Steam has been a very viable and lucrative platform for indie developers, which is why it’s so odd that Minecraft, arguably the biggest indie title of all time, isn’t available on Steam. Today however, Mojang’s Notch shed some light onto the reason why Minecraft isn’t available on Steam, a reason which mirrors that of a certain big-name publisher.
The reason why Minecraft hasn’t appeared on Steam yet is because of Steam’s own regulations. According to Notch, they would not be able to have a marketplace in Minecraft as that would conflict with Valve’s business model. It appears that in order for Minecraft to be made available on Steam, all in-game content would have to be sold through Steam as oppossed to in-game. As Notch says, this limits how they can interact with the consumer and that if Minecraft were to appear on Steam it would effectively split the community.
Notch was clear to state his Steam fandom, being a big fan himself who uses the service regularly and says that he would prefer to release Minecraft on Steam instead of other digital distribution services. This should come as good news to the hopeful waiting on a Minecraft-Steam release as Notch says they are still in talks with Valve.
“Being on Steam limits a lot of what we’re allowed to do with the game, and how we’re allowed to talk to our users. We (probably?) wouldn’t be able to, say, sell capes or have a map market place on minecraft.net that works with steam customers in a way that keeps Valve happy. It would effectively split the Minecraft community into two parts, where only some of the players can access all of the weird content we want to add to the game.”
Notch’s statement also reflects the mindset of publisher EA. In recent controversy between EA and Valve, EA stated that the reason many of their games will not be releasing on Steam in the future is because Steam limits how much interaction the publisher can have with the consumers. Whenever downloadable content is sold through Steam, Valve takes a cut of the profits. This of course doesn’t bode well for publishers who want to make as much money as possible and prompted EA to start their own digital distribution service, Origin.
On the flip side,Valve explained that they need to find a way to convince EA to put their games back on Steam as at this rate, they’re going to lose other publishers and devs for similar reasons down the road. Hopefully with all of the popularity that Minecraft has garnered, Valve and Mojang will be able to come to an agreement that will allow for a Minecraft release in the near future. After all, EA and Mojang probably do miss the over 30 million potential customers that Steam offers.
Have you been holding out on purchasing Minecraft until it gets a Steam release?