Minecraft Marketplace Lessons | GamesIndustry.biz

Minecraft Marketplace Lessons |  GamesIndustry.biz

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Minecraft Marketplace, the official avenue for monetizing user-generated content in the hit game.

In the years since its launch, Marketplace has seen more than 1.7 billion pieces of content downloaded and more than $500 million in revenue generated from the creator community.

There are currently 295 partners and associated organizations, 43 of which have earned more than $1 million in payments from Microsoft and Mojang.

“Our goal with Marketplace was to empower our already very passionate community of creators to create new experiences in Minecraft,” says Minecraft Creator Marketplace head Aaron Buckley. GamesIndustry.biz. “As a principle, we decided we needed to enable them to monetize their creations and support themselves and their families by serving Minecraft players, and we did that by putting creators at the center of everything we do.”


aaron buckley

Buckley returns to that phrase of “putting creators at the center” repeatedly throughout our conversation. As an example of what that means, he points to the Marketplace payment structure. After the platform owner takes the cut from it (for example, Apple takes its 30% of the revenue from the App Store version of the game), Buckley says the creators get more than half of what’s left. .

It doesn’t specifically name other monetized user-generated content offerings, but it’s not hard to see how startlingly different Marketplace is from a user-generated content-driven business like Roblox, which has been criticized for exploiting its creators, which it often does. They are children.

“Helping to keep children safe online is a top priority for Microsoft and Minecraft,” says Buckley. “Minecraft is an E game for everyone. Particularly given that we’re charging for so many of these experiences, going the extra mile to make sure we’re delivering safe and appropriate content is something we feel is worth the cost. To protect players , protect (frankly) Minecraft and protect our community of creators.”

To do that, the Minecraft Marketplace is a much more closed system than user-generated content platforms like YouTube, Twitch, or Roblox.

Microsoft examines every piece of content added to the Minecraft Marketplace

Microsoft examines every piece of content added to the Minecraft Marketplace

“We take a very hands-on approach with the Minecraft Marketplace,” says Buckley. “We have carefully curated content and a highly vetted community of creators that represents some of the best Minecraft creators have to offer.

“We engage in high levels of vetting of our partners before signing them on, and this results in obviously new, high-quality player experiences, but also a very high-integrity community of creators. We also review all content that enters the market before. launches, resulting in high levels of trust and confidence for players.

Buckley says there’s a team of seven full-time employees who make sure Microsoft is comfortable with every piece of content it puts on the Marketplace, from making sure it works in an E-rated game for everyone to making sure it doesn’t have keyloggers or embedded viruses. And if something were to happen, there are reasons to think that the team would be responsible.

“We target our teams at 0 PR issues, and that’s what we consider to be the minimum bar for success”

aaron buckley

“On the Microsoft side, we use a goal-setting process that we call OKR, and we target our teams at 0 PR issues, and that’s what we consider to be the minimum bar for success,” says Buckley. “So far we’ve been very lucky not to encounter any major issues.”

Since much of the Minecraft audience is made up of children, the importance of avoiding those issues increases significantly.

“If you’re going to be facing some kind of public relations scandal, something where children’s safety is at risk is probably the most threatening event that could happen,” says Buckley. “And research is what has allowed us to avoid those risks.”

While that hands-on approach may not scale to the amount of content produced by more open platforms, Buckley says it still manages to produce more quality content than would be reasonable for a company that produces in-house.

“All of this has led to a long-term sustainable future for our creators and for Minecraft,” says Buckley.

South Dakota

Sean Davidson

He points to partner organizations as proof of this. While some Marketplace partners are independent developers, there are also larger operations dedicated to the game, some with their own human resources departments.

Gamemode One is one of the largest partner organizations on the Marketplace with 26 employees, mostly full time. Gamemode One managing director Sean Davidson also uses the word “sustainable,” praising the support the team has received from Microsoft and Mojang, from open lines of communication when they run into issues to keeping the team’s needs in mind when work on new technologies and features. in the market.

“They’ve empowered us in so many ways, giving us new opportunities that most developers our size, regardless of working in an in-game market, wouldn’t be able to have,” says Davidson.

For example, Gamemode One has repeatedly worked with major publishers and IPs like Sonic the Hedgehog, How to Train Your Dragon, and Pac-Man.

Minecraft Marketplace allows partner creators to work with well-known brands

Minecraft Marketplace allows partner creators to work with well-known brands

At the same time, Gamemode One has focused exclusively on the development of the Minecraft Marketplace, which speaks to the company’s comfort in building its entire business to rely on a single relationship.

“One of the ways we’ve been able to successfully address that is in that direct communication with Mojang and Microsoft,” says Davidson. “If there’s anything we need to clear up in terms of trust, we have that communication and the ability to hold that bridge feeling really strong and stable.

“If we didn’t have those things, I don’t think we would have been comfortable growing to the size that we are. We scale a lot to fit our comfort within the Market. We didn’t come here as a team of 26; it’s a team that, for all intents and purposes, , was designed specifically for Marketplace.”

As we’ve seen with Roblox, there are lingering questions about the companies that operate within user-generated content ecosystems and what responsibility the larger ecosystem has for how people are treated in those sub-businesses. Buckley points to the investigation process again, saying that Microsoft holds its Marketplace partners to “high ethical standards” and a Partner Code of Conduct that addresses business practices, ethics, human rights, and fair labor practices.

As for what other developers working on experiences based on user-generated content (or metaverses) could get from the Minecraft Marketplace, Buckley returns to his key talking points.

“The main lesson we found is to put the creator and the player at the center of what you do,” says Buckley. “Allow the creators to serve the player base at a very high level and make sure they’re doing it in a way that’s safe for players, and the goodness will flow from there.”

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