Ever think you would live in a world where you could make money messing around with video games? Well, brace yourself, because you do.
That fact may not be a total surprise to you, as the computer and video game industry is worth many billions of dollars per year. But still, if we knew money could be made with games, many of us probably would have chosen a different career path.
For what it's worth, it may not be too late. If you are into the game "Minecraft," riches could be in your future.
The game is what you make of it
Since being released in November 2011, Minecraft became one of the most popular games in the world. A big part of the game's appeal is that it is a sandbox video game, which allows its players to really play around and essentially make the virtual world whatever they would like.
There are no specific goals to accomplish in Minecraft, which gives its players plenty of freedom to design, build, roam and do anything else the game's constructs will allow.
Really, the digital world one roams around in can be anything the player can dream up. Because of that, some are very basic, whereas others are very, very intricate and impressive.
The worlds are so nice, in fact, that there is a market to purchase them.
So, how are you at designing?
Microsoft, which owns Minecraft, launched its marketplace, where people who create detailed and desirable worlds can sell them to other players as downloadable content, last June. Since then, it's been revealed there's real money to be made doing it.
Whether it is maps, skin packs or anything else, if it can be created within the game, it can be sold. Not everyone can do it, as Microsoft has been methodical in accepting applications to join the marketplace.
As of last December, there were around 74 million people playing the game. Since June, Microsoft has paid out more than $7 million to 45 Minecraft creators, with their content being downloaded more than 25 million times.
With that much money changing hands, you want it to be safe
A big part of why Microsoft created its marketplace is so that the company can have more control over what is being created and sold. Even before it opened, third-party servers had become a business, with the company only intervening when it wanted to ban brand-sponsored servers of pay-to-win scenarios.
As popular as mods were for the game, however, the desire to find new worlds and features to download would always be there. By taking charge, Microsoft is hoping to make the process easier to understand and safer for those involved.
After all, you can trust Microsoft a lot more easily than a random third-party site. Which then takes us back to making money, because parents and others who are spending time in the game are more apt to do so when they are not fearful of being scammed.
There is also the matter of ensuring any content downloaded is safe for kids. With moderators checking all downloadable content before it is available in the marketplace, Microsoft is hopeful that Minecraft will be able to keep its virtual world safe for children who play.
Not everyone is happy about it, though
If you are making money from the Marketplace, you are probably a fan. However, if you are being forced to pay to download mods that you used to get for free, it might be a bit upsetting.
Microsoft is understanding of that angst and has tried to reassure players free downloads are not in jeopardy. However, it stands to reason if creators feel like money can be made off their work, they will soon be more inclined to sell rather than give it away.
For now, Microsoft is adamant they are not taking anything away from players or developers, but instead just providing another avenue for work to be shared and found. Furthermore, if there is money to be made by creating content, it's likely more people would take that route. In that case, everyone wins.
Want to play Minecraft but your computer is being finicky?
Maybe your old computer is just running slowly. Computers have many moving parts, and you may eventually decide to call in reinforcements. But with a little direction, you may be able to fix minor issues all on your own.