As I posted recently, Microsoft announced on Monday that they had purchased Mojang, the company that developed one of the biggest gaming successes in this decade: Minecraft. While there are obvious advantages to being owned by a larger company and Mojang has gained a huge amount of capital from the $2.5 billion deal, I was greatly disturbed by this news. I’ve been playing Minecraft for about four years and I don’t want the game to change as I think it will under this deal. Here are three reasons why I think that this sale will change Minecraft forever and why things should just stay as they are with regards to Mojang.
- There’s No Need to Sell- Mojang was founded about four years ago. Since the launch of Minecraft around that time, Mojang’s position has been just like any other successful tech company-they have provided a great product (in this case a game) which people love and therefore buy. Mojang’s sales of Minecraft haven’t hit any slumps even as the price has gone up from $21 USD to $30 USD. My point is- there’s no need to sell! Mojang has been doing amazing in sales and therefore, in my opinion, should have kept doing what they did independently from Microsoft.
- Minecraft’s Structure would Change- I’ve had concerns in thinking about this sale that the physical structure of Mojang’s main product, Minecraft, will drastically change. Basically, there are three main platforms for this game: computers (Minecraft PC version), mobile devices (Minecraft Pocket Edition) and video game consoles. Within these platforms, there are both single-player, locally-based ways to play and multiplayer, server-based ways to play. I am concerned that multiplayer servers, which encompass some of the most creative and engaging ways to play, will be outsourced from the computers of people who run the servers to Microsoft-based servers. The best thing about this game in my opinion is that indie-game feel of compatibility and customization in the game, and I am concerned that selling Mojang to Microsoft (or any other tech company, even my beloved Apple) will severely limit these benefits.
- Loss of Sales for Mojang- Think about it. When Apple, Google, Yahoo or Microsoft buys a smaller tech company, they integrate that company’s services into their products, whether it be a large company like Beats by Dr. Dre or Tumblr or a tiny tech company that specializes in one essential thing. My fear is that since Minecraft is now Microsoft’s product, Microsoft will begin to outsource the PC version of the game with their Windows software. Essentially, this move would eliminate a large segment of Mojang’s biggest product market, owners of Windows PC computers. If someone gets a Windows computer, instead of spending the $30 they might expend to get the game, they would have it free for immediate download, somewhat like Windows Live Essentials. Also, Microsoft might ship Minecraft Pocket Edition with its tablet and phone software as an installed app, nullifying another HUGE mobile moneymaker (the app sells at $7 USD). As Mojang doesn’t really have any other well-known products other than Minecraft, if Microsoft distributes Minecraft in this way, I worry that Mojang itself might almost cease to exist and that Minecraft might become merely a Microsoft asset and a perk for buying Microsoft products.
To sum up, I completely understand how Markus Persson (or Notch, as you might know him) feels like Minecraft is getting too big for him to manage and still work on other projects. I also completely understand the advantages and capital brought in for Mojang by this deal. However, I don’t know if Microsoft and Mojang are a good combination. I think that this sale will have some ill effects for Mojang because Mojang has done fine and had huge sales independently, because the physical structure of Minecraft could change as a result of the deal, and because there could potentially be a huge loss of sales for Mojang as a result of the deal. I understand that there are pros and cons, but just worry about the possible undesirable impact on Minecraft players and Mojang itself.
What do you think? Please leave your opinion in the comments below and also please reblog this post to foster some good discussion!