Mojang cancels long-promised Minecraft graphical overhaul

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Mojang has ceased development of the Super Duper Graphics Pack, an enhancement for Minecraft that promised a better visual experience through improved shadows, better lighting effects, new textures, water reflections and more. On the Xbox One X, it would even boost the game to 4K resolution.

The Minecraft studio this week said the pack proved too technically demanding to implement as planned. Specifically, the team said it wasn’t happy with how the pack performed across devices (presumably of all types). As such, they have stopped development on the pack and are looking into alternate ways for gamers to experience Minecraft with a new look.

Mojang didn’t say as much but one has to wonder if the graphics pack simply put too much of a performance strain on weaker platforms like lower-end smartphones. If that was indeed the case, perhaps Mojang should have just removed those systems from the compatibility list and continued ahead with more powerful platforms? Just an idea.

Masthead credit: Minecraft by Spok83

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retsxel

Games have graphics settings for reasons. If they can't hang then turn them down.

Major let down here Mojang/Microsoft
Yeah it's pretty upsetting that they won't even release this for PC.
It's not difficult to understand though. They want to maintain playability across all platforms on a more or less uniform manner.
 

OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
Minecraft players need to grow up and move on to SecondLife. Same thing, only more geared toward professionals and grownups.
 
I play Minecraft on occasion and Second Life looks uninteresting in comparison. I suspect most MC players think the same otherwise SL would have similar sales to MC, which it doesn't.
 

OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
I play Minecraft on occasion and Second Life looks uninteresting in comparison. I suspect most MC players think the same otherwise SL would have similar sales to MC, which it doesn't.
Um unless what I'm seeing is incorrect, it looks like Minecraft sales are sitting at around 150 million whereas Second Life has/had: in 2009 sales were about 100 million annually. In 2010/2011 they were about 75 million annually, now they sit around 50 million annually. I think SecondLife is more profitable. It has it's own in-game currency to USD exchange rate for heaven sake...
 
You're mixing unit sales with financial sales. Total user accounts (closest thing to unit sales?) in Second Life in 2010 were just over 21M, not 100M. Minecraft's unit sales are 170M or so, not $170M.
 

OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
You're mixing unit sales with financial sales. Total user accounts (closest thing to unit sales?) in Second Life in 2010 were just over 21M, not 100M. Minecraft's unit sales are 170M or so, not $170M.
SecondLife isn't a game you buy like Minecraft however. The game is free to download so volume of user accounts can't be used for anything. People in Secondlife pay rent, pay for products, pay for the exchange...etc so it's not a one-time purchase hence creating greater profits.
 
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Skjorn

TS Guru
SecondLife isn't a game you buy like Minecraft however. The game is free to download so volume of user accounts can't be used for anything. People in Secondlife pay rent, pay for products, pay for the exchange...etc so it's not a one-time purchase hence creating greater profits.
So it's Freemium. Ew.
 

OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
So it's Freemium. Ew.
It's called Second Life because it's... a second life. I didn't pay to be in this world but I sure as heck have to pay rent, and pay for the things I want. Life is freemium. Ew indeed.

As I said, SecondLife is Minecraft for adults. Everything in the "game" is created by the players who play it. Everything starting with blocks. Hard work pays off. I cash out every few months for $100 here and there and I've never spent money on the game.
 

Lounds

TS Maniac
You're mixing unit sales with financial sales. Total user accounts (closest thing to unit sales?) in Second Life in 2010 were just over 21M, not 100M. Minecraft's unit sales are 170M or so, not $170M.
SecondLife isn't a game you buy like Minecraft however. The game is free to download so volume of user accounts can't be used for anything. People in Secondlife pay rent, pay for products, pay for the exchange...etc so it's not a one-time purchase hence creating greater profits.
Minecraft is also a licensed thing, there's merch and toys, etc. Minecraft is wayyyy more profitable. Hence why it was bought for $4 billion.
 

OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
Minecraft is also a licensed thing, there's merch and toys, etc. Minecraft is wayyyy more profitable. Hence why it was bought for $4 billion.
Now the merch aspect is a good point and also makes it almost impossible to track profits with that. There is a blocky Minecraft toy thing of just about everything so yes, you are right there. Nobody has heard of SecondLife merchandise for a reason. I agree Minecraft's blocky pixelated style is a niche it capitalizes on.
 
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It's called Second Life because it's... a second life. I didn't pay to be in this world but I sure as heck have to pay rent, and pay for the things I want. Life is freemium. Ew indeed.

As I said, SecondLife is Minecraft for adults. Everything in the "game" is created by the players who play it. Everything starting with blocks. Hard work pays off. I cash out every few months for $100 here and there and I've never spent money on the game.
Interesting, I didn't realize you could cash out real money from the game. Obviously I'm not very familiar with it.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
"If that was indeed the case, perhaps Mojang should have just removed those systems from the compatibility list and continued ahead with more powerful platforms? Just an idea."

Yes, lets just leave people out of support for new content because of their lack of GPU capability. Pardon my french, but what a fuggin retarded idea. What next, you can only play the latest GTA V heist if you have a 2080 super or higher? CoD zombies will only work on AMD cards?

Here's an idea, if you want to make new graphics and are straining at the restrictions of your current game, WHY NOT MAKE ANOTHER GAME?!? Minecraft is complete, and its old. Make minecraft 2 or whatever. Given all the ways game developers screw over users with DRM, micro-transactions, artificial grinding, ece the last thing we need to say to them is "why not just limit your new features to people with more processing power and abandon your consumers?"
 
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AIC1Drew

TS Rookie
Games have graphics settings for reasons. If they can't hang then turn them down.

Major let down here Mojang/Microsoft
Yeah it's pretty upsetting that they won't even release this for PC.
It's not difficult to understand though. They want to maintain playability across all platforms on a more or less uniform manner.
Again, games have graphics settings for a reason. And that's so the elite few aren't held back by the peasant masses. The absolute only ones who lose here are the ones that have capable devices. Summed up, the company essentially said no to profits. *scratches head*
 
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Skjorn

TS Guru
"If that was indeed the case, perhaps Mojang should have just removed those systems from the compatibility list and continued ahead with more powerful platforms? Just an idea."

Yes, lets just leave people out of support for new content because of their lack of GPU capability. Pardon my french, but what a fuggin retarded idea. What next, you can only play the latest GTA V heist if you have a 2080 super or higher? CoD zombies will only work on AMD cards?

Here's an idea, if you want to make new graphics and are straining at the restrictions of your current game, WHY NOT MAKE ANOTHER GAME?!? Minecraft is complete, and its old. Make minecraft 2 or whatever. Given all the ways game developers screw over users with DRM, micro-transactions, artificial grinding, ece the last thing we need to say to them is "why not just limit your new features to people with more processing power and abandon your consumers?"
Well minecraft just canceled a visual pack. Not playable content. You just mentioned playable content in GTA V and COD. Totally different. A better comparison would be RTX in recent title or Distance Shadows and HighRes Shadows in GTAV.. not the freaking Heists.. Sure I can still play those RTX titles but I don't have RTX cards so I just leave RTX off and still enjoy it. Just like Minecraft should have done with its VISUAL PACK... nobody is being left out from content with an optional visual update..
 
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Skjorn

TS Guru
It's called Second Life because it's... a second life. I didn't pay to be in this world but I sure as heck have to pay rent, and pay for the things I want. Life is freemium. Ew indeed.

As I said, SecondLife is Minecraft for adults. Everything in the "game" is created by the players who play it. Everything starting with blocks. Hard work pays off. I cash out every few months for $100 here and there and I've never spent money on the game.
Sounds like the Sims but instead you actually have to pay for everything.. sounds gross af. I have a real life that has real needs and real rent that needs to be paid with my real money. Plz stop trying to promote a shitty freemium game to us.
 

OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
Sounds like the Sims but instead you actually have to pay for everything.. sounds gross af. I have a real life that has real needs and real rent that needs to be paid with my real money. Plz stop trying to promote a shitty freemium game to us.
Seriously? From my description you are comparing it to the Sims??? The Sims has nowhere near the level of creativeness that SecondLife has. (or arguably Minecraft) I was drawing a parallel here because both games give you blocks to make stuff with, but in SecondLife those blocks can be further molded into non-blocks, and scripted to actually perform actions. As a scripter, I actually make money in SecondLife and get paychecks. Maybe do research before saying it "sounds gross af". Millions of people would disagree.
 
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AIC1Drew

TS Rookie
"If that was indeed the case, perhaps Mojang should have just removed those systems from the compatibility list and continued ahead with more powerful platforms? Just an idea."

Yes, lets just leave people out of support for new content because of their lack of GPU capability. Pardon my french, but what a fuggin retarded idea. What next, you can only play the latest GTA V heist if you have a 2080 super or higher? CoD zombies will only work on AMD cards?

Here's an idea, if you want to make new graphics and are straining at the restrictions of your current game, WHY NOT MAKE ANOTHER GAME?!? Minecraft is complete, and its old. Make minecraft 2 or whatever. Given all the ways game developers screw over users with DRM, micro-transactions, artificial grinding, ece the last thing we need to say to them is "why not just limit your new features to people with more processing power and abandon your consumers?"
I don't see where this causes Minecraft to disappear on lower-end devices just because they wouldn't be able to receive a texture pack of all things. I wouldn't exactly call a texture pack a game changing feature (nevermind the 3rd party packs that have already existed on PC forever now). Besides, since its inception, there have been larger, more obvious disparities across all Minecraft-supported platforms with PC obviously having a huge advantage, (eg: world size). But unless you played the PC version you wouldn't know this (more on that later).

The Minecraft experience on lower-end devices won't change in the absence of this pack and those users can still go about playing it the way they've always have. But by not introducing the pack on platforms that CAN support it, they may have turned away veterans looking for a fresh look to keep them hanging around or newcomers that couldn't get past the graphics in the first place. (Again, this ignores 3rd party packs that already exist).

From a business perspective, this makes zero sense....at the same time I kinda understand. Catering a cosmetic upgrade to low-end hardware is ignoring the platform for which Minecraft was initially conceptualized on in the first place.... PC. So instead I think it more or less can be summed up with a statement like "Well considering PC has had 3rd party texture packs since forever and it turns out we can't do it on mobile/console platforms due to hardware limitations, it's not worth any more of our time investing into or talking about at this point". Now THAT makes sense, in which case they could have just said that IN THE FIRST PLACE! Not sure if it's Microsoft's lack of understanding the modding community or just a canned headline to get more users to play. Who knows. It's a little late to the table at this point.

From a consumer perspective, I'm sure you have heard of the term "PC master race". Do you really understand what that term means? To say it's the best platform and the rest are stripped down crap, ehhhh it's a little more technical than that. It takes understanding the development of games on the PC platform vs any other platform, and that's being able to express creative freedoms sans hardware limitations. Unlike consoles and mobile devices, PCs enjoy exponentially more headroom for game creation. Imagine a virtually limitless sandbox to do whatever you want with.

To introduce a PC-first game (such as Minecraft) to platforms with tighter hardware limitations, something probably has to go, otherwise it won't work. The user shouldn't realistically expect to have the same experience if they understand how hardware works. Which is why, in my opinion, aside from affordable upfront costs, console/mobile gaming exists in the first place. And I definitely think convenience plays an even larger factor.

Now that I've circled the world several times over, I guess I don't quite understand what your argument is here. You mentioned leaving people out due to lack of GPU capability. Keep in mind that this would have been a cosmetic upgrade on a PC-first game. The likelihood that it would have ever materialized on consoles and mobile platforms isn't entirely ruled out....just with whats currently out there now. And because of that they chose not to humor the idea any more. I mean at least for the sake of console/mobile gamers lets hope they'll re-engage down the road. As for your comparisions on other games I think you're comparing apples to oranges....GTA V utilizing at minimum a 2080 Super?? Come on that's a bit of a stretch, especially since GTA VI is already in the works, why would they waste their time. I got completely playable frames on a 5-6 year old 780Ti. And I'm not gonna attempt at humoring CoD only working on AMD cards.

Back to Minecraft, they aren't straining at any restrictions what so ever on PC....period. They said they were unhappy with how it performed across all platforms so they weren't going to do it at all. And shame on them from a business perspective to come to that conclusion but like I said it's probably because 3rd party texture packs have been around since the PC version dropped almost 10 years ago. I think we're both at the conclusion that it's complete/old and time to move on. Minecraft 2 is due, they've had plenty of time to collect ideas from other games and refine the originals shortcomings. I don't agree with your last comment one bit however. By expanding to more platforms than just PC they dramatically expanded their consumer base so your "why not just limit your new features to people with more processing power and abandon your consumers?" comment doesn't really add up. For one, no one has been abandoned, they can still play the game, nothing will change. Again, Minecraft is a PC-first game, the ones that miss out on feature updates are likely ones that bought the game on consoles or mobile devices instead of PC. In principle, the lesson here should be to educate yourselves and you'll be less prone to being let down.
 
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retsxel

Summed up, the company essentially said no to profits. *scratches head*
What are you talking about? Future sales=profit. Business 101. This decision had nothing to to with profits and everything to do with what they explained in great detail. Keep scratching your head..