What does the Microsoft Acquisition of Mojang Mean for the future of Minecraft?

Yesterday Mojang, makers of Microsoft, was bought for a cool $2.5 million. Nice. But what will this mean for the devoted legions of Minecraft fans?

For a start, the creator of Minecraft as well as the other founders are leaving and the developers are being made part of Microsoft Studios. But it’s interesting to contrast the announcements from both companies, as well as spotting what is both said and not said.

One of the main questions being asked is “what about the other editions of Minecraft? Will they stop being developed?”. Mojang say

There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop.

That really says nothing definite. Microsoft, however, say

Microsoft plans to continue to make “Minecraft” available across all the platforms on which it is available today: PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.

There’s some key words here – “will continue to make… available”. Not continue to develop. And see what’s missing – Vita, the one version not yet released.

The Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios, which includes the studios behind global blockbuster franchises “Halo,” “Forza,” “Fable” and more.

And those 3 examples are very telling – all 3 franchises are only available for Windows and Xbox (although Fable is also on Mac). Microsoft Studios, not different from Sony and Nintendo, restrict their games to their own platform to promote growth. Why would Minecraft be any different? No, they’re not going to suddenly scrap the existing PlayStation versions – that would be stupid – but I suspect the long term development on these platforms will be non-existent. I’d expect some great new features being added to Minecraft in due course, but on PC and Xbox platforms.

But with the creator of the game leaving, what do Microsoft have? A group of developers, obviously talented, but how they are different to those they already have? They haven’t bought the brains behind the franchise (and some would say that Microsoft have bought into it quite late) but the product and the name. Expect future releases to be part of a Microsoft vision of what Minecraft should be, complete with every money-making scheme they can think of.

There’s also a concern about what being part of Microsoft will mean for the community – there are many videos on YouTube created with Minecraft that Microsoft may not like but Mojang are accepting of. Will a change to the stricter Microsoft mean a change for players?

That doesn’t mean the future for Minecraft is bleak as we have no idea Microsoft’s intention for the game. As I say above, I strongly believe that the game is doomed on non-Microsoft platforms but, otherwise, Microsoft need to keep the players engaged and on their side. There is hope.. I just won’t be investing in a PlayStation version of the game anytime soon.

One response

  1. Rachel Maddison avatar
    Rachel Maddison

    Fab article David, I had no idea that Mojang were even considering selling! I don’t think we’ll be getting any more free updates of the game either, Microsoft hate giving away anything for free

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