Microsoft + Minecraft = Mistake?

Are you aware of Minecraft? You’re about to be. Rumors are swirling around the tech industry that technology giant Microsoft Corp. will purchase Minecraft from Mojang for a reported 2.5 billion dollars, but will Microsoft’s latest acquisition be worth its multi-billion dollar price tag? Microsoft Corp. envisions a profitable future for the franchise where significant opportunities abound. Such opportunities exist because of the nature of Minecraft itself. Literally.

Game producer Mojang created Minecraft to be unlike any gaming platform of its kind. It’s originality lays in its premise. Minecraft is a “sandbox game”. Each user constructs an original reality within the dimensions of the game meaning that no two users have the same user experience. Explore Minecraft further here.

Other PC game franchises are limiting compared to Minecraft. Popular titles like Call of Duty and Microsoft’s mega-hit, Halo, have preconceived storylines users must follow. So the visual components and actual game content that users see while they play never changes. A Minecraft user describing the game said that “in Minecraft, literally, you’re put in a world where you’re allowed to explore, and the world is never the same for two people”.

Minecraft's vastness is unparalleled.

Minecraft’s vastness is unparalleled.

The vast player demographics almost equal Minecraft’s vast dimensions. Literally anyone can play and take the same satisfaction away from its user experience. More importantly, Minecraft players have a deep level of correspondence with each other. Players spend many hours enveloped within the game and with each other.

minecraft

From a marketing perspective, great opportunities exist for Microsoft here.

Companies could feasibly pay Microsoft licensing fees and have their products placed within Minecraft for users to walk past and absorb – just as consumers do now with billboards, product placement and branding techniques seen in everyday life. Because Minecraft is an artificial reality of sorts, why would that reality exist outside the bounds of advertising?

This fact alone could mean substantial profit, but if Microsoft throws its monetary weight behind the game, franchising benefits could be astronomical. Digital films, product merchandising and subsequent titles are all fair game.

Though is this acquisition too little too late for Microsoft? What do you think of this struggling technology giant’s move into uncharted territory?

SOURCES

Could Minecraft Become Microsoft’s Next Halo? (AdWeek)
http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/could-minecraft-become-microsofts-next-halo-160047
With Minecraft Acquisition, Microsoft Reveals Its Desperation | WIRED (Wired.com)
http://www.wired.com/2014/09/microsoft-minecraft-mobile/
(The Wall Street Journal)
http://online.wsj.com/articles/microsoft-agrees-to-acquire-creator-of-minecraft-1410786190
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3 thoughts on “Microsoft + Minecraft = Mistake?

  1. I agree completely with you. There is a really funny (and of course disturbing) South Park episode about Minecrafts popularity and that is honestly the only reason why I’m aware of Minecraft. Adults and children seem to be hooked on the game. Exploring sneaking in some product placement would be a fantastic idea.

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  2. I am nearly unaware of Minecraft outside of the almost cultlike fan base. Im not sure if this was more than a good time to buy out for a large sum on the behalf of Minecraft.

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  3. Minecraft seems like a lot of fun… but that’s the secret gamer in me talking. I’m curious if Microsoft is interested in using the technology that Minecraft uses in order to create new applications/advertisements/whatever that can be personalized by the viewer/user. I’m not entirely sure how that would work out, but it definitely would be cool.

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