The newest update to Minecraft, which adds chat moderation features, has been met with a strong backlash from players over privacy concerns.
The latest update to Minecraft has been met with strong backlash from players over privacy concerns. This follows the much more well-received The Wild Updatewhich added new Minecraft content in June.
Minecraft has seen its fair share of controversies in the past. These have mostly been in relation to creator Notch, real name Markus Persson, who sold the game’s development studio Mojang to Microsoft in 2014. Since then, Persson has been criticized multiple times for making a variety of hateful comments on social media. This string of incidents eventually led to all references to his name being quietly removed from the game in 2019. Development of the game has since proceeded relatively smoothly without his input, which in recent times has included the release of several DLC packs. However, Persson took to Twitter last year apparently in protest of this new direction, saying that Minecraft is now a dead game.
Now, however, the latest update to Minecraft has generated its own controversy and caused the hashtag ‘SaveMinecraft’ to trend on Twitter. As reported by Game Rantthe new 1.19.1 update (which follows The Wild Update), introduces new chat moderation features to both public and private game servers. The update means that chat messages are now run through filters to scan and block any content deemed inappropriate, as well as allowing other players to report messages. As a consequence of this, the users responsible can then be banned from playing on all servers, including private ones. This has quickly led to the update reportedly being labeled “the chat-reporting update” by certain groups of players. The backlash is similar to that generated by updates to other popular games, such as changes to Pokémon GO‘s incense item.
Mojang Holding Firm On Minecraft’s New Update Despite Backlash
Minecraft‘s new update has led to players promptly creating workarounds in order to remove the moderation features. Game Rant reports that software to accomplish this “has already been downloaded over 200,000 times, and half of that was in one day.” However, despite the intense protests, it seems that Mojang has no intentions of rolling back or altering the new moderation features. Posting on Reddit, community manager MojangMeesh acknowledged players’ negative reactions but stated that Mojang is “not planning on changing it,” in a comment that has now received nearly 2000 downvotes. In addition to this, they reiterated that channels such as the official update thread on Reddit were the best way to express any displeasure, explaining that there had been multiple instances of fan harassment to developers over the change. MojangMeesh called for an end to this behavior, noting that it only served to distance developers from the player base.
Despite maintaining the decision to moderate chat, the extremely negative response from players shows that this is by no means a welcome addition to Minecraft. The fact that many have already modded their games in order to remove the moderation features is evidence of this. The issue of privacy is similarly concerning; the fact that Mojang can see the chat messages of private servers means that every player without the software to mitigate this will run the risk of having their chats monitored. However, harassment is obviously not the answer to this, and toxic behavior should be dealt with. In any case, players have made their feelings known, and now only time will tell if Minecraft will remove these disappointing features.
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Sources: Minecraft, Game Rant, MojangMeesh/Reddit
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