Minecraft is a great game, and it becomes even more awesome when playing online with your friends or other players from around the globe. But maintaining a great server and a thriving community is no easy feat; the moderator has to manage many things. On top of that, there is the added cost of sustaining the server.
Many people put real effort into building a healthy server community; it isn’t easy to attract people to your server, to maintain open in good shape so that everyone has a great time every time they log in. Server moderators are constantly trying to improve the player’s experience by making changes to the server, adding and removing plugins, and, if need be, developing their own plugins to suit their player base. And this doesn’t even cover the cost of running a server!
There are many factors involved in maintaining a server, like the cost of hosting a Minecraft server, private plugin development, professional builders, web development for your site, advertising, etc. Today, we try to understand how you can monetize your server to become self-sustaining and don’t leave a dent in your wallet every month while respecting the EULA policies set up by Mojang.
We won’t tell you about any illegal loopholes or any way to monetize; all the information here can be legally implemented. But first, to understand the monetization policy of Mojang, we need to understand what a EULA is.
Everyone that uses a PC has heard about a EULA at some point; it appears every time you try to install software, and you can’t install the software without complying with the EULA policies of the particular software you’re installing. We mostly glance at the words on our screen and click done. Many try reading its contents but end up skipping, because who wants to read boring stuff! But why is a software making us agree to so many terms, and what is a EULA?
What is a EULA?
EULA or the End User License Agreement specifies the rights and the restrictions that apply to the software. Simply put, EULA is a legally binding agreement between you, the customer, and the company responsible for the software. Every company has different EULA policies, but every company wants one thing from the user, ‘Don’t interfere with the source code.’
Basically, when you buy a piece of software, you don’t actually buy the software; you only buy the license to use the software, which means you can’t do anything with the software’s source code. This is important as, without a EULA, the user can reproduce and sell the software. The internet is home to many illegal activities; many people steal the game and put it for free on various pirate sites!
What is Minecraft’s EULA compliance policy for servers?
Now that we know what a EULA is and what it does, let’s dive into what the team at Mojang has in store for us. Mojang is pretty chill about its monetization policies, by the way. This is the only reason why Minecraft has such a thriving modding and server community. The Mojang team understands what the community wants. It has shaped its policies to benefit both the player and the company.
The only thing the Minecraft EULA explicitly mentions is that you. The player or the server moderator doesn’t monetize the base game’s features or the features, data-packs, and add-ons the team at Mojang releases. That’s it, except for these terms, you can do anything with the game.
These are the 4 points the Minecraft EULA mentions –
– Never distribute copies of the game illegally (reproducing and selling).
– Never monetize features or anything else the Minecraft company has made!
– Make commercial use of anything the Minecraft company has created, or
– Creating a barrier, barring the player from access to features that the game gives. For example – Keeping the diamonds behind a paywall is illegal, according to this document.
Simply put, the folks at Mojang don’t want you to resell their copyrighted code and keep the money. Modding is allowed if the mods are totally original. Still, if you’ve made a modded version of the game that has some parts of the original code running, then it might not pass as a mod. The Minecraft team has total control over which mod is original and which is not.
Why is there a EULA in Minecraft?
The internet has given a big boost to indie game developers and big companies alike; this has caused a massive influx of new players who want to play games. Sometimes these players don’t want to pay for the game and want to use it for free; in times like these, the person tends to pirate the game.
This is an unforgivable act that the person indulges in, as this is stealing. This isn’t any different from stealing an LCD TV from a Mall or a store. But still, people do this. And there are laws in place to punish people who make such pirated copies available.
This is why the Minecraft EULA clearly states that you can’t monetize the code they’ve written and copyrighted. Besides that, this affects the company’s revenue, which is really bad. The developers spend years toiling over a product, and they won’ get paid for it. Besides that, the new Minecraft EULA policies weren’t implemented instantly. Many big servers still don’t follow Minecraft EULA policies, and Mojang will start implementing their rules form this year.
Why did it take almost 7 years to implement these policies? Community BACKLASH! The Minecraft community was pissed when the new laws came in; most server owners had to abandon their servers as running a server requires real money, and when you stop receiving money, the server shuts down, simple as that. But the saga continues, and we’ll probably ee a conclusion this year.
The biggest criticism against Minecraft is that they’re trying to give preference to their REALMS. As it is Minecraft’s own version of how servers should be, they’ll be able to keep the profits from it. But any Minecraft player will know, Realms doesn’t even come close to the quality servers offer most f the time. Hence the server community isn’t happy.
How should a server earn money then?
At the beginning of the article, we mentioned how hard it is to sustain and maintain a server when the server isn’t paying you back. A successful server will need to have a ton of plugins that enhance the gameplay and enhance the features of the games, sometimes adding brand new and interesting content. This helps in keeping a great Minecraft community. Fortunately, there are a lot of great people out there who’ve developed great plugins for free (Top 25 Best Minecraft Server Free Plugins) If you have the budget for it, you should also check out premium plugins! (Top 25 Best Minecraft Server Premium Plugins)
That being said, all these plugins won’t come for free and won’t be available for cheap either; you’ll have to loosen up your savings for these. Many factors need to be paid for on a server like the Hosting plans, custom server plugins, custom website for your server, professional builder to make your server stand out, and run adverts that make your server stand out and visible to a broader server audience. There will always be some cheap alternative to plugins and hosting, but you have to be careful not to risk the privacy of your players. Because there are some nasty people out there who will steal your data (Is Hosting a Minecraft Server Safe?)
It would be great if your server could earn you the money needed to sustain it, plus some side cash always comes in handy. But as we mentioned earlier, the Minecraft team doesn’t like us using their game to make money, so how do we monetize the server?
Though the Minecraft team explicitly states that we can’t sell in-game items that are readily available to the player,m we can actually sell cosmetic items. And this isn’t in any violation of the Minecraft EULA policy.
You can monetize these features/items –
Cosmetic items – Cosmetic items come in a wide range; you can change the player’s appearance, give him a custom rank, give him customs trails which the player will leave when he walks; the possibilities are endless if you go this route. Cosmetic items are one of the best ways to earn from your server, but make sure the items you’re selling are great; no one wants to buy cheap clothes!
Donations – If your server is a great place and the community you have amassed over a period wants to continue playing on your server, they will donate for your cause without any hesitation. This is the best way to sustain your server, and you can reward the player who donates by giving him a custom rank that shows they have donated for the server.
Or you can basically do a monthly donation system, where the players donate a certain amount of money per month. But make sure before you do anything that the player is aware of the deal, we don’t want any unnecessary feuds after the payments are processed.
Sponsorships – If your server is popular enough, you might earn a good amount of money via this technique. There are thousands of servers out there, and if you want to stand out, you need to be the best, but sometimes this isn’t the only thing you need. Even if your server is great, how will you get players if they don’t know about its glory?
This is when server owners pay other server owners to advertise their servers.
Merchandising – If your server community is interested, you can actually start producing merch like T-shirts and mugs with the server logo on them and start selling it on e-commerce sites! You can get really creative in this; you can print inside jokes from the server or the moderator’s skin. The possibilities are endless; make sure to have the original artwork. If you want to include Minecraft items on the merch, you have to get it licensed first.
Charge for access to the server – This is by far the easiest way to monetize; let the players join a couple of times for free and then ask them to pay for access, just like Netflix and Amazon Prime. If the person is getting value out of your server and spending hours and hours playing and having fun, they will surely hesitate to pay a small fee!
What isn’t allowed to be monetized –
Basically, everything that you get when you buy the game, you can’t monetize. That is, you can’t force players to party real-life money to get diamonds or get access to command blocks and in-game commands. This is strictly prohibited. If you try to violate these rules, the Minecraft company has the total right to end your license!
Tips to increase your monetization!
The key to a successful server is quality content. If you have quality content on your server, there’s no reason why a player might hesitate to join it. Think of it this way, your a random player who’s looking for a new server to get involved in, a server where the community is great, a server where he can play for hours. Now think about the server. Does your server satisfy all these parameters? If yes, then good; your server is probably one of the best out there. But if not, you have a lot of work to do. And you won’t need to pay for stuff every time; there are a ton of good free plugins. Like these Top 25 Best Minecraft Server Free Plugins.
Because no one will be playing you money, their hard-earned money to play on a genetic server with vanilla features, as a server moderator, you have to realize that you’re in a business now. This business is a cut-throat one; the attention spans of our generation are pretty low. That means if a player hates your server on the first visit, forget about retaining him; a great player went from your reach. Players don’t even stay in a server’s lobby if they find it boring; that’s how hard it is to get players to join your server!
Every member in your server is a potential opportunity to make money, so you need to make them feel great on the server. You have to be great at marketing and be willing to hold regular tournaments and competitions that’ll keep the community interested. We have an entire step-by-step article explaining how you can market your server using the various methods and tools available on the internet. How to advertise your Minecraft server