Any block with “custom metadata” such as A LOT of blocks in the conquest texture pack, rather than reverting to their original block ID (like say, a custom stone wall thats made of iron) will instead revert to 0 or.. minecraft:air. Now don’t quote me on this because I haven’t tested this theory. This is PROBABLY due to the fact that mojang has been reconditioning the ID system on the surface for command blocks, and mod compatbility for the coming API.

As it stands now, say, you install a mod like.. caprenters blocks, and then you try to install a mod like, uuhh, well I forget the name but its the one with the quarries and the pipes and all that. (not technic or tekkit, its PART OF those packs though.) What you get is a bunch of errors in minecraft forge because those block numerical IDs are the same.

See, what mojang is trying to do is replace it so that instead of having ID 0, 1,2, you have minecraft:air, stone,grass and then you can have.. say.. carpenters:scaffold, or even carpenter’s air, stone, grass, like that. This way, mod pack block and item IDs never conflict because they are called by their designated name, rather than an ID, so.. the only way they conflict is if you have 2 mods with the same name designation which.. is the modder’s fault.

Now, how this adds up to the back end I don’t know. Does this convert every chunk and every block ID from a numerical ID to a named one? I don’t think so, beacuse the game was built on the numerical architecture, MEANING that somewhere in the base code there still has to be this ID infrastructure on the numerical level, even though we as end users cannot directly access it any longer (so as to avoid id confusion with other mods.)

Anyway, will 43:8 go away? Well I certainly hope not! I seem to recall mojang saying that it was going to be made permanent. However, we will of course be testing the map before we just blindly upgrade (right shoes??)

MY concern, is not so much the ID system and metadata, though, this is a big bummer for those of us who use conquest, moreso, how this metadata change will impact plugins such as worldedit and voxel sniper. How these work is your best guess, but I would ASSUME that any block transformation that occurs within these mods occurs as taking the existing code, and just replicating it. So if WE sees you use /repl on 43:8, when you right click another block it says, set ID 43:8. (well more than that, because we know repl will copy sign data, so its copying nbt data and everything. hrmm, I wonder if that works on filled chests..) IF the numerical ID system is TRUELY gone in 1.8, then SK89Q is faced with having to re-hash WE from the ground up to take this into account, OR, the numerical ID system is still there and what we are seeing in the minecraft:blockname coding is simply a wrapper on top of that.

All this is a really long winded way of me saying, I am concerned, but not nearly as much as I think a lot of other people might be, because I haven’t seen anything on SK89Q’s forums, or WE forums or even bukkit forums about the impact of this update on this particular block. What I’d be more worried about are REAL glitch blocks such as the all outside skinned log blocks, or any of the conquest custom metadata blocks that aren’t part of mojang’s “protected” blocks. But.. we shall see. All we can do is ride this roller coaster.

1.8 & bukkit

OK yall, so 1.8 hit today, bukkit team took their toys and went home so its up to the mojangles. When do you think we’ll see a 1.8 bukkit update? And will it work with our existing plugins? (dynmap, essentials, WE, VS, tim the enchanter, itemizer)?

LMAO 2 YEAR!!!!!11

oldshoes:

It’s officially been two years since we started Broville v11.

Thanks for sticking with it!

2 down, 10 more to go.

2bloc lives! (oh god what a horrible pun..)

2bloc lives! (oh god what a horrible pun..)

golonkaswe:

Watery wormhole.

dis some good photo hea.