Minecraft's Indie developer Markus "Notch" Persson, Founder of Mojang AB, unfortunately won't be at E3 this week to talk about the blowout performance of the Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition. Last month, within the first 24 hours of its release, the game sold more than 400,000 copies and hit profitability, says GameSpot. Nonetheless, I still think a subscription-based Minecraft makes sense. Under Minecraft's current pricing plan, once you've bought it - that's it. This pricing approach was novel when the game was first released as an alpha in May 2009 at half price, or $10. A single/multi-player game for $10 is quite appealing and may have helped ramp up sales in the first place. But for me, there's a question mark as to the life of the game. And Notch himself has said that when he thinks the game has run its course, he'll open source it. In the meantime, that hasn't stopped Mojang from providing updates every month or two.
Servers to Run, No Recurring Revenue
Without recurring revenues to cover the costs of running the game's multiplayer's servers, it means Minecraft will have to continually attract new players to remain sustainable. Requiring players to signup for a subscription would generate a source of re-occurring revenue. If Minecraft ultimately did close down, it's already inspired a large list of clones, says reddit. Many of the clones are open source, so someone would undoubtedly take it over. If it were up to me at Mojang, I'd be looking for suggestions from the players for new features that would induce them to buy downloadable content, or pay for extra game items to fund the games continuation. Make no mistake about it, Notch has defined a new game genre that players love. Hopefully, Notch will give the same consideration to Minecraft that he's giving to his up and coming Ox10c. He says on the Ox10c home page he's toying with the concept of a monthly subscription fee for the multi-player game. Says Notch:
The cost of the game is still undecided, but it's likely there will be a monthly fee for joining the Multiverse as we are going to emulate all computers and physics even when players aren't logged in. Single player won't have any recurring fees.
If Star Trek's chief engineer Scotty were advising Notch, he's likely to say: "You cannae fool the laws of economics."