"We Don't Sell Blocks" Exploring Minecraft's Commissioning Market


We have seen a rise in videogames using in-game content creation as their primary mode of play. While there is literature that has studied a variety of aspects of these games, it is vital to examine the potential monetisation practices that may arise from their environment. Through our ongoing ethnographic study we discovered a vivid commissioning market in Minecraft's creative community. Our findings reveal 3 main actors that constitute this market: the customers who have their own Minecraft servers and the contractors who handle the clients' orders for Minecraft maps and the builders who are responsible for the creation of the maps. Minecraft-servers.biz has revealed that the primary product at stake is not in-game content as one might expect however, it is the process of creating it. These results suggest that commissioning in Minecraft is a well-organized process, initiated and sustained only by members of the game's community - plays a significant part in the game's current structure. Furthermore, they challenge the belief that the creation of content in gaming environments is free labor that is exploited by developers of those games.