Sad news broke today in the realm of Minecraft and modding. One of the staple mods from 2012 has been forced to close its doors. Pixelmon was a mod for Minecraft that allowed you to do almost everything you know and love from the Pokemon game series. You could capture, train, battle, and breed familiar pocket monsters. There were even fossils to find within the game. Up until very recently, the mod was still seeing additions, so it's not like we're talking about a long dead mod or community. This was very much still active. Even so, there's not much for a modder to do when a big name like The Pokemon Company steps in and says enough is enough.
Rumors are already circulating that The Pokemon Company told Pixelmon they needed to stop now because of the potential Pokemon game on the Nintendo Switch. There aren't any conclusive facts to back up this rumor, but no matter what the reason, Pixelmon has officially gone the way of the Dodo. Even still, as most of us already know, the Internet is a wide, vast, and pirate-y place. If you're willing to get your yar har on, it shouldn't be too difficult to find Pixelmon going into the future. So that brings up the point of, “Why bother?”
To some, it might seem like The Pokemon Company is just being a bully and trying to strike down the little guy. But realistically, businesses have to be pretty careful in protecting their property. If they let too many knock-offs run free, it could cause legal problems for them in the future. This is realistically the only reason why companies have to shut down fan projects. They don't generally do it as a personal attack against anyone. It's more of a defensive move really. When there are well-known fan projects or mods, the company has a person or people that they can contact to ask them to stop. Anything that exists within the pirating community doesn't generally have a single person to drop a cease and desist on.
In spite of the fact that Pixelmon will almost certainly live on, The Pokemon Company was well within their rights to say stop. Half of the Internet is currently telling everyone on the other side of the line that they were silly to put so much faith in a mod that uses licensed material. The other half is saying they didn't expect it to be around so long, but they're glad it was. It's hard to say who is in the right here, but both sides do have validity. To those who played Pixelmon religiously (and maybe even contributed to it as developers), they just wanted to do something fun, and The Pokemon Company's delay in saying anything gave them hope. It's kind of like dangling a piece of bacon in front of your dog and then eating it. Those who stayed away knowing that it wouldn't last long possibly missed out on something great, but at least now they won't feel the hurt as much as the others.
It would be great to see companies like The Pokemon Company reach out to modding community projects and work with them, much like Bethesda is attempting to do. It'd be great for licensed material to be allowed in some way, shape, or form in mods and fan-made projects. It'd be great for Pixelmon to continue on as it has been. But realistically, it all comes down to legal matters that (probably) everyone but lawyers wished they didn't have to deal with.
How do you feel about Pixelmon's closure? Not worried because you've got some pirate friends? Sad because you only wanted to support the developers legitimately? Angry because The Pokemon Company waited so long to shut it down? Let me know in the comments.