Opinions

Microsoft and Mojang- Not a Good Combination?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

–The Editor

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Microsoft Buys Mojang

On Monday, Microsoft announced that it had purchased ‘Minecraft’ administrator and owner Mojang for $2.5 billion, 25% more than the original deal was rumored to be valued at.

While this will make Mojang some cash and will give them some advantageous connections in the extensive reach of the huge tech company, I have some concerns that this sale will affect Mojang’s sales and will affect the physical structure of the game, which I enjoy playing very much.

Stay tuned this weekend for my 3 points on why this deal might have some unfortunate results. Follow The Bengal Review so you can see immediately when the post comes out!

—The Editor

If you liked this post, please like, reblog, and follow The Bengal Review with 17 others.

Apple Announces Date for WWDC Conference

WWDC 2014

Today Apple announced that its annual developer conference, WWDC, will take place this year from June 2 to June 9 at the Moscone West Center in San Francisco, California.

What should you expect from this year’s WWDC? Watch closely for updates to iOS and OS X. Apple might even release iOS 8 and Mac OS 10.10. However, you never know if Apple just has a big update to iOS 7 or OS X Mavericks up their sleeve for this June. Apple might also update Mac hardware, but it probably won’t happen.

I will not be going, but if you would like to go, you can visit Apple’s website to buy tickets. Registration closes on April 7 at 10 am PT, because this year tickets will be given out based on a lottery.

Watch out for the keynote address on June 2! Apple is streaming it and other sessions over their website.

What do you think Apple will announce at WWDC ’14? Click on the title for this post and comment at the bottom at the page!

Don’t forget to follow!

—The Editor

External Links and Sources:
Apple Sets June Date For Developer Conference- Wall Street Journal

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Samsung Galaxy Gear

galaxygear

A few months ago we did a post on whether the iWatch, a product supposed by some to be Apple’s next big product launch, would be a good idea for Apple. View the iWatch Article However, looks like Samsung got to it first, with the new Samsung Galaxy Gear Smart Watch.

Samsung announced their new smart-watch with another interesting ad campaign, following their usual slogan, “The Next Big Thing is Here”, and this time they might be right. Paired with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which was released alongside the Galaxy Gear, Samsung is trying to keep users from having to pull out their mini-tablet of a phone to check key notifications.

From my understanding, the Note 3 is so big that the Galaxy Gear is a downsized extension of the phone. So, instead of looking at features of the Galaxy Gear (which are basically the same as we projected in the iWatch article), I’d like to project whether this new product will be beneficial to Samsung, and, if so, to what extent.

Galaxy Gear is pretty pricey. At $299, this smartwatch trumps its main competitor, the Pebble Smartwatch, priced at $150. Its big brother, the Galaxy Note 3, is $750 to boot, but Galaxy Gear comes much cheaper when bought together with the Note 3.

The Galaxy Gear does work with other Samsung devices, specifically the Samsung Galaxy SIII and S4, as well as the Galaxy Note 2 and 10.1. This means if you are buying the Galaxy Gear to pair it with your older Samsung device, you will have to pay the hefty price. If you want to buy the Note 3 and the Galaxy Gear together, you will have to pay $600 outright, not even counting the price for a two-year contract. Ouch!

This heavy price, I believe, will cause the average tech consumer to neglect the Galaxy Gear. Even though it is a great idea and has a spectacular design, the price will cause anyone but die-hard Samsung fans to turn away from Galaxy Gear. In order to appeal to average consumers, Samsung needs to chop the price of the Galaxy Gear, or say goodbye to potential buyers.

Thanks for reading, and make sure to follow!

–The Editor

iOS 7- What and What Not to Think

iOS 7- What and What Not to Think

ios-7-logo

There are many opinions floating around in tech circles about iOS 7, Apple’s latest mobile software for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. However, these opinions are not all the same. There are strong arguments from both sides of the issue. Some say iOS 7 is what Apple needs to get back ahead of Samsung, but others think that it will not be able to accomplish this goal. So, with all these opinions out there, what is the average Apple user to do?

Well, let me start by saying that if you want iOS 7, you might have to upgrade your device. If you have an Apple Product that is currently being sold by Apple retail, you’re good. But if you don’t, you’ll have to upgrade for iOS 7.

Just to give a little background, iOS 7 is dramatically different from iOS 6. It features a dynamic new UI (user interface) design, and comes with many sleek new features like iTunes Radio. In my opinion, it is a worthy upgrade. To form your own opinion, I would recommend reading a full summary of the new features from a website like Macworld, or watching the WWDC Keynote Address for yourself. (See external links below).

ios 7 screen

Some tech writers say that iOS 7 is not a worthy upgrade. These people believe that the UI update is not going to be effective and that Apple should have pursued something that was “actually a gamechanger”. I have to respectfully disagree with them. I believe the sleek new update with its new features will definitely help Apple, but don’t take my word for it! Look it up and form your own opinion! Also, look out for iOS 7 this fall!

-The Editor

External links:
Macworld Article on iOS 7
Watch the WWDC 2013 Keynote

iWatch: Good or Bad Idea for Apple?

iWatch: Good or Bad Idea for Apple?

Over the past month, images and other details have been leaked about the iWatch, Apple’s newest product branch. This multicolored device would supposedly allow the user to access notifications from their iPhone, but on their wrist. Of course, Apple is very private, and has not released official images, pricing, or release dates, but the goal of this article is not to predict features of the iWatch, but to analyze if it will be a success or failure for Apple.

To start, I want to briefly share what the iWatch would do. Basically, it would be an extension of iPhone notifications that could be easily accessible from your watch. The iWatch could also hold Siri, music, SMS messaging, and other accessories. For a more in-depth analysis on iWatch features, please see the external links section below.

Now, to the business analysis section. Let’s start by making the common statement that Apple is kind of just sitting there. They haven’t released a new product or branch since November, and their stock and presence in the smartphone market is slowly but steadily declining. Like others, I’d say this is definitely a serious problem. So, a new launch would probably stimulate growth and product sales for Apple. As this device would be a helpful accessory for iPhone, it could also encourage same-time sales for iPhone and iWatch. iPhone is a top-selling product for Apple, so this would definitely make iWatch popular.

The only question is: Would people want the iWatch? Is it worth the potentially substantial price? iPhone is already so fast and accessible that you can see your notifications easily as long as your iPhone is within reach. So, why would you need the iWatch? This is the question many gadget experts are asking. As this is a more opinionated article, I would like to state my belief about the iWatch. I believe that Apple should pursue another product, like a new iPad or iPhone, instead of manufacturing the iWatch. I personally don’t believe that this is a good investment for apple, but hey, you never know. Look what people said about the iPhone.

 External Links and References:

MacWorld article on iWatch