Market analyst Piers Harding-Rolls has said that the expected union of Microsoft and Mojang is a very low-risk move for the platform holder.
Minecraft is a franchise built to last, making the likely heavy investment required to secure Mojang significantly less risky than many other recent acquisitions within the games or app sectors,” he said.
It's also clear that Xbox users love Minecraft, having seen the game come to Xbox 360 first out of the consoles in 2012. Across its console iterations, the Xbox 360 version at over 12m has heavily outsold all other versions, underlining that if future iterations or expansions of Minecraft are made exclusive, that the company already has a large legion of fans to work with across its own devices.”
Harding-Rolls goes on to say that few brands have so comfortably succeeded on as broad a range of devices, meaning it will be flexible to move across various products as Microsoft's strategy grows and shifts.
Growth for the brand in emerging markets such as China remains very realistic, too, while the game also compliments Microsoft's interest in games in education.
The analyst does acknowledge the somewhat negative reaction from parts of the video games community, however, and says that Microsoft cannot afford to allow the game to stray too far from its independent roots.
There has been some understandable consternation in response to this rumour from some of the most vocal fans across the Minecraft community,” he added. Part of this is related to the threat of exclusivity on Microsoft-related devices, or future changes to the Minecraft experience but it is also a response to the potential acquisition of a fervently independent developer by a company of the scale of Microsoft.
If the acquisition comes to fruition, Microsoft's challenge will be to maintain the spirit of Minecraft while developing the franchise in a commercially meaningful way. With around 40 employees at Mojang, this is the sort of acquisition which can easily get lost in a huge organisation like Microsoft, and this factor is probably the main threat to longer term success.”