EULA-Friendly & Safe Ways To Monetize Your Minecraft Server
Modern Minecraft servers are facing an epidemic. As a player, you have to navigate between hundreds of low-quality servers with extreme cases of pay-to-win donations. You are overrun with gambling crates and slot machines and all other forms of nonsense that create toxic communities full of people paying their way to the top.
As a server owner, you still have to face this problem. Owning and operating a large scale Minecraft server is a very expensive endeavor and you have to decide if you want to follow in the footsteps of some of the biggest scumbags on the internet in order to pay the bills.
But, I am telling you right now that there is another way. You don't need to pollute your server community with crates and other questionable donation items just to make ends meet.
In today's article, I am going to discuss some ways to make money from your Minecraft server without introducing crates or other scummy mechanics, all while following the Minecraft EULA.
As a server owner, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Minecraft EULA. The End User License Agreement is like the ten commandments given out by Microsoft in order to keep server owners from taking advantage of their game and profiting from it.
To be quite honest, there are a lot of servers that blatantly break the EULA and they don't often see repercussions for it. However, if you want to play it safe in case Microsoft/Mojang does decide to crack down, I would recommend following it. On top of this, breaking the EULA is a bad look because it pretty much means that you are doing the scummy things mentioned above, so you might as well try to make your community look good by following the rules.
In short, the EULA states that you MAY:
- sell entitlements that affect gameplay provided that they do not adversely or negatively another player’s experience and provided they do not give a competitive gameplay advantage. A competitive gameplay advantage is something that, given identical skill levels, time investment, and circumstances, can cause one player or group to perform better than another.
- sell cosmetic entitlements, except for "Capes," which we define as anything that attempts to visually emulate the feature of a Minecraft player Cape.
- use and sell in-game virtual currencies IF (i) they have no real-world value and that cannot be cashed out, used, or transferred across free or paid servers, or into any other currency with real-world value; (ii) you don't give the impression that it comes from or is associated with Mojang, (iii) they don't look like or have similar names to Minecoins or any other official virtual currency, and (iv) anything you sell with the currency follows our monetization guidelines.
To summarize, this basically means that you can monetize your server AS LONG AS you don't make it pay-to-win or give competitive advantages to your server members.
On top of this, there is a section below stating that you MUST ensure that:
- all servers, entitlements, and advertising are suitable for children and minors (i.e., no gambling, pornography, etc.) and don’t harm the Brand.
I mainly included this section to further prove that gambling is not okay on a Minecraft server and that you should avoid adding crates, regardless of how much money they would make you.
EULA-Friendly Donation Options
So, with the EULA showing that you cannot have pay-to-win perks or gambling on your Minecraft server, it is important to look for alternatives. I am going to provide you with some alternative options that I have experimented with to help you decide on how you are going to monetize your server.
The most popular option these days is to offer some form of cosmetics on your Minecraft server. These usually take the form of disguises (where you make your player look like a mob), pets (animals that follow you around while you play), trails (particle effects that create a stylized aura around your character), and chat perks such as suffixes or colors.
There are quite a few options for ways to introduce cosmetics, with many free plugins such as Ultra Cosmetics, Lib's Disguises, or Simple Pets. I would recommend browsing the internet for free alternatives.
If you would like something that is a higher quality, there are also plenty of paid plugins such as ProCosmetics that you can find on Spigot.
Regardless of your choice, you can sell these cosmetics either individually or in packages in order to monetize your Minecraft server.
If you have ever played on a Minecraft server you are definitely familiar with ranks. These are a congregation of special perks given to a player to help them out in game.
Unfortunately, however, the standard way that ranks are given out are actually pay-to-win and break the EULA. If your players can only get those perks from the rank itself, then it doesn't work.
So, what we did with KastCraft, is made a way for players to acquire all of the rank perks without paying any form of real money. We created a virtual currency known as tokens that is rewarded to players as they play and they can redeem their tokens to obtain the perks found in our rank packages. Doing this makes it to where there is nothing that a paid player can obtain that can't be obtained by a free one.
A new idea that we have been playing around with at KastCraft, is the idea of purchasable special events. These would be things such as special timed dungeons or boss fights that players can purchase. Once they are purchased, it will activate a server-wide event that all players can participate in.
Doing this makes it much more fair and allows for everyone to get involved when someone donates to the server, instead of the donor receiving all of the benefits.
People love feeling exclusive. Because of this, you can easily monetize your Minecraft server by offering some form of physical exclusivity to your rewards. I don't mean giving people exclusive perks that take away from the experience of other players. I mean things that make them feel unique.
Some good examples of this include unique, one-of-a-kind named items, special chat tags that only they have, a custom named world, signs at spawn, or anything else along those lines. You want to make your players feel like they are special and this is a good way to do it.
There are most definitely others ways in which you can monetize your server, so get creative! These ideas can be used as a baseline for you to find your own unique alternatives.
Whatever you do, don't allow gambling on your server. It creates a toxic environment and can single-handedly ruin your community. On top of this, it looks scummy and I promise you that making a few extra bucks isn't worth tarnishing your reputation.
I made an entire video about the dark side of modern Minecraft servers if you are interested. After watching this video you can understand why I am against the idea of server-wide gambling.