Monday, December 13, 2010

PSA: Minecraft About To Enter Beta, Buy Now

minecraft_my_house_snowDid you listen when I said you should get Minecraft?  If you were, this isn’t for you.  If you weren’t, read on.

The gaming blogosphere simply won’t shut up about Minecraft – and with good reason.  It’s got a lot of things going for it.  It’s a smash indie success.  It’s a veritable sandbox of emergent game design.  Its multiplayer mode might as well be titled “Schadenfreude.”  Oh yeah, and it’s sold nearly a million copies.

One of Minecraft’s biggest allures is the current Alpha state.  Developer Markus Persson promised anyone who bought the game in Alpha (at a reduced price) would receive all future updates to the game for free.  That’s around thirteen or fourteen bucks (after conversion) for a lifetime subscription to a game that currently knows no bounds. 

Here’s the catch: Minecraft enters Beta on December 20th.  What does this mean?  The price rises to 14.95 Euro (closer to twenty bucks), and Persson (or notch) will be adding better mod support, some loose narrative pieces to encourage early- and late-game play, and a larger focus on testing and stability. 

The biggest change has nothing to do with gameplay: the “All future versions free” promise does not apply to purchase made after launch of the Beta version.  According to his Twitter, “it scares both the lawyers and the board” (he has a board!).  Beta customers will still get the “final” release for free, but additional expansions will cost money.

If you still want in on the (hella crowded) ground floor of Minecraft, you have a week.  Go.