When Microsoft purchased Minecraft for $2.5 billion in 2014 there was a lot of concern by the community that Microsoft planned to make the software Windows-only and use it to bolster the Windows Store, eventually killing the platform.
Today Minecraft is available on even more platforms than 2014, including even in virtual reality on the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR.
It turns out Microsoft’s good stewardship of the software is no accident, as Microsoft sees great potential in the platform.
Speaking to Business Insider, Matt Booty, the Microsoft exec who oversees Minecraft said Microsoft saw Minecraft as a “platform for innovation” that encourages player creativity, and as computing moves away from the keyboard and mouse, the software offered a prototype for helping people “achieve more” in the future.
BI notes a whole generation is growing up with Minecraft as their standard way of expressing ideas and concepts in three dimensions, the same way that Microsoft Word is the standard for writing term papers and reports.
“A lot of young people growing up, [Minecraft is] how kids will represent how the world is to them,” Booty says.
Microsoft felt with the right care the Minecraft brand could be around 100 years into the future, much like the Mattel and Lego brands (which both date to the 1940’s) are still ever green.
“There’s no reason Minecraft couldn’t be one of those brands,” Booty says. “Decisions that are being made have the potential to affect things 5 to 10 years down the road.”
As part of that stewardship Microsoft has for example limited in-game advertising, merchandizing, committed to remain open for mods, even bringing this to mobile, and made sure the game is available on as many platforms as possible, and are working on creating a unified space for all the different platforms to play together.
The next step for the game is Minecraft Realms, a paid subscription service which would allow players to play together, not just on a local network, but from anywhere in the world.
Microsoft is also working hard on keeping players, both young and old engaged in the game, noting that despite the average age of their player being 29, they need to be careful not to market the game as a kids or adult game, or risk losing a part of the audience.
Microsoft said they had every intention of keeping Minecraft great for all players, on all devices, no matter how they like to play.
“There shouldn’t be any more worries,” said Jonas Martensson, the CEO of Mojang.