Minecraft is to get an official marketplace for the first time, where players can buy items and add-ons to use in the popular block-building game.
Minecraft Marketplace will offer maps, and skin and texture packs from professional “content creators” selected by Microsoft. There will initially be nine creators, with more expected to be added every month.
In another new development, players must use Minecraft Coins to pay for goods in the Marketplace, which can be bought online with real money.
Microsoft believes the move will make it safer and easier for Minecraft players to enhance and expand their worlds, as transactions take place within the game and downloadable content can be screened to ensure it doesn’t contain viruses or malware.
“Bringing other creators in to sell their goods is good for players, as it enables access to a ton of different kinds of content. We know that people want to change the look of Minecraft to be what they want,” said John Thornton, Executive Producer of Minecraft Realms. “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.”
Players will need an Xbox Live Silver or Gold account to make purchases.
The nine creators who will join the Marketplace at its launch will be:
- Blockception – Made a replica map of London that evolves from the middle ages through to the modern day as players progress
- Eneija – Designs pastel skin packs. “I think they will be very popular with segments of our audience,” Thornton said
- Imagiverse – Made a pirate-themed map called “Privateer”, complete with sunken ships and treasure
- Noxcrew – Created a map that allows players to walk around and experience well-known fairytales
- Polymaps – Built Jurassic-themed texture packs, with dinosaurs and Dodos instead of chickens and cavemen instead of villagers
- QwertyuiopThePie – Made a multiplayer map featuring two spaceships, which teams can inhabit before battling each other
- Razzleberry Fox – A talented pixel artist, she has created skin packs featuring everyday heroes such as police officers, firefighters and nurses
- Sphax – Created a pack that makes the Minecraft world look like a comic book
- BlockWorks – Constructed a map entitled Skyfair – a collection of floating islands that feature funfair games.
“We selected nine creators to launch with,” Thornton added. “This is a curated marketplace, it’s not open, but we are going to work with creators to bring new ones in via an online portal, where they can apply to join. We think it’s important from a quality perspective to have a curated marketplace where we are reviewing the items and working with creators to make sure the content is appropriate and exciting for players.”
James Delaney, the founder of BlockWorks, revealed that as well as Skyfair, his team will have a further two maps available to buy at the launch of Marketplace.
“We have three key pieces of content for when Marketplace goes live. The first is an adventure map called Scorching Sands. It’s a Mad Max-type post-apocalyptic world with ruins and remnants of a previous era. You join a clan on a clifftop shanty town and have to search for weapons before slaying monsters. It’s based on a highly popular version of the game called Super Hostile.
“The next one is called Automaton Dreams. It’s a steampunk world, ruled by a giant robot; while the final one is Skyfair, which is a place for people to hang out and play mini-games.”
Thornton also confirmed that the update will offer Minecraft players with a range of new features, including the ability to change how characters move, and the option to export structures to other programs to view and print them in 3D.
Minecraft is one of the popular computer games of all time, with more than 106 million copies sold to date – including four to people in Antarctica. Since the beginning of 2016, more than 53,000 copies have been sold every day, and more than 40 million people play Minecraft every month.