A Notch in the Belt of Microsoft

Yep, another special midweek edition. This one isn’t about flash fiction — although some gamers may hope this is fiction, but it’s not — it’s about the biggest gaming news in years. That’s my opinion, but prove me wrong. Can’t, can ya’?

microsoft logo roundThe major gaming announcement this week is that the Microsoft Corporation has purchased Mojang AB (owner of the popular Minecraft video game) for $2.5 billion USD. That’s billion… with a B. I know what you’re thinking: But Patti, in the 2014 fiscal year Microsoft Corporation’s net profit was 22.07 billion USD; they can afford it.

You’ve convinced me. They can afford it, and it might just be the best money they’ve spent lately. Why?

Avatar_Creeper_100x100Markus Persson (aka Notch to the gaming world), Swedish programmer and kingpin of Minecraft, has been a thorn in Microsoft’s side of late. First, with his anti-Windows 8 stance. Remember, he refused to update Minecraft to work without OpenGL? Trust me, he did. That’s how this blog got started. See my first post Finally a Fix for Windows 8 OpenGL Error.

Persson also stated there was no pressing reason to create a Minecraft version for Microsoft’s Windows phones. Minecraft is one of iPhone and Android’s most popular mobile apps, and those two operating systems have a 95% share of the world mobile market according to Business Insider. Microsoft Windows phones are barely a speck on the smartphone horizon. Could there be a correlation? Possibly. But I do see a trend Microsoft could well want to take a Notch out of.

Well, Mr. Persson, tick off a gigantic corporation and watch their thinktank wheels turn. They usually will come up with an offer you can’t refuse. And you didn’t. Why sell your baby to a company you obviously despise?

Since its launch in 2009, Minecraft has sold over 50 million copies for PC’s, smartphones, and video game consoles. Its annual revenue last year was $290 million. While that’s small potatoes for Microsoft, it’s sizable for a company like Mojang AB.

Minecraft is taking off like wild-fire. There are Minecraft-themed camps, Halloween costumes, Scholastic gaming guides, Lego characters, and a soon-to-be Warner Bros. movie. Don’t forget the online Minecraft projects, YouTube and Twitch tips and tricks posts, and teachers using it to educate students in computer programming classes. Oh, and Minecraft is one of the most played Xbox games in the world.

Its popularity is the core of the problem. Persson can’t keep up. He’s frustrated managing something so large, plus he’s having difficulty keeping development pace with demanding Minecraft fans.

giant babyIn essence, Persson’s baby has grown too big for him to care for. His best course of action is to find someone with experience to nurture it and see to its future.

But before we get too sentimental, don’t forget he had 2.5 billion reasons to entrust the baby’s care to Microsoft.

Persson posted on his personal website: “Thank you for turning ‘Minecraft’ into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big.”

Serious gamers are grumbling a corporate takeover will ruin Minecraft’s homegrown, Indie flavor. But honestly, I saw this coming when Walmart started selling Minecraft plushies. That was the beginning of the end for the Indie marketing strategy.

What’s my opinion and thoughts for Minecraft’s future?

Personally, I think this could be a very good thing for Minecraft fans. A friend mentioned his hopes of Microsoft stabilizing Minecraft’s online servers. I hadn’t even thought about that.

Things I had thought about were new game content, and more rapid implementation of suggested improvements. I’d also thought about corporate greed. Will Microsoft decide to offer added Minecraft features and content for money? Currently, you buy Minecraft — $7 to $27 USD depending on the platform for play — and everything is included; all updates are free.

Nobody really know how this scenario will play out, but let’s pray there are relatively few growing pains.

Have a great rest of the week, and thanks again for stopping by Patti’s Pathways. 😀


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.


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