Originally, The Wall Street Journal broke a story about Microsoft allegedly buying Minecraft for more than $2 billion. Since then, fans, critics, and news outlets have been drawn to the story like Creepers to Minecrafters. Most recently, the word has been that the price has increased to about $2.5 billion and that the transaction may be officially announced Monday. That’s a large price for a game -- in fact, to our quick research, it may be the most expensive video game acquisition in history -- but there might be reasons for buying it.
One of the driving factors for Microsoft to want Minecraft is potential implementation on the Windows Phone, since Minecraft has been released on iOS and Android but not Microsoft’s mobile OS. This reason alone is -- we believe -- weak, so we turn toward other longer-term possibilities: DLC, sequels, merchandise, entertainment media, and comics are just some of the ways that Microsoft could capitalize on an entire generation of games who will remember Minecraft like older generations remember the SNES, Nintendo 64, or Galaga. Having an entire generation who remembers Minecraft that fondly is certainly a large opportunity to capitalize on going forward, but $2.5 billion is still a hefty price to pay
What’s most concerning about the acquisition, though, is how the buy could affect Minecraft and its philosophy. Minecraft has been open to modding, fan-run servers, and Minecraft Creator Notch even expressed a desire to open source the game code upon “completion” of the game. Should this purchase of Minecraft go through, it will likely not ever be open sourced; modding may be restricted, and fan-run servers could be limited in new ways. To add to these worries, we’re curious about what happens to Minecraft on Android, iOS, Linux, and the PS4. That being said, Microsoft could leave it largely the same, and primarily bring more money to develop and expand Minecraft. Until Monday, we can only speculate.
What I’m most curious about is what Mojang will do with $2.5 billion.
- Michael "The Bear" Kerns.