Minecraft to make even more money with Realms subscription service, Xbox retail disc

Minecraft developer Mojang has a lot of money. With the block-building game selling millions of copies, it's an undeniable success. But, Mojang is ready to make even more money off of its game through two new initiatives. The first is relatively straightforward: an Xbox 360 retail version, giving the game new exposure to gamers that don't always check the Xbox Live Marketplace. The second is far more lucrative: a subscription-based service that could potentially "bring in more money than Minecraft itself."

The retail version of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition will be available on April 30 for $19.99, the same price as the XBLA version. According to Play XBLA, the retail version will include the most recent version of the game, with all nine title updates to be baked into the disc. The disc version will access any future updates, provided the console is connected to the internet.

On PC, Mojang plans on launching Minecraft Realms, an online service that was conceived as a way for parents to offer "simple and secure" online play for their children. "Minecraft Realms will be a simpler kind of service, aimed at families and kids. In the future we aim to offer certain profiles with mods that are certified to work without crashing, but this will still be a safe and easy way for kids and families to play Minecraft online," Mojang CEO Carl Manneh told GI.biz.

Subscribers will get access to their own self-contained world, and will be able to invite anyone that owns a copy of Minecraft. Subscriptions will cost somewhere around $10 to $15 a month, and will be available to purchase via prepaid cards.

"In the end I think this will get Minecraft new players, since there is a viral aspect of Realms. Kids will probably invite friends who don't have Minecraft yet to play with them," Manneh said. "All we know is that there has been a great demand for this service... 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."