Micro-Mining

Simply stated, the popular video game Minecraft, is a game which includes placing and building blocks. Hasn’t this game come and gone already? Haven’t the likes of Tetris and Bejeweled exhausted themselves? To state it simply: NO.

A Minecraft rendition of Main Quad, created by Julian Guerra.
A Minecraft rendition of Main Quad, created by Julian Guerra.

Minecraft, though moderately more intuitive then Tetris or Bejeweled, is one of the best-selling independent games on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Xbox of all time, and has sold over 20 million copies since its release in 2009. The public opinion of the game is split between viewing it as a “big waste of time,” or a medium for “creativity and learning.” Like most video games, Minecraft can seem to have both effects on its users. Minecraft users find themselves dropped randomly into a number of uniquely, generated terrains in which there are little to no instructions or objectives to accomplish. Furthermore, this scenario for the game’s users is what seems to have kept it alive and lucrative for the last six years. Children, teenagers, and even adults are said to enjoy this virtual world regularly, and it doesn’t appear that this trend is going to cease anytime soon.

Microsoft announced last week that they’ll officially be purchasing Mojang AB, the developer of Minecraft, for $2.5 billion. NPR’s Laura Sydell reports that, “the move displays a shift in strategy for the company’s new CEO.” Satya Nadella took over for former CEO, Steve Ballmer, back in February, and it appears that he’s wasting no time in broadening Microsoft’s consumer audience. Microsoft holds much of its status in its Windows Phone, PC, and especially Xbox, but with this purchase, it appears that Microsoft is looking to champion something that’s already working. Because of Minecraft’s versatile audience, Microsoft sees the current evolution of the “gamer” and that s/he is becoming much more diverse.  Microsoft’s other long-time popular game, Halo, though very lucrative, is one that appeals to a very specific demographic (i.e. men and teenagers). Minecraft players include men and women of all ages, and Microsoft is seeking to capitalize off of the wide range of availability this purchase offers its users.

It’s key for Minecraft’s most dedicated users to have access to the game on any and all devices, at any and all times. With the continued development of technology and entertainment such as tablets, smart phones, computers, and watches, Nadella’s purchase looks to be an educated, smart business move.  As children, teenagers, and adults continue to indulge in the virtual world of Minecraft, whether for creative or entertainment purposes, the newly established relationship between Microsoft and Minecraft looks to be a lucrative one.