Mojang is working on a new service called Minecraft Realms, which it hopes will give those players interested in subscribing their own special little corner of the Minecraft universe. According to information given to GamesIndustry International by Swedish author and journalist Thomas Arnroth (who works for it24), Minecraft Realms is Mojang's way of answering the call from parents about a simple and secure way to allow their children to play online. Mojang CEO Carl Manneh hopes Realms will satisfy the needs of its non-core audience while tapping into a new market that could prove highly lucrative in the future.
"We have never tried to sell anything except the game and a little merchandise. It'll be very interesting to see if the community will be prepared to pay for this service," Manneh said.
"Our costumers [for Realms] are parents who are tired of trying to act as server administrators on behalf of their kids," said Manneh. "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."
Subscribers will be given their own self-contained world, with full control over who has access and their friends list. Only one person per world would need a Realms account, and anyone invited to join would need to own a copy of Minecraft and an internet connection. Details on just how much a subscription to this service will cost has not been decided by Mojang but the company indicated that it will likely be between $10 and $15 a month. It also plans to sell special pre-paid cards for those with no access to credit 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," he said. "All we know is that there has been a great demand for this service. We have never tried to sell anything to our gamers except the game itself and a little merchandise, so it'll be very interesting to see if the community will be prepared to pay for a service like this."
"But since we have about 10 million paying PC gamers and, soon, as many mobile gamers, there's definitely potential. And yes, 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."
If Realms proves to be successful, Mojang will consider creating portals between the different user worlds. The PC version of Minecraft Realms is currently in private alpha, with a beta launch planned for May if everything goes well. A special Realms version for Minecraft Pocket Edition is also in development. On PC, Realms will be hosted by Multiplay, according to GII. On mobile, it will be hosted by Amazon.
Source: GamesIndustry International