The developers of Minecraft, Microsoft-owned Mojang Studios, have announced their departure from Reddit. This decision comes in the wake of Reddit's controversial API billing changes, which have sparked widespread protests across the platform. The developers have stated that they no longer consider Reddit an appropriate place to post official content or engage with their player base.
The Fallout of Reddit's API Changes
Reddit's recent changes have led to rule and moderation alterations across many subreddits, causing a ripple effect that has reached even the most prominent communities. The Minecraft subreddit, r/Minecraft, with over 7.4 million members, is one of the latest to feel the impact. The Java tech team at Mojang, the Microsoft-owned company behind Minecraft, will no longer post changelogs or details of changes to Minecraft game versions on the subreddit. This decision, however, does not represent an official policy for all of Mojang Studios, Xbox, or Microsoft.
In the official announcement posted on the r/Minecraft subreddit, the user “sliced_lime” identified as a Minecraft developer at Mojang, stated:
“As you have no doubt heard by now, Reddit management introduced changes recently that have led to rule and moderation changes across many subreddits. Because of these changes, we no longer feel that Reddit is an appropriate place to post official content or refer our players to.
We want to thank you for all the feedback and discussion you've participated in in past changelog threads. You are of course welcome to post unofficial update threads going forward, and if you want to reach the team with feedback about the game, please visit our feedback site at feedback.minecraft.net or contact us on one of our official social media channels.”
The departure of the Minecraft developers from Reddit is a significant blow to the platform, given the game's immense popularity. With over 230 million copies sold, Minecraft holds the title of the world's best-selling video game according to Guinness World Records. The r/Minecraft subreddit, now devoid of official updates from Mojang Studios, will likely see a shift in its day-to-day use. However, the community is expected to continue its discussions and unofficial update threads.
The decision by the Minecraft developers is just one of many large-scale protests against Reddit's controversial API changes. Earlier this month, over 8,000 Reddit communities participated in a “blackout,” changing their subreddit settings to fully or partially private. The protests included popular subreddits like r/Funny, r/Music, and r/Science, each with tens of millions of users.
The Future of Minecraft's Online Presence
While the Minecraft subreddit will continue to operate without official updates from Mojang Studios, the developers have encouraged players to visit their feedback site or contact them via their official social media channels for updates and feedback about the game. This shift represents a significant change in the way one of the world's most popular video games interacts with its player base, and it remains to be seen how this will impact the broader Minecraft community in the long term.
The Controversy Behind Reddit's API Changes
Reddit's new API pricing scheme has been a significant point of contention among its users and developers. Previously, Reddit did not charge any fees for using its API but limited the number of requests each app could make per minute. Now, Reddit plans to charge $12,000 for 50 million requests per month, a price point far above what other sites charge for similar services. For instance, Imgur, an image-hosting site often used by Reddit users, charges $166 for 50 million requests per month.
Impact on Third-Party Apps
Third-party apps, which allow users to access Reddit without using the official app or website, are at risk due to this new pricing scheme. These apps, developed by independent developers using Reddit's API, offer more features, customization options, better performance, and less intrusive ads than the official app. Some of the most popular third-party apps include Apollo, Relay, Infinity, Sync, Reddit is Fun, and Narwhal. However, the new pricing scheme could make many of these apps unaffordable or unsustainable for their developers.
User and Developer Backlash
The new API pricing scheme sparked a sitewide blackout on June 12, with hundreds of subreddits going dark for 48 hours. This protest aimed to show Reddit how much users value third-party apps and how much traffic they generate for the site. A new subreddit, r/Save3rdPartyApps, was created to raise awareness and organize resistance against Reddit's new API pricing scheme. This subreddit calls for Reddit to lower its API fees by a factor of 15 to 20, making them more comparable to other sites like Imgur.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman addressed the ongoing issues related to user and developer protests, platform accessibility, and new API fees in a detailed interview with The Verge. Huffman asserted that while he recognizes the magnitude of the recent protests, the decision to increase API fees is about maintaining the balance between supporting developers and ensuring Reddit's financial sustainability. He highlighted that while other platforms have banned third-party applications entirely, Reddit has chosen to uphold a free-market principle where these apps should cover their costs.
Despite the backlash, Huffman expressed optimism about Reddit's future: “We've listened to our community and are making changes accordingly. We are committed to building a Reddit that's better for everyone.” However, many Reddit users and developers remain skeptical of these statements, accusing Reddit of being greedy and dishonest. They claim that Reddit is trying to eliminate third-party apps and force users to use the official app, which has more ads and fewer features.