Minecraft is one of the biggest success stories for Indie gaming, and is now a household name; so much so that Mojang intends to develop a family friendly subscription service known as Realms.
Currently, Minecraft users have to brave the Internet to find public servers, with no guarantees on their safety or content...
By subscribing to Realms, you get access to a Mojang hosted server, limited to you and anyone you invite via a friends list. Only one person needs to have the subscription per world, so it's easy for children to invite their friends along to play with them, as long as they have a copy of the game.
Eventually, Mojang plans to add mod "profiles", groups of mods that are certified to work without crashing. Carl Manneh, CEO of Mojang said that there has been "a great demand" for this kind of service. "We have never tried to sell anything to our gamers except the game itself and a little merchandise, so it'll be very interesting to see if the community will be prepared to pay for a service like this."
No pricing has been set, but it has been estimated at $10-$15 a month, and there will be pre-paid cards available in shops for those without credit cards.
Interestingly, Manneh thinks that over time, this will provide as much revenue as the main game. If it's as successful as that, the intention is to add inter-server Portals, in effect turning Minecraft into an interconnected MMO.
Have you guys been back to Minecraft recently? The 1.5 Update was recently released, and it's got a load of new stuff, go check it out!