Set to go live in the spring, nine businesses will be selling feature packs within Minecraft -- such as new storylines, in-game activities or landscapes to explore -- with prices ranging between about $1 and $10 per creation. Other companies can apply to be allowed into the marketplace over subsequent months. Users wishing to purchase content will need to buy a form of new currency -- Minecraft Coins.
Given Minecraft's quirky LEGO-like graphics, it's more directly competitive from a consumer standpoint with Roblox and Linden Lab's Blocksworld, than high realistic virtual worlds like Sansar and High Fidelity, not to mention Second Life. However, from a third party developer perspective, Minecraft has a huge competitive edge above them all:
The game, originally released in 2011 after two years of experimental versions, was acquired by Microsoft via its $2.5 billion purchase of software company Mojang AB in 2014. It has grown to sell over 121 million copies worldwide, and has 55 million unique monthly players, according to figures provided by Microsoft.
So for example, while Lionsgate did a recent experimental promotion of Power Rangers in High Fidelity, it's likely big companies like that are going to invest more resources into developing virtual world content for Minecraft, over the others.