Dear Microsoft: about that Minecraft deal

Minecraft

Hello. There is much excitement about the rumours that Microsoft is going to buy Minecraft. 

Two billion dollars is a lot of money. Familiar and suspicious! 

I hope it works out for you. Minecraft’s probably worth it. I think it’s the most important game in the world. I want Mojang, Notch, and everyone involved to succeed.

There is a worry though. Microsoft’s past record of supporting game studios gives me the fear. 

  • Rare, the studio behind Goldeneye, and one of the jewels in Nintendo’s crown, now make Kinect games. 
  • FASA, the force behind the PC’s best mech games are gone. 
  • Ensemble, the creator of Age of Empires are gone. 
  • Aces, the people behind Flight Simulator , are gone. 
  • Lionhead made three pretty good games, but now they seem to be flapping in the wind. 
  • Bungie ran off. 

There are more examples. But they’re a pretty bad precedent. 

Microsoft sometimes has a short attention span. As executives come and go, initiatives appear and disappear, studios that don’t conform to the new plan are orphaned, neglected and eventually disappear.  

Microsoft created some of the best PC games in the world, built DirectX, and made Windows into the best and most diverse gaming platform on the planet. Then you made us all create Games for Windows Live accounts and OH GOD THE HORROR. 

You want to get your money worth from Mojang so it’s super vital you don’t break it. Here’s why Minecraft is so special.

One: it is a brilliant, amazing piece of art. It’s culturally important.

Two: it doesn’t include any microtransactions (on PC). You buy it, and then you play it, and then you’re okay. 

Three: it is open and infinitely and easily extensible with mods, skins, maps, and much more.

Four: it’s available to practically every child on the planet if they own a computer or tablet or phone. Minecraft’s scale is now self-fulfilling. It will grow and grow and grow.  

There are things I think you could do to improve it.

  • I’d love for Mojang to have as much help as they need to bring updates out faster.
  • Mods and skins could be easier to install and run. It’s awful that so many mod download sites are swamped in porn ads. 
  • Take on the EULA fight. It’s ridiculous that vultures are preying on kids with crappy monetised launchers, and pay-to-win servers. 
  • Help us set up servers. You’re always banging on about the cloud - giving players the opportunity to manage their own world within the game would be quite the thing. 

There are things you mustn’t do.

  • Don’t make Minecraft exclusive to Xbox and Windows. Put it on everything, and if you can navigate the politics, it would be amazing if players on every platform could play together. 
  • Don’t restrict what modders can do with the game, in order to push the skins you can sell in microtransactions. Minecraft’s teaching an entire generation that screwing around with code is fun. 
  • Don’t get prissy about the kind of things players create. 2B2T is still an amazing achievement, with or without the swastikas. 
  • Don’t change the fundamental business model. It’s brilliant for parents that they only have to pay once. But knock yourself out with merchandise. More Lego please. 

Most of all. Please, please, please stick with it. Minecraft’s been around since 2009. It should still be with us in 2029. 

Please don’t screw it up.

Paladins
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Zyphron avatarHtorne avatar1N07 avatarDunKhanate avatar[UnuChild]-=DogeBuddy1130=- avatarawesometas003 avatar
Htorne Avatar
501
3 Years ago

Microsoft rep: "Oh would you be upset if we removed mod support uhh?"

Me: "Yes very"

Microsoft rep: "Let me just touch my nipple, please tell me how upset"

....

You just gave them the ultimate list - BTW this is a Southpark Reference

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1N07 Avatar
417
2 Years ago

Aaaaaand it's gone!

1
Zyphron Avatar
8
3 Years ago

Please listen Microsoft.

2
DunKhanate Avatar
2
2 Years ago

I strongly agree with this letter.

This all said, I'm having trouble seeing this ending well, and I think the views of the community will likely be ignored and the relationship between developer and gamer will be more distant (i.e. I think it will be the end of the golden age for Minecraft but not as bad as many are predicting). I do honestly think Notch's decision to sell Mojang was a poor one for the game, community and indie gaming in general (Mojang was the poster child).

Who to sell it was an even worse choice, as the letter states Microsoft hasn't a great record with this stuff. It's not EA but that's a pretty small silver lining. Too many good companies have been hollowed out and left as husks by MS already, I just hope they've learned from their mistakes.

It was the best decision for Notch himself though, and I can't begrudge him it from that angle. He wanted to disassociate himself and move on from the pressure of making the next Minecraft. Of course, he never really needed to make the next Minecraft to begin with and I think the perceived pressure will come back as strong soon after this sale, but I think it was probably necessary for his well being to at least try. So another small silver lining.

Now, hopefully my cynicism is unjustified and I'll be proven wrong. Maybe MS will prove to be a good steward of subsidiaries against expectations. But for now I'm going to cut out Minecraft (back to Legos!) and check back in several months, if it all goes to pot it'll be easier to not see it slowly happening over time. This whole business is a great shame.

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[UnuChild]-=DogeBuddy1130=- Avatar
1

i have yet to be on a website with a mod that even has a woman in a bikini so your "swamped with porn ads" quote is complete bullshit.

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awesometas003 Avatar
2
2 Years ago

You make a great point. Microsoft are assholes, and they always have been. I'm not saying that they're terrible or anything like that, but they are pretty bad. But, trust me, if Microsoft screws this up, the community is going to start World War 3.

1
awesometas003 Avatar
2
2 Years ago

I don't think Bungie "ran off". Destiny was a pretty good game.

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