What has been showing up in my news feed as a rumor has come true today. Microsoft, the company behind the Windows Operating System, the Xbox game console series, and many other well known products, has purchased Mojang, the company behind the worlwide hit game Minecraft, for 2 and a half billion dollars.
Yes. $2,500,000,000 USD
Ignoring the fact that this is a massive sum paid for such a relatively small company, this means Microsoft will own Minecraft, one of, if not the largest gaming franchises around, and many people are rather upset about this.
Should they really be though? It is still too early to decide, but I will share what I think based on what I know.
Notch, the creator of Minecraft and the founder of Mojang, has stated that when the purchase is complete he, and some of the other top level people in Mojang, will leave the company. Notch said his reason to leave is that he does not want to be a part of the game anymore; that it has grown too big. While I think this is a little odd, considering I would think anyone making a video game would want it to do well. Then again, I can totally understand him not being able to deal with such, on a personal level, and simply wishing to bow out and let the game live its life.
So this means that Minecraft will be left without its original creator guiding the project. This to me is the greater issue than Microsoft itself. Presume Microsoft does not choose to change the company – they let them do what they want, and they simply rake in some of the profits from the Minecraft brand. This would be a win-win for everyone involved, including the players.
However, what if Microsoft cracks down and tries to “take over” the game by pushing its own people in, and changing how things are both in game, and in the way the game is sold and distributed – that could ruin the economic success of the game itself, and lessen the value of the brand overall.
The biggest concern for most people however is simply in if the game will continue to be sold for the PS3 / PS4, and other non-Microsoft hardware / software options. I think Microsoft would be insane to stop such, and they know it would be a terrible idea. They would do best continuing to have the game be released and updated for these consoles, basically playing a third party role.
I personally play on PC, and I feel the console versions are terribly inferior, but I do understand this is how many users play the game, so this is an important topic even though I do not play on console. Those versions are, to me, inferior in virtually every way to the PC release, but they are still important to the popularity of the game. Perhaps the resources Microsoft has will ensure the console versions come up to par with the PC version, and everyone will have an equal, high quality Minecraft experience.
Only time will tell. For now, I am optimistic about this event. Let’s see what happens.