Notch Discusses Why Minecraft Isn't On Steam

As digital distribution becomes increasingly ubiquitous, more and more developers and publishers are starting to ask themselves if going on Steam, with its strict restrictions on DLC, is really worth it. EA has cited this as the reason for pulling Battlefield 3 from Steam, and now Markus 'Notch' Persson has detailed precisely why you can't buy Minecraft on Steam.

"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," claimed Markus Persson, via his blog. "We (probably?) wouldn’t be able to, say, sell capes or have a map market place on 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.

"We are talking to Valve about this, but I definitely understand their reasons for wanting to control their platform. There’s a certain inherent incompatibility between what we want to do and what they want to do."

Notch was, however, keen to state that he has no problem with Steam as a service.

"So there’s no big argument," he wrote, "we just don’t want to limit what we can do with Minecraft. Also, Steam is awesome. Much more awesome than certain other digital distribution platforms that we would NOT want to release Minecraft on."

Thanks VG247.


    It's funny, I actually assumed Minecraft was on Steam when I finally got around to buying it last month. Was really confused when I couldn't find it.

      Same! for months my dumb ass thought it just wasn't available to Australia yet :/

    So it's basically the same issue EA has in that they want to sell DLC themselves.

    And personally im happy with steam for doing this.

    The DA DLC purchasing method is freaking terrible.

    Too bad, I'd probably buy it if it WAS on steam.

      That implies you do not have minecraft... somehow.

    Its an problematic space we're getting into at the moment. Steam might be a digital distributor, but it seems like their model is still based on selling finished products, packaged up tidily. Minecraft is far from a finished product, so it would complicate being available on Steam. Minecraft is a pretty weird product altogether, but I can imagine that MMOs might have similar issues updating content and things.

    One step at a time I guess...

      The issue isn't really updating i think.

      it's thing's like DLC.

      Which in the real world probably require planning and the like to mobilize for sale on steam(since steam wants to sell all DLC for any games on it's service now)

      So if notch Goes Secret Friday update. Shiny cape 40cents. It probably takes a week or 2 just to get that set up on steam

    I don't get people's stance on this. Valve is restricting the services devs & pubs want to offer their players, and because of this people are siding with Valve.

    ....uuuuuh you're believing the hype kids

      It just goes to show how far earning the trust of people first gets you. EA has done everything it can to make sure we don't trust it. Valve has done a pretty good job. And I don't expect there to be any angst about Notch doing this as he's pretty popular.

      I trust Valve, who don't even charge for dlc (except hats), and I don't trust EA, who came up with project $10.

      Anyway, if you read what Notch is saying, he says Valve is being completely reasonable: it's just not compatible with the pre-existing hosting setup he has, and he would have to split up the fan base.

        Do you even know what project $10 is? This is a great thing they have done. Free DLC if you bought the game brand new. $10 if you want to get it but you have a second hand game. Also stops pirates most pirates from getting it.

          It doesnt do anything to pirates.

          It does affect legitimate consumers.

          It is a dirty workaround for the right of first sale doctrine.

          Go do some research.

            First sale doctrine?

            By that, do you mean: it's a way for the publisher to make sure the money the consumer pays for the video game, goes towards the people who actually made the game? And not some retailer who does nothing more than sell it to you at a cheaper price?

            Because really, that's what is happening. The publisher is making sure they get their money for releasing the video game, which is the same money they use to pay the people who MADE the game.

            By legitimate consumers, you're talking about people who want a product as cheap as possible. Consumers who obviously don't care about the people trying to earn their livelihoods from the sales of these products.

            tbh if you don't care enough about them, why the hell should they care about you, cheap-ass.

            It's easy to look at companies as big towering monsters wanting money-money-money. But don't forget that inside each company are employees, contractors and sub-contractors who are working for that money so they can live.

            If EA have to do this to make sure they get their money over a retail giant, then fine. And if you still don't get it, give up and ask mum if dinner is ready yet.

              Absolutely everything you said just now
              Project $10 is a wonderful idea.

                Project $10 is actually one of the smartest and best creations of the gaming industry. It keeps the industry thriving and rewards the consumer for doing so, and a lot of the time, it's a saving for the consumer in the long run. It puts them in a position to profit more while we gain more. It's a win win situation, over all.

      I don't think Valve are restricting publishers. They just want a peice of the DLC pie.

      Personally, I love how valve offers DLC. It's seperate to the main product, you can see what its about, and what it'll add to the game. You can then see the price of the DLC seperate to the price of the game.

      As I said, I like it, and I can always wait for a sale when the price of the DLC drops to something too good to pass up on.

        Yeah, damn those second-hand booksellers, car dealers and op-shop owners! How about those damn charities, selling second hand goods! They claim to be helping people, when really they're stealing food from the mouths of developers and their families! Second-hand sales are destroying society!

        I admit, that is quite a bit sensationalised, but so are some of the points in your article. The concept of second-hand sales has been around for a very, very long time, and I'd argue has been of benefit to the industry. On a small scale, some of my favourite authors were discovered digging through a second-hand bookstore, and many people wouldn't have been able to afford a car were there not a trade in second-hand vehicles.

        I wouldn't say that project $10 is "Evil", companies have every right to maximise their profits. However, nor is second-hand games sales.

          ...and I replied to the wrong post. Alas.

          But Chris, you're talking about completely different products.

          The physical signs of a 2nd-hand video game, especially a new one, barely even exist. The only reason you know it's 2nd-hand is because of the "pre-owned" sticker on it.

          Look at the other products you mentioned with the same question. Cars, homewares and especially books, all carry a different stigma when 2nd-hand. And a lot of that is due to the consumer's understanding of the hands-on nature the previous owner has applied to the product.

          Again, this doesn't exist as much with a video game because the "used" stigma barely applies.

          Also but to a lesser degree, does the book industry have to deal with their retailers selling 2nd-hand versions of their books right next to the new stock? Does Myer have as-new Maxwell & Williams 2nd-hand stock sitting next to the new stuff at a cheaper price?

          Apples and oranges.

            That's a hard argument to apply to any product, including, well, anything.

            Have you seen the price of some mint NES games on eBay? You're not jumping to the defence of the developer there, are you?

            Following your logic, you should be boycotting all secondhand sales to ensure that the profits stay with the original creator of the product.

            To quote you:
            "Look at the other products you mentioned with the same question. Cars, homewares and especially books, all carry a different stigma when 2nd-hand."

            Certain video games have a depreciative value far above any vehicle you will ever purchase (and we're talking in terms of percentage here, like all profit calculations), and then you look at things like antiques

            You are right, all those products suffer a certain stigma - If people want it, they will PAY for it. If they don't, they won't. The same applies to video games. Try and trade in some run of the mill release day games at EB - They will laugh at you. The same applies if you try and sell your mass-manufactured furniture; People will laugh their arse off at you.

            What about valuable books? Obviously you've never heard of them!

    Considering MineCraft is already available online and has been selling very well from its current location, I can understand why it wouldn't need to be on Steam.
    It also doesn't require the Steam shell to be active to run.
    I do have an issue with EA for withdrawing support for its games on the Steam service to boost use of its own service if only for the fact it is withdrawing support from its existing customers.
    The decision has been made to serve their own inclinations and sensibilities, not for the consumer. This I have an issue with.

      I've used the Origin client. It's fairly barebones, and the prices are pathetic.
      I doubt I'll use it beyond playing Battlefield 3.

      I'm glad there is Steam Cloud, makes keeping game progress in sync effortless.

      Valve, at least, show that they care for the customer. I wonder when they'll bring in the new download management features though.

    Wait a second... games like Dragon Age have DLC outside of Steam (you buy it through the Bioware site using EA points). How is this any different?

      The new policy was supposedly added after DLC was released for Dragon Age. Valve only removed Crysis 2 when the DLC was released and the same with DA2.
      If DA1 got new DLC and was only available via the bioware website then it too will be removed from Steam.

        This is basically on the money.

        If you release new DLC for a game and refuse to put in on Steam as well. You get the boot.

        no matter how old the game

        And as i have said before i agree with the policy.

        Sometimes it can be an absolute pain to get DLC to work with the steam version because it uses a foreign store. With again as i have said before DA being the biggest offender. And from the looks of it they still havent ported it properly to Origin.

        Since you still have to go and buy Bioware points.

          Steam didn't make it easy that's why. And now look what they are doing.

            In what way didnt steam make it easy.... other publishers have no problem. THQ loves steam an does significant amounts of DLC through steam with no problems.

            Show some reasoning or evidence instead of pissing in the wind.

              It's a question of ownership, not quality. I'm sure Steam gets a certain percentage in the same way Apple gets 30% from their appstore sales.

              It's in the distributor's (Apple/Valve) interest to keep in-app/in-game purchases within their own ecosystem.

      As far as I can tell, Mr Waffle, this is the reason that Dragon Age 2 was withdrawn from Steam and BF3 won't be there either. Valve's agreement for selling games and taking a cut of sales of the game and DLC didn't match up with Bioware/EA's policy of selling it on their own site. Valve would get their cut of the game sales but then get nothing from the DLC, which often ends up being more in total than the cost of the original game release.

      It remains to be seen what will happen with ME3 since I don't see either side backing down any time soon.

      I'm not against another digital distributor, but Steam has come a long way since it started and I don't see platforms like Origin offering anything particularly new either.

        Cheers for the replies everyone, I didn't even realise DA2 wasn't on Steam anymore (I bought a boxed copy for the bonus stuff). Now I'm informed!

      For some reason that EA are yet to reveal. They handle or have started handling their DLC in a way that violates Valve's terms and conditions for DLC.

    Basically what it comes down to (and what Notch pretty much said) is that Steam just doesn't have a model that supports how Notch wants to release Minecraft.

    Frankly, there is no big rift here or any sort of dodgy dealing like there is with the shitty EA "Points based" DLC system. It's just that Steam can't cater to Notch. Not a big deal.

    Frankly I can see Valve's point on this - regardless of the fact that they don't actually develop the content, their customer base has certain expectations about the products that they buy and Valve has to meet those expectations.

    When those expectations and the way the developers want to manage their content don't match up, then they can't do business.

    There is no way Gabe Newell doesn't want to sell Minecraft on Steam. He just wants to have a policy in place that protects Steam's good name and keeps his customers happy. Even if it means they have to pass on some stuff they'd like to sell.

    I think I have to support Valve in this. They've done an excellent job of building consumer trust with Steam and they have managed to do it and still turn a profit.

    Of course, Valve is a private company and still run by human beings instead of the stock market - so that probably has a lot to do with it as well.

      Another potential issue is how minecraft mods work - you actually edit the source. Steam locks the game down so much you can't do this.

      I can't see minecraft being on steam for the same reason I don't see us flying on gas powered whale blimps any time soon - two completely different environments(and if you haven't read Scott Westerfield's "Leviathan", you're missing out).

    I personally think Minecraft SHOULDN'T be on steam. Why? Because it's not finished.

    I don't get why people are prepared to pay $20 for an unfinished game. You don't see ANY other game charge you to play in beta. Sure, it worked, but I personally felt a bit ripped off when I bought such an unpolished and unfinished game.

    Terraria is an example of how you CAN release an awesome game, and then patch it later through Steam.

      I purchased Minecraft in Alpha, and that was because Notch basically said that would pay for your copy of the final too.

      (That's what it used to say, if it's changed I stand corrected.)

      No way would I purchase an alpha, or beta, without some promise of access to the final.

      I got it for less than $20 when it was alpha. I look at the worth of a game as been the amount of fun it is worth. Some people measure it in entertainment hours. Calculated from movie prices. Approx $10/hr

      In entertainment hours Minecraft is worth hundreds of dollars to me.

    "It's not on Steam because we wouldn't be able to nickel-and-dime you".

    So... there is going to be a Minecraft Marketplace at some point?

    So the idea is that Steam are restricting DLC from being purchased in game to prevent companies from keeping Valve's piece of the pie for themselves? TF2 sells items in game no? Sure I understand that it's Valve's little baby and they can tout 'do as we say not as we do' as much as they like, but surely there needs to be some sort of compromise.

    They see the whole thing heading in this direction so they stamp it out. The side effect being that companies refuse to put their software on Steam because they don't want their options nerfed. So Steam has less products for sale in the long run, this is good how?

    Sounds like a bit of good ol' fashioned cut off your nose to spite your face.

      The TF2 Mann-co store is running through Steam systems. It's not just "buying DLC inside the game" that is the problem, more the fact you buy the DLC not from Steam (ie. in game store run by EA).

    Technically speaking, Minecrft also hasn't actually released. Yes I know, everybody (including me)is playing it anyway. But we're playing the Beta copy right now. ;)

    Also as far as a "Steam only selling finished games" is concerned, have you seen how often TF2 patches? Near as I can tell the company is looking into adding other services as a distributor, take the TF2 hat experiment for example.

    Personally I prefer all my games on Steam. It's how I keep in contact with my friends and see whats going on with them. In that sense I hope Mojang and Steam can come to some sort of amicable arrangement.

    What I don't want though, is umpteetn distributors launching with online tracking DRM's clogging up my PC just because I turned it on.

    I would buy it if it was on steam and for cheaper. Euro dollar is too high, Minecraft is not worth $20 AUD.

    I thought Minecraft was a Facebook game, and in beta.

    I play Minecraft through Steam... "Add Non-Steam Game..." is a fun and good button.

    I just added it to my Steam list and it lets me use the Alt+Shift thing anyway. I can talk to people using the normal chat and it also tells my mates when i get into Minecraft.


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