Why Minecraft isn't on Steam

Markus "Notch" Persson offers an explanation for why Minecraft hasn't hit Steam.

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Minecraft has been financially successful, in spite of avoiding the most common digital distribution channels. Valve's Steam service is an especially notable absence, and creator Markus "Notch" Persson explained why we haven't seen the game hitting Steam yet.

"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."

"We (probably?) wouldn't be able to, say, sell capes or have a map market place 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 wrote on his blog.

That doesn't mean Minecraft will never come out for Steam, however. "We are talking to Valve about this, but I definitely understand their reasons for wanting to control their platform. There's a certain inherent incompatibility between what we want to do and what they want to do.

"So there's no big argument, we just don't want to limit what we can do with Minecraft. Also, Steam is awesome. Much more awesome than certain other digital distribution platforms that we would NOT want to release Minecraft on."

If this rationale sounds incredibly familiar, that's because it's the same claim EA has been making recently. Steam has adopted a policy that doesn't allow for new in-game storefronts, though old ones are grandfathered in. EA has been bucking against this policy with several high-profile games that feature in-game storefronts for DLC.

Dragon Age 2 and Crysis 2 were pulled, and EA has already opted not to release Battlefield 3 for the same reason. In each of the cases, EA has referred to "restrictive terms" that "limit how developers interact with customers."

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  • reply
    August 30, 2011 7:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Why Minecraft isn't on Steam.

    Markus "Notch" Persson offers an explanation for why Minecraft hasn't hit Steam.

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 7:59 AM

      He obviously is doing well enough producing it himself.

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 8:23 AM

      let's see how shacknews readers treat this news from their beloved Notch which pretty much lists off the same reasons EA said a few weeks back and compare the differences.

      EA and Mojang asking for change on Steam now. Who's next.

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        August 30, 2011 8:25 AM

        Nobody would have a problem with EA doing their own thing if we didn't expect them to completely screw it up.

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          August 30, 2011 8:39 AM

          It's funny because does anyone think Notch won't completely screw it up either?

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 8:42 AM

        Just because it comes from Notch doesn't mean it isn't stupid. That should go without saying.

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        August 30, 2011 9:06 AM

        When you don't own the digital distribution platform, you have to play by the owner's rules, try to play hardball with them on loosening the restrictions, or GTFO. EA's doing it; now Notch is doing it.

        I really don't like the idea of getting pestered constantly by marketing departments via email. I don't care if it's EA, Notch, or another indie dev; I'll check out their updates website or blog, but otherwise, leave me the hell alone.

        I had to do this for Crayon Physics Deluxe in the Humble Indie Bundle 3. It wanted me to submit an email address, but didn't require it. It said, "We'd really like your email address so we can give you feedback..." I said "No thanks."

        My general rule is, "Don't call me; I'll call you." Valve respects this rule; I get no unsolicited emails from them, despite having a Steam account. EA and Notch apparently can't respect that rule, and are being whining babies about it.

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          August 30, 2011 9:20 AM

          Good point. I don't remember ever receiving spam from Valve.

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          August 30, 2011 9:34 AM

          Why doesn't Steam or other Digital Distribution services just offer something the equivalent of a inbox on their community profile that is used for game related correspondence and friends on the network. That way its still being vetted through the platform and its not spamming the real inbox.

        • reply
          August 30, 2011 10:18 AM

          Nice call. I guess that is what "... EA has referred to "restrictive terms" that "limit how developers interact with customers."" means.

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 10:09 AM

        but...

        Steam is awesome. Much more awesome than certain other digital distribution platforms that we would NOT want to release Minecraft on."

        and...

        "We are talking to Valve about this, but I definitely understand their reasons for wanting to control their platform."

        It doesn't sound like Notch went on an all out bitching fit about Steam's distribution requirements. He even states that he would like to have Minecraft on Steam, but Steam's current form won't allow for what he is offering his current customers. He's being very rational and not at all whining, like a lot of gamers do, about how developers, publishers, and distributors operate.

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          August 30, 2011 10:13 AM

          I don't remember EA going on a bitching fit, either... a lot of that stuffed seemed to be projected onto them.

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            August 30, 2011 11:07 AM

            exactly. EA even mentioned wanting their stuff on steam as well.

            also i dont think origin is ever going to be a platform for non EA games so i dont get the emphasis for the first quote.

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              August 30, 2011 11:18 AM

              That's just Notch taking an easy potshot at Origin to try to maintain some cred while he gives steam the finger. If there's one thing Steam devotees hate more than not having a game on steam, it's other digital distribution services, so anyone reading his post goes "Yeah, fuck origin!!!111!!1! ur cool notch!" and forgets his game isn't on steam.

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              August 30, 2011 8:51 PM

              I didn't mean to imply that EA was bitching, but that gamers were/are bitching about the whole Origin / Steam debacle. For all I know Notch wasn't even referring to EA in that quote, I just wanted to point out that Notch doesn't hate Steam, which is what I took from your post, which could have also been misread.

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 8:24 AM

      "Being on Steam limits a lot of what we're allowed to do with the game, and how we’re allowed to talk to monetize our users." FTFY.

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 8:25 AM

      Oh well, I'm not buying Minecraft till it hits Steam. Terraria is fun enough. I'm sure Notch doesn't miss my purchase.

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 9:07 AM

        [deleted]

        • reply
          August 30, 2011 9:12 AM

          The payment options suck. I won't pay with paypal. Never. They fucked me over with ebay once so I've vowed never to use them.

          • reply
            August 30, 2011 10:46 AM

            Was that a loooooooong time ago? Buyers basically just have to snap their fingers and the seller gets punched in the face these days

            • reply
              August 30, 2011 11:09 AM

              Probably like six years ago. I got burned selling an Xbox 360.

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                August 30, 2011 11:34 AM

                It's a lot safer these days - From a sellers perspective, we have to prove we've posted something, with receipts, etc, which is all but impossible for a business seller who just scans everything through a franking machine.

                These days, if a buyer is out just to screw us over, he can do, with ease. paypal and ebay side with the buyer every time unless the seller can provide material evidence to counter the claim, it's good, really; it's made buying on Ebay with paypal the safest method.

                • reply
                  August 30, 2011 11:47 AM

                  Yeah, I'm sure Paypal is safer for buyers, but after that experience, I vowed not to use them again, so it's "a principle of the thing" kinda situations now. :)

        • reply
          August 30, 2011 5:05 PM

          it maybe "dumb" to some people but I feel the same way. It's just easier to use steam,Everything is all in the same place. It's just what some folks prefer.

          • reply
            August 30, 2011 5:14 PM

            Minecraft has almost literally the same experience as Steam though. you download the client and it grabs all the game files for you. you have one login that you can use from any computer and you have unlimited activations/downloads/whatever. and you can then just add a shortcut to it to Steam and you're done. once in a while you will have to download a new executable but that's about it.

          • reply
            August 30, 2011 5:42 PM

            [deleted]

            • reply
              August 30, 2011 7:20 PM

              I've added my Impulse, Gamersgate, GOG, and Origin games into steam as well.

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 10:53 AM

        "Minecraft - Now without pigvomit."

        • reply
          August 30, 2011 11:07 AM

          As I said, my choice is unimportant to him. He won't miss my money, which is obvious since he's declining to cater to Steam purchasers. I've played it without multiplayer, and it's cool and I'd love to buy from him. Too bad. :(

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 8:30 AM

      So, it's Valve's fault after all.

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 8:40 AM

      I've never played Minecraft, but I was under the impression it was something you ran as a server. If that's right, what would be the benefit of buying it through Steam? Would Valve host servers?

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        August 30, 2011 8:41 AM

        Only if you want to play multiplayer, but most machines can handle running it as a server and playing it at the same time, well most gaming machines anyways.

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 8:42 AM

        Well, the game is a beta. Who knows whether he plans to monetize the game and subsequent DLC in the full retail version.

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 8:50 AM

      CAPE MARKET CONFIRMED. gg notch too many assets

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 8:54 AM

      I'm looking forward to the day people waste real money on a Minecraft block auction house.

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 10:04 AM

      Oviously he's been bought out by EA. Minecraft will be released first on Origin..

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 10:14 AM

      Thinking about this a little, I'm not intrinsically opposed to in-game storefronts. I'd just want them to be able to bill me through Steam and also any purchased content should have the same availability as my Steam games.

      Basically, I think I'm looking for games to just use Steamworks.

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 11:53 AM

        That's why Steam came out with a wallet thing. So games can bill you through steam.

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 7:01 PM

        A game with all the awesome Steamworks features without requiring the Steam client and store? That'd be fantastic. Give me the option to engage with a client/store system. Don't force it on me.

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 3:10 PM

      I said I'd give it 6 months until Valve stop being stupid cunts over DLC about a month ago. I'll say it again, cept now its 5 months.

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 5:02 PM

        Amen.

        valve needs to go fuck themselves.

        Same with GameStop.

        A distributor should not refuse to sell a game because the game doesn't implement said distributor's technology. "Use our tech or we wont sell your game". "Give us a cut of your DLC or we won't sell your game"

        FU Valve.

        • reply
          August 30, 2011 5:03 PM

          Just goes to show what people's true intentions are once they get enough market share and start flexing their muscles. Then their true colors come out.

          • reply
            August 30, 2011 5:12 PM

            one might suggest that if one were to put one's game up on Steam then one's game would be exposed to millions of potential customers with very little effort on one's part. millions of customers that one could not possibly have reached without a massive marketing budget, all provided for whatever fee one might negotiate with Valve (generally 30% of sales). and now one might think it's not much of a stretch to realize that Valve is responsible for those sales in part due to either a) exposure purely from being on steam or b) Valve creating a digital distribution delivery system that is preferable to many customers over others which causes them to chose buying things on Steam rather than somewhere else. so now if one turns around and sells things from within their game which a customer only has because it's on Steam then one might see why Valve might possibly desire a cut of those sales.

            really though, if one uses a distribution platform one is beholden to their rules. that goes not just for Steam but for other digital distributors and retail shops like Game Stop, Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon.

            if one were to put some thought into it, anyway

        • reply
          August 30, 2011 6:46 PM

          Um, when has GameStop (or any platform other than Steam really) dictated technology used in a game?

          • reply
            August 30, 2011 7:19 PM

            Recently with DXHR since it had a key for OnLive copy where GS is making their own version.

            GS will still sell the game just they want it without the code.

            • reply
              August 31, 2011 7:17 AM

              The coupon thing wasn't about tech used in the game, it was about a disagreement around disclosing advertising materials in the game box.

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            August 31, 2011 11:02 AM

            Any retailer who refuses to sell a game if it gets an AO rating because of the content in the game. E.G. too violent, or sexual content.

        • reply
          August 30, 2011 9:37 PM

          [deleted]

      • reply
        August 30, 2011 5:04 PM

        And then what?

    • reply
      August 30, 2011 9:32 PM

      I'm all for Origins and other Steam alternatives.

    • reply
      September 2, 2011 10:03 PM

      I am a fan of Steam and I love their software/API and robust massive player base, but!..... I am becoming more aware/concern of their policy lately, you just have to see it from a developers/publisher perspective, and in some way does affect the more veteran/hardcore player, casual players won't notice or cared at all though.

      For example:

      Steam EULA: "You can't sell your Steam account, nor games, nor in-game content for real money (obviously, they need to keep some control) but it's suppose to be yours! (so you basically are paying Steam for a Netflix kind of subscription, you DO NOT OWN GAMES on steam on it's entirety)"

      Steam won't let any kind of collective trading money system on games (not even on their own games), so these concerns and limitations myb have some good excuse or pretext for them to be in place, but it makes Valve vulnerable to other future digital distributors that would take advantage of those monetary systems in-games and ABOLISH this practice that Steam is fallowing.

      It's all bad for Steam wen you look at it from a DEVELOPERS/PUBLISHERS perspective!.

    • reply
      September 5, 2011 3:47 PM

      The REAL reason Minecraft isn't on Steam is because they don't need Steam. The only reason they would go to Steam is to grow there userbase but give the niche qualities of Minecraft, the Steam userbase is already aware of Minecraft and may have already purchased it.

      The reasoning from Mojang is ridiculous. Mass Effect is on Steam but the DLC is primarily available on Bioware.com. Not on Steam and there is like 1 piece of DLC available on Origin which is insane. Is also unavailable on GFWL Marketplace.

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