When I first heard the rumour of "Minecraft"s potential 2B buy I was a bit taken away. I was surprised because I'm not quite sure what exactly Microsoft hopes to accomplish with this move. And I was surprised that Markus ("notch") would even consider selling it. Not so much because "it's his baby" but more because, well, he doesn't seem to need the money. Minecraft makes boatloads of money as is, and let's face it; Markus is a made man.
Full disclosure; I never got into Minecraft. I'm not the open sandbox kind of player. I need to have a set goal in a game or I get pretty bored pretty quickly. I've enjoyed some Minecraft movies though. I've seen games, auto-plays, and even cpu-type levels. Awesome stuff. But nothing for me to play. So I'm not a Minecraft fanboi.
This post is not a rip on Markus. He can do whatever he wants and I have no strong feelings about this whole thing. Obviously Minecraft's future is not important to me and I can only hope Markus keeps doing what he was already doing; enjoy his life. I don't know the guy other than from fame and twitter. He tweets about games and has a similar attitude as me, that's why I follow him.
So back to the topic at hand. Why would Markus sell and why would Microsoft buy?
Markus had it made. It's actually something I can appreciate. He didn't have to work for money anymore. He could already just work on games or anything else (like a drivers license ;)). That's great. I want that. He didn't need more money for this. That's why I didn't think he'd want to sell Minecraft because, really, what do you need more money for if you already have more than you'll realistically spend. (I've read his and Mojangs statement on the matter, I kinda get that point) I don't want to speculate further than that.
Microsoft is different. What does Microsoft want with Minecraft. It's not like Minecraft was gonna go away any time soon. It provided a decent income for Mojang, as far as I could tell. So why would Microsoft need to throw this much money at it? I can only guess at this point and I don't want to get into that here either.
So to the point of this post. What about the money? In the end, 2.5B$ was spent on the deal. You cannot phantom how much money this is. No really, try it. It's unrealistic how high that amount is. And they spent it on one company, on a product that was already doing fine on its own, and on a handful of employees. On top of that, it turns out, they're not getting Markus so it must not be about that either.
What if instead they would have spent that much money on 2500 indie devs and gave them a game related carte blanche with a million dollars each? Holy shit can you imagine what that would do to your platform? Sure, it won't give you 2500 great games. But surely at least half of them would succeed and enrich the platform faster than any other. It's crazy how much money we're talking about here. There may not even be 2500 decent indie developers out there that would conceivably be on the receiving end of this million dollars. So why spend it on one company...
Deep in my heart I hope Markus will use some of that money like a seed fund for indie game devs. Or well, it feels like a thing he'd do. But hey, Markus, if you somehow end up reading this, don't take this as "you must totally do this". It's probably just something I'd do with that kind of money. And something that seems in line with who you are. Also, turn off the lights and go to sleep.
Me personally? I'd be set for life with just 0.1% of it. Crazy world.
Congratz Markus. Honestly.