Requiem for Minecraft

Below is a post I’ve had in my Drafts for a while now. Sadly, Microsoft is buying Mojang without the creative minds behind it.

As any parent knows, MineCraft is white hot. What makes this game popular? The game is constructed in such a way to avoid violence as a principal motivator. A player can farm, mine, build, or fish. Games within games can be created. This opens the door to both genders resulting in exciting interactive play with friends. Whether the game developers realize it or not, MineCraft draws upon the experience of the early days in computing, only using modern computing power.

What technology drives MineCraft? Java. The promises of Java yesterday have come to fruition today. Platform support includes Windows, Mac OS X, and drum roll….Linux! Write once, run anywhere. As a person whose desktop is Linux only, it is nice this program work so well, including 3D OpenGL graphics. The author of MineCraft, Mojang, offers a free to use server version.

Below is a Planet Money segment on MineCraft.

The above segment talks about the business model of MineCraft, and folks, it’s simple. Buy it, and play it forever, without advertising, marketing, or in-app purchases. How quaint! It just shows how we have lost our way when driven to maximize profits. The world of mobile is a very dirty, creepy place when it comes to big data.

Mojang did none of this and created a game for all people of all ages and both genders, open ended…let the brain explore just for the sake of it, and look what happened. Profits followed for Mojang, with the lead developer owning a majority of Mojang, and therefore getting a majority of a 2.5 billion dollar buy out. It should be a lesson to the people hell bent on squeezing every penny out of our children, but it won’t. The big data way is the easy way. It’s easy to sell investors when you have all sorts of data surreptitiously taken from your customers that can be shaped, repacked, and sold to anyone willing to buy. It’s disgusting.

Job well done, Mojang. Thank you for the fun. After reading why you sold it, it is completely understandable.

What can we expect for MineCraft now that Microsoft owns it? If history is any guide, then a game written in a language that Microsoft did not invent running on operating systems that Microsoft does not sell…well, you get the idea. Microsoft is a big data company, too. Now, how can they increase market share and profits for their investors with MineCraft? The ways are innumerable, and also counter to what MineCraft was. Yes, it’s the past tense now, because it will never be the same. The first comment on the Planet Money link sums it up the best:

Game Over


Markus Persson, Mojang
New York Times
NPR’s Planet Money
NPR’s Planet Money Transcript

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