Minecraft is known for its accessibility; the game is very user friendly and, within a couple of hours of first starting the game, any player will most likely be on his way to building an amazing creation. However, for as much accessibility as Minecraft offers in the actual game, it requires a decent amount of knowledge in every other aspect such as setting up your own multiplayer server.
Carl Manneh, co-founder and CEO of Mojang, the publisher and developer behind Minecraft, recounts an early experience of just how inaccessible setting up a multiplayer server was. “I remember early on we had parents coming knocking on our office door and asking us to provide such service because they were tired of being server administrator at home,” states Manneh.
Since multiplayer is a key component to the Minecraft experience, Mojang is looking to remove this barrier that millions of players face every day with the release of Minecraft Realms. The premise of Realms is simple: for a small monthly fee, players can rent a server from Mojang who will handle all the back-end details. This enables users to enjoy playing with one another without having to worry about setting up the server correctly. So far only about 100 players have been given access to Realms.
This is not meant to replace the many different services available on the Internet, however; Mojang has stated that Minecraft Realms is intended to serve small groups of friends or family members who want to play with one another exclusively without having to pay the premiums that large server rentals would cost. The current way of playing Minecraft online is and will always remain free, according to Mojang.
Minecraft Realms is looking into modification support as well, with Mojang developing tools that will ensure mods can be used and do not disrupt any Minecraft Realms server.
Announced at MineCon 2012, Mojang stated that they have been working on Minecraft Realms for quite some time; the company also went on to say that it was influenced by several parents who would call up requesting the service since they no longer wanted to pay the high premiums of hosting their own server for their children, as evidenced by Manneh’s earlier quote.
According to Mojang, the private servers would be able to house up to ten players and would cost about $10 to $15 every month. Considering other server rental companies tend to charge upwards of $100 for a dedicated server, it is clear that Minecraft Realms will offer some major savings.
Minecraft Realms was not simply designed for those who want to avoid incompatibility issues when playing multiplayer. Another key concern was the problems that young children would face playing Minecraft online is the number of other players who do not filter themselves when chatting, typing in profane messages that children should not be reading.
However, with the introduction of Minecraft Realms, it would be very easy to circumvent this problem simply by having a private server where children, friends and family could play without the risk of reading profane messages in the chat box.
There is currently no release date for Minecraft Realms, though it is expected to be out before the end of the year.