Mojang is planning to add a subscription service for its hit game Minecraft, geared towards making it safer for kids to play online.
Minecraft has gone from an underground indie success story to a generational icon; a 21st century take on Lego.
With over ten million copies sold on PC and nearly as many again on other platforms, Minecraft attracts a lot of children.
Since the game is immensely popular as a shared multiplayer worlds, there are an awful lot of kids running around unmonitored servers.
"Our custumers are parents who are tired of trying to act as server administrators on behalf of their kids," Mojang CEO Carl Manneh told Swedish site it24 (translated by Games Industry International).
"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."
The service also gives Mojang yet another source of income.
"Then really Minecraft would become a huge MMO, a really vast universe consisting of very many small worlds," said Manneh.
"That’s kind of a dream we’ve had for a while."
Manneh says another plus is that kids inviting their friends – presumably on Facebook – means quite a bit of viral advertising.
No price has been set for the service but Mojang expects to charge from $10-15 a month. Since this is a service geared towards kids, prepaid cards will be available for purchase.
"All we know is that there has been a great demand for this service," said Manneh.
"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."
If the service takes off, it could wind up being even more lucrative than Minecraft itself.
"And yes, if we look ahead," said Manneh, "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."