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Microsoft's Minecraft Buy: 6 Interesting Facts

Microsoft acquisition of game developer Mojang is turning heads. Here's some context.

this route. Spencer said Microsoft will continue to make Minecraft available for, not only Xboxes and PCs, but also iOS and Android devices and Sony's PlayStation.

5. Minecraft gives Microsoft access to a motivated and diverse user community.
Some tech industry acquisitions are all about gaining new talent and technology, but others, such as Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp, are also about buying access to established user groups. Microsoft's latest move falls into this second category.

 

Spencer said Minecraft, which has more than 100 million users, is interesting because it appeals to such a broad spectrum of gamers and had organically developed such an active community. He said Microsoft's acquisition makes clear that the company is focused on gaming. He added that collecting community feedback will be a cornerstone of the company's strategy.

6. Minecraft fits snugly into Nadella's strategy.
Nadella's talked up the importance of gamers before, saying in July that, "The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming." The Minecraft acquisition not only fits into his cross-platform software strategy; it also will surely factor into Nadella's mobile-first, cloud-first tactics. Microsoft has already said the cloud will help Minecraft achieve even greater scale, after all, and upcoming Windows smartphones might look a bit more attractive with Minecraft pre-installed. We don't yet know whether Microsoft will give away Minecraft, but the company needs traction for its mobile OSs. That makes it easy to imagine a world in which Minecraft is free in the Windows Store, but costs $6.99 for iOS and Android users.

In an emailed statement, Prof. Mark Skilton of the UK's Warwick Business School said the move aligns well with Nadella's goals. He said the "number of concurrent users directly drives" revenue in most cloud monetization models, adding that the Mojang purchase "fits Nadella's strong leaning towards the mobile+cloud+services model."

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Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer