Since Minecraft has not only officially released, but offically released onto a console platform, I thought I would talk about it. Markus “Notch” Perrson announced, through twitter and conventions and such, that he did not want to add a tutorial or recipe book to the game, stating that “it’s part of the fun to figure it out for yourself”. He seems to be very proud that his creation is not on Steam, VALVe’s digital distribution giant, because he is an indie developer who made it big and doesn’t like big companies for a plethora of reasons including consumers rights and DRM. So it is unfortunate that my comrade in arms has sold out to Microsoft.
Notch not only put Minecraft for sale up on Xbox Live, his company made some changes to the game that directly contradicts his previous statements. We could call this dumbing it down for the “console tards”. We could call this a business tactic. I frankly do not know what it is. But in the Xbox version of Minecraft (which is about a 1.8 equivalent) if you look at a block for too long, a dialogue box will appear informing the player of what the block is, what it’s used for, and what you can craft with it. Inventory has been changed so when you open a crafting table, there is no three by three grid. There is a list of items you can craft, their recipe, and if you have enough materials. Instead of releasing the latest version which has sprint, and overall more features, they released a very vanilla version of the game lacking even the food bar, and designing the cursor to look like a ridiculous ninja shurikin.
But oh no! That means the game is going to stay that way forever right? Wrong. Microsoft has very surprisingly and grudgingly agreed to support free updates to the title. Considering they force publishers to put a price on DLC even if the devs wanted to give it out for free, not to mention the fourty thousand dollar fee to upload a patch, this is a pleasant and unsettling turn of events. So Notch has sold out, Microsoft got into it’s mothers medicine cabinet and I’m feeling like Markus struck a blow for indie developers while converting to satanism and leaving me utterly confused.
What we can take away from this is that more developers need to be more in charge of the publishers and publishers need to be more aggresive in marketing. The whole system needs tweaking and tuning because the gaming industry is not in a good place right now. We need to fix the $60 sales model, rework how developers and their artistic creations are treated and protected, and start moving away from realism in gaming. Because the genres are getting stagnant and boring. I bought Rayman 3 on PSN the other day, having not played any Rayman games ever in my life and was amazed.
The world was odd yet interesting, there was a man with floating hands, and some wonderfully creative creature named a “Globox” or something. The tutorial fly even broke the fourth wall! I had fun, and yet I was confused and in wonder “What is that? Is that a just a light? OOO shiny power-up things that I can collect until I find one hundred of them for a free life or something. I have different abilities and costumes and this world confuses me but that’s okay because the platforming is entertaining fun!”
In closing, developers need publishers to take more chances on unique I.P.s, and more artistic freedom. Damn sales figures and controversy.
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