Minecraft developers quit Reddit after its controversial API changes

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In the latest blow to Reddit after its controversial billing changes, the makers of Minecraft — one of the best-selling video games of all time — have quit the platform. 

“Reddit management introduced changes recently that have led to rule and moderation changes across many subreddits,” a tech lead at Mojang Studios, the Microsoft-owned company behind Minecraft, posted on the r/Minecraft Reddit community Tuesday. “Because of these changes, we no longer feel that Reddit is an appropriate place to post official content or refer our players to.” 

According to the post, the Java tech team at Mojang will no longer post changelogs, or details of changes to Minecraft game versions, on the subreddit. An update to the post clarified that it is not an official policy for all of Mojang Studios, Xbox or Microsoft. 

The Minecraft makers’ decision is the latest in a string of large-scale protests in recent weeks against Reddit, one of the internet’s most-trafficked sites. Earlier this month, the company announced a business change that will dramatically increase the price for third-party developers to use the company’s application programming interface, or API.

Reddit’s third-party apps are popular with users, who use them to browse the site and help address accessibility challenges, and with moderators, who use them to organize their subreddits, block spam accounts, flag unsafe posts and find patterns of harassment and abuse. 

In response to a question about whether the developers would return to posting on Reddit if the company changed its API policy, the user “sliced_lime,” whose bio says they are a Minecraft developer at Mojang, wrote, “The decision is based on the current situation, if the situation was to change we’d have to discuss that then.”

With more than 230 million copies sold, Minecraft is considered by Guinness World Records to be the world’s best-selling video game, and its official subreddit has more than 7.4 million members. Although the subreddit will live on without official updates from Mojang Studios, day-to-day use could look significantly different for members. 

Ahead of the changes, which are slated to go into effect Saturday, more than 8,000 Reddit communities participated in a “blackout,” changing their subreddit settings to fully or partially private. The protests included the wildly popular r/Funny, with more than 40 million members, along with r/Music and r/Science, each boasting more than 30 million users. 

“Reddit not only has all of its content generated by users, but all of its moderation is done by volunteers,” Dac Croach, one of the moderators of r/Gaming, which has more than 37 million members, told CNBC in a recent interview. “We’re talking hundreds of thousands of volunteers putting in hours a day to keep the site safe, entertaining and enjoyable for community members. And it’s tough to see that those people, when their voices are loud like this, are being ostensibly ignored.” 

A Reddit spokesperson declined to comment.

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