What Microsoft’s purchase of Mojang means in a wider context
The big news in the PC gaming world this week has been Microsoft’s $2.5bn purchase of Swedish game developers Mojang, or more specifically, their mega-hit, Minecraft.
Is this just another example of a big tech company buying development rights to an indie PC game? Or is there more to the deal than meets the eye?
Initially, the sale was not universally popular amongst Minecraft’s legions of fans, but Mojang’s own Owen Hill was quick to quell the disquiet. Writing on Mojang’s blog on September 15th, he explained that Mojang had been working in close partnership with Microsoft since 2012 and that the independent firm are confident that Microsoft will uphold the original ethos of the game.
It is the unique social ‘ethos’ of Minecraft that some believe drew Microsoft to make the purchase in the first place. Minecraft truly is a game like no other; it is an online platform onto which users can project their own creativity, while also appreciating the creativity of others. These principles can be applied to other areas of the computing industry, such as IT support services, or idea management software.
To Forbes journalist Jonathan Salem Baskin, the implications of Minecraft as a social media tool are far greater than many recognise. He describes the product as less of a game and more of a “society-building tool”, and posits that its collaborative aspect makes it far more of a social media network than something like Facebook or Twitter;
“Minecraft reveals many of the qualities that inform true social engagement: An understanding of purpose, ways to measure progress, potential for failure (and capacity to do over), and the chance to get better through continued effort,” he wrote in an article on the Forbes website.
Minecraft has the potential to give its new owner a unique insight into the development of true social media platforms within products. While the creators of Minecraft believe that Microsoft have the tools to take their beloved creation forward, it could be the consumers of future Microsoft IT support products that truly reap the benefits of the tech giant’s latest acquisition.