Released in 2009, Minecraft has become the best-selling game of all time with a 140 million active users as of 2021. Played by an array of age groups, the title has become a household name in the United States and across the world.
Created by Swedish Markus “Notch” Persson and developed by his game studio Mojang, Microsoft acquired Mojang in 2014 for $2.5 billion.
Enjoyed for its free and open play style, Minecraft’s success is likely due to its “hands-off” nature where the player is free to make their own path and play with others.
When playing the multiplayer gamemode, players can log onto private servers — each governed by their own rules including chat moderation.
Following Microsoft’s acquisition, “Minecraft Realms” were introduced which provided an alternative multiplayer experience to the popular game. These “Realms” constitute Microsoft-hosted private servers whereby a player can pay a monthly subscription to host their own ‘world’ and invite friends.
However following the imposition of new moderation rules in 2020, all Microsoft hosted services, most notably Realms, are subject to moderation from Microsoft whereby in-game chats and other forms of communication are surveilled.
Any actions deemed a violation of the new moderation policy can now result in temporary or permanent suspension from online services and can possibly result in a permanent ban from one’s Minecraft account altogether.
Additionally, following Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang, all Minecraft players who formally maintained Minecraft accounts through Mojang have been forced to migrate to Microsoft accounts. Per the account migration, all Minecraft players are now subject to Microsoft’s Community Guidelines.
The recent account migration has extended Microsoft’s Community Guidelines to all online play, including private servers.
Going beyond censorship of online game chats, Microsoft has added a reporting feature to online play which allows players to report others’ game chat messages. Providing a vague list of violations, Microsoft has essentially opened the doors for any player to be suspended and or banned from online play.
Once valued for its free and open atmosphere and the ability to make your own rules when playing privately, Minecraft has become another example of a piece of popular culture that has been corrupted by the “safe space” mentality.
Ultimately contrary to the core essence of what has been toted as the “greatest video game of all time,” Microsoft could end up pushing out many of the long time followers and players of Minecraft as the corporation censors and permits the “canceling” of its players.
As the mantra goes, “go woke and go broke.”
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