Microsoft’s Plans for Minecraft

Wondering where Microsoft will take Minecraft?  Well – one person’s guess is as good as another’s, unless that other person works for Microsoft.  Today I will be discussing some of the varying vantage points of what direction our beloved game will head in now that its purchase is official.

 

First off: Microsoft has released a statement saying that they expect to make at least $25,000,000 off of Minecraft over the next year.  $25 million may not seem like much in the face of this $2.5 billion acquisition, but this is only their first year and that number is sure to snowball into something larger.  This figure came based on Microsoft’s calculation that their original $2.5b would generate $25m in interest over the course of a year.

 

So how long would it take Microsoft to make back their money at a rate of $25m per year?  Well – that’s exactly one percent of their spending cost, so roughly 100 years.  Ouch.  But Microsoft is officially planning a release for the game to the Windows phone, which will undoubtedly boost their numbers in future years.  Expect to see some significant changes otherwise to bring about further income.

 

That $25 million has another facet to it, though – essentially, by making this much money per-year minimum, Microsoft has spent a flat $2.5 billion for a game that they can now officially brand as their own.  Simply having their name tied to this game is an enormous PR boost.  I would not be surprised to see Minecraft making the rounds in many of Microsoft’s other productions as well – advertisements, TV spots, possibly even on their website.

 

Another interesting point should be raised here.  Now that they own the game, it could feasibly come preinstalled on new computers.  Microsoft has a long history of doing this.  I wouldn’t go so far as to see a price hike on new PCs for the inclusion of Minecraft, but it certainly helps boost sales and customer satisfaction to know that one’s new computer will be ready to play their favorite game right out of the box.

 

As Jonathan Salem Baskin of Forbes magazine brings to light, Minecraft is a very social game.  It is in fact more of a social phenomenon than anything – as a sandbox game, there is no definitive goal, and much of the experience relies on players interacting with each other.  I fully and absolutely expect Microsoft to capitalize on this.  More achievements, friend lists, mail systems, dedicated servers for community interaction – I expect to see all of this and more.

 

Finally, something that I mentioned in a previous post about this very subject is that Minecraft is a huge educational tool.  People are using it to teach children and adults alike various concepts, ranging from programming to art and even science.  Microsoft would be foolish not to capitalize on this aspect of the game.  Whether it be selling educational Minecraft mods to schools or simply hosting dedicated educational servers, it is definitely something plausible for the future.

 

While this is not something I expect to happen, I would also like to add one note of something I would appreciate from Microsoft: official mods.  I know half of the fun of Minecraft is that players can be creative with the game, but I am itching for someone to release a truly professional mod.  In fact, I think something like a purchase and takeover of Forge to formally incorporate it into the game would be fantastic.

 

What are your thoughts on my idea?  Leave them in the comments below.  I would love to hear what you all have to think about Minecraft’s future with Microsoft!

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