And we shall call it… Microcraft?
News broke earlier this week covering the acquisition of Minecraft by global powerhouse Microsoft and gamers everywhere are voicing their opinions. If you happen to live under a rock and missed this bit, click here. What does this mean? Does it mean anything at all? Is this the end of Minecraft!? Not likely. Though it may be the end of Minecraft as what we know it to be. As the news article broke, the founders of Mojang are leaving the company and lets face it, they just made bank. Mojang is a small studio with a single IP. Even Rare was sold for less money. So why would Microsoft bother buying such a tiny company for 2.5 billion dollars?
Money. Money. Money.
Let’s think about this for a second. Minecraft is already available on mobile platforms across the board, and as the article says, Microsoft’s Nokia mobiles aren’t fairing well against Apple and Android. Microsoft wants Minecraft on their own tablets, on their on mobiles, and if not exclusively then they want to charge other companies for rights to publish software on their devices. Do I work for Microsoft? No, so of course I can’t say this is “for sure.” But it doesn’t even take a high school economics course to see that this is coming. Gaming is a booming market right now for electronics developers. It’s so lucrative a market that it the Ps3/Ps4 are (arguably) single-handedly keeping Sony out of bankruptcy.
Key work there being “arguably.” I’m not getting into that right now. Feel free to read this anyway.
But the fact is Videogames = $. There’s licensing, toys, lunchboxes (kids still use those?), clothing, oh yea and games. There’s so much stuff. Like…Minecraft Lego Sets. With Microsoft’s latest buy one can safely bet that the future of Minecraft lies in the rapidly expanding mobile market and will probably feature some heavy DLC prices for consoles. This begs another question, will console versions of Minecraft become Xbox exclusive? One can probably assume yes, but a better question would be would that really help propel Xbox One sells near or past Ps4? I personally doubt that there are very many Minecraft players so loyal to the game that they’d buy an Xbox One solely for Minecraft. Most hardcore Minecraft players I know would be content (if not more pleased) to stay on their PCs anyway. I mean it’s not like their taking a title with decades of history and cult following dating back to the Nintendo/Sega wars and rebooting it exclusively for a sales boost. Such as Killer Instinct….
If Microsoft does indeed go the route of exclusivity it’s possible your Minecraft game will sync across all Windows devices. And that sounds cool, right? This could potentially drive sales of both Xbox consoles and Windows tablets and smartphones. But ultimately, we as gamers are all too familiar with Microsoft’s practices (and current game trends) and can all see what is to come. Over-priced DLC. Microtransactions out the wazoo. Subscription fees. Here’s to hoping Microsoft does the right and smart things with this buy before they destroy the game.
Just think, it’s only a matter of time before we see something like this.
The publication of this article would not have been possible without the input from the following people:
Geekmaster Sokolow, Gregg Alston, Krystal Heart, Allistair McGaire, Richard Allen, Erik and Klaire Metzger, Amanda Willing, Bethany Kolman, Leanne Parsons, and Alex ‘North’ Byrom.
Thank you all so much for your various knowledge on the topic.