The recent announcement of Microsoft buying Mojang, the developers of gaming phenomenon Minecraft has resulted in responses ranging from excitement to disbelief to outright hostility.
The main concerns are that Microsoft is going to monetize the game into oblivion but I think they have a different plan in mind. Money will still be a factor but it will be via method that already proven itself elsewhere in the company.
I think what we could see will become the gaming equivalent of Office365; apps exist on iOS and Android but there are additional benefits to those using the product within the Microsoft ecosystem. This approach has been steadily gaining traction and is becoming a big money maker for them. It’s been a very effective counter to Google Docs.
So now, imagine if you are playing Minecraft and you want to access your PS4 world on your Android phone… you need a OneDrive account to share it and perhaps some DLC on both platforms to activate it. That’s a first step into the MS ecosystem.
But then they make that feature free for those with Xbox, Windows & Phone. With such a large install base of players, they can afford to be subtle and offer inducements to lure players over and if the players don’t want to jump they continue to make money from them.
And that could be the beauty of such an approach. For some, the status quo remains and they can continue to enjoy the game. For others, they have an opportunity to take their game experience further if they are willing to buy into Microsoft’s services.
Of course this is just me having a good old guess but I’d be surprised if they are not thinking about it.