If there’s one name that has seemingly become synonymous with the current gaming landscape, it’s Minecraft. Not only can you throw a rock and stand a very good chance of hitting a device that has the game installed, but it represents the ideals of a new generation of gamers who have a mind for creation over rigidity. As such, it’s no surprise that the series and developer Mojang are quite sought-after and come Monday, it is rumored that gamers may find themselves faced with a rather large announcement.
What started as a rumor that Microsoft was in talks to purchase Minecraft developer Mojang could reportedly become a reality at the beginning of this week. According to a source close to the matter, the announcement of said acquisition is planned to occur on Monday. Given that Minecraft is over five years old at this point, what could the motivation for this union be?
Reported by Reuters, it is possible that the goal of Microsoft’s rumored acquisition of Mojang for $2.5 billion is part of a move to expand the scope of their Windows Phone brand. It’s no surprise that the PC giant’s foray into the smartphone market has not seen the kind of success that Apple and Samsung have. With this deal, Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund believes it’s possible that this is part of a plan to focus on the company’s affinity for gaming and bring it to the mobile sphere in a bigger way.
“We don’t view this acquisition as a signal of Microsoft’s intent to double down on Xbox but consider it an attempt to better address mobile on a cross-platform basis. This also appears to be consistent with (Microsoft) CEO Satya Nadella’s mobile and cloud strategy.”
Given that they have expressed interest in the use of controller attachments for their phones in the past and will actively be bringing ‘Halo Channel’ to mobile users, it’s not much of a stretch to assume that the next step for Microsoft and their Windows Phones is to better integrate the gaming world. Minecraft is consistently rated among the top paid apps for both Android and iOS and while it has yet to make its appearance on the Windows Phone platform, it’s never too late.
Being available on just about every modern platform imaginable, though, this hardly seems like it would be enough to sway users over to Microsoft’s phones. In its current state, the game has been tapped relentlessly and has become a household name. Being that it would hardly be an exclusive for the platform, it’s possible that Microsoft has plans to push for a sequel that would be able to take advantage of said exclusivity.
This is purely speculation at this point, of course, but despite the brand’s ongoing success, Minecraft is quickly reaching the point at which it will need to do something new to retain its place in the spotlight. Considering Microsoft’s evident interest in the company, there must be something up their sleeves. It’s unlikely that this will be a highlight of the announcement should it take place tomorrow, but it would not be at all surprising to hear that Microsoft’s plans for Minecraft and Mojang extend far outside just the mobile sphere.
Do you think the announcement of Microsoft acquiring Mojang and Minecraft will occur as rumored? What do you think Microsoft’s end goal is with this acquisition?
Follow Ryan on Twitter @ThatRyanB.