Microsoft has announced a new portal, Minecraft Marketplace, that'll allow fans of the blocky builder to purchase add-ons developed for the game by third-party creators. The Minecraft Marketplace will be tied to your Xbox Live account and let you use your purchases across different platforms and will sell goods using a new currency, Minecraft Coins.
Previously Microsoft has sold additional content developed internally itself, with several third party providers working via their own portal. It seems like, by creating their own currency and portal, Microsoft are trying to muscle in on some of these profits.
The Minecraft Marketplace will be rolled out via a forthcoming Discovery update, and will be available first for Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition and Minecraft: Pocket Edition, with players able to buy maps, texture packs and skins from a starting line-up of nine creators handpicked by Microsoft. In the future, more creators will be added.
There are 40m active players of Minecraft each month, so Microsoft is opening itself up to a large potential revenue stream. They haven't said how much they'll be taking from each purchase, but they've mentioned that various app stores take 30 per cent of each purchase, so it's possible we'll see a figure close to this. For consumers, Microsoft's seal of approval marks content that is safe and virus free.
“Bringing other creators in to sell their goods is good for players, as it enables access to a ton of different kinds of content,” said John Thornton, executive producer of Minecraft Realms, in a press release. “We know that people want to change the look of Minecraft to be what they want. There are also a number of individuals who look at Minecraft as a platform for entrepreneurialism, looking for a way to make a living doing something they love. For players, this is the best way to get content easily in the game, and for creators this ends up being a source of revenue for them, so they can continue to make fantastic creations for all the players.”