If you have kids in your life - children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews - odds are you've heard about Minecraft. My son, Ian, absolutely loves the fun, retro game where players call the shots with no rules.
Basically, the game lets you build your own world made completely out of blocks. It gives the game a chunky, vintage look that's been a big hit with kids. Players start by creating structures to protect their character from monsters. Then, they can team up with other players to venture into new worlds and build tons of new stuff.
I think kids love the game so much because there aren't any rules to follow. If they can imagine it, odds are they can build it with their blocks and Minecraft. Originally, the game was only offered on PC. But, it has now expanded to gaming consoles and Apple and Android gadgets, encouraging even more players to pour in.
But now there could be another big change in store for this fan favorite that has some players up in arms. A giant tech company is now in talks to buy Mojang, the company that makes Minecraft. And, it's willing to spend a lot of money to do it. But, if Minecraft's success continues, will this look like a smart investment in the long run?
Minecraft for sale?
I'm hearing reports that software giant Microsoft is in talks to buy Mojang for $2 billion! That might seem like a lot of money, but Minecraft has the ability bring in some serious cash for Microsoft. That's because the game actually makes money on its own. Unlike many other online game companies, Mojang has a simple model already in place to turn a profit.
In an era when many games, especially for mobile devices, are given away, and derive their profit from the sale of virtual currency and other items, Mojang sells Minecraft the old-fashioned way — by charging people to buy a copy. The price varies depending on what kind of device people use to play the game, ranging from $7 on mobile phones to $27 for computer versions. A version of Minecraft for Microsoft’s Xbox, which has been a top seller for the console, costs $20.
The deal isn't done yet, but talks are heating up. The New York Times is reporting that a deal could be reached by the end of the month.
While a sale to Microsoft probably won't change the gameplay experience for Minecraft fans, some are shocked that the independent, no-rules environment could be rocked by a stuffy corporate giant. After all, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. On the other hand, Microsoft could bring the game to even more platforms. This deal could give Microsoft a big boost as it looks to compete on the mobile gaming front with Apple and Android gadgets. Currently, it's not available on Windows Phone or Microsoft's Windows Store. Its graphics also haven't been updated for the Windows 8's new interface. If the deal actually goes through, I expect Microsoft will make these changes and probably more. How the players react is yet to be seen.