In the aftermath of Mojangsoft, we take a look at what could happen with Minecraft in the future. Right now, there are still no concrete details about Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang. In the blog post, some promises are made, but I wouldn’t put my money on all of them being true. The company is being bought out and while that doesn’t mean the game will turn sour instantly, it also doesn’t mean that everything will stay the same. There aren’t many more facts available out there. This article will be speculation and educated guesses on what this could entail…
Probably the most worrying part of the whole blog post has to do with the platforms listed. Minecraft has been released on pretty much every platform out there, and while in the blog post they claim all versions will be supported, they do not list Linux under the platforms. This does mean something and this is definitely a sign that future development will be limited or non-existent on the Linux platform (excluding Android). Linux is rising in popularity with gamers, a core user base for Microsoft’s possibly main product – Windows. Soon enough they will have to fight to keep this audience, and expect future Minecraft development, whatever form it might take in the future, to be a part of their anti-Linux fight.
Another thing that could be expected is Microsoft stepping back and reconsidering some past Mojang promises, for example, the Steam release. While at the time of this decision being made a solid choice, denying a Steam release for so long was not. This is potentially a lot of money just sitting there and Microsoft isn’t just going to leave a market untapped.
Continuing along the lines of “Mojang promises Microsoft might go back on” is the modding API. It should still be in development, but with the whole acquisition mess, it might never see the light of day. I just don’t see it aligning with how Microsoft usually does things (in their gaming division). I’d love to be proven wrong, it could all turn out wonderfully – Microsoft could release it on PC and work towards making it available on other platforms, pushing the envelope when it comes to modding. It could also turn the other way around, with my forecast being too optimistic and Microsoft just shutting down all modding so that they could churn out tons of DLC. It’s all speculation at this point.
Moving on, the promise made to Alpha Minecraft users was that we get every piece of content ever released for the PC version of the game. Stepping over that promise would be bad press for Microsoft, but they have to make money somehow. That somehow has to be a sequel to Minecraft. It’s the only way to avoid many of the dangers they could face in monetizing the game. The Java foundation, the alpha buyers promise, the “no-way-to-monetize-anymore” conundrum – all solved by simply making a new game.
2.5 billion is a ton of money. Money that cannot possibly be made back just through the continuing sales of Minecraft despite it still being popular and selling well on a bunch of platforms. Merchandising is probably their best bet, and expanding the audience is the way to sell more merchandise. This is why I do not think that this Minecraft sequel will be an Xbox One exclusive. It’s possible, but I do not think it is likely. Selling more copies on more hardware and driving merchandise sales up is way more profitable. Expect exclusive content and some sort of incentive to get it on that platform, but no downright exclusivity.
While the blog post goes into detail answering some of the questions you might have (and you should definitely check it out), the jist of it is that they are promising that not much will change while purposefully avoiding outright denying any of the worries the community has about the deal.
Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.
To me, this sounds like a nice way to say “Microsoft will demand their conditions be met or Minecraft 2 will not be on their platform.”
When all is said and done, we have a good guess of where Microsoft could take the game we all know and love, but we don’t really know exactly what will happen. It could be something good, it could be something bad. It could be a little bit of both. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any other updates related to the acquisition and anything else Minecraft related, so stay tuned.