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3 ways Microsoft can ruin Minecraft, and 3 ways it can make Mojang even better

Brad Chacos | Sept. 16, 2014
Microsoft's US$2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang could give it the money to take Minecraft to the next level, or it could shackle it with proprietary restrictions. Let's hope for the former.

But the future isn't necessarily bleak! In fact, Microsoft can bring a lot of good to the open world of Minecraft.

3 ways Microsoft can make Minecraft better

1. Augment it with Microsoft services

Whoa, whoa, don't go reaching for those pitchforks and torches just yet! Stuffing Minecraft with Microsoft services sounds controversial, and it certainly should be if the company made Microsoft services vital to the game. But Microsoft's powerful stable of services could be used to augmentMinecraft for the better.

Imagine using OneDrive to seamlessly sync your Minecraft save files between your various Windows PCs and tablets, for example, or dumping Minecraft's old-school multiplayer chat with something running on Skype's backbone. And introducing centralized servers running on Azure's cloud could be pretty cool--as long as Microsoft doesn't kill off the ability to run custom servers in the process, that is.

2. Be the rich uncle

Yes, Minecraft is astounding, and frequently updated. But nevertheless, the game's development has been handled by a fairly small number of people thus far--Mojang has only a few dozen employees. That has allowed the game to thrive under the guiding vision of a few key people, but it limits just how much the team can realistically accomplish.

Microsoft can make Minecraft better by staying mostly hands-off, but giving Mojang all the financial backing and administrative support it needs to get even bigger. Let Microsoft's team handle all the marketing deals. Buy a few more developers to help bang out bug fixes and smaller features. Take over the busy work and let Mojang's best and brightest shine at what they do best.

3. Bring Minecraft to Windows Phone

Speaking of cross-platform availability, we should finally receive a Windows Phone version of Minecraft now. Persson was right: Microsoft's mobile platform is too insignificant users-wise to warrant a port from Mojang's tiny team. But that won't fly now that Microsoft's in charge and facing daily complaints about the Windows Phone app gap. Playing Minecraft on a Lumia 1520 would be a joy--just don't sic Minecraft's top developers on the boring conversion process. If Microsoft developed it as a universal Windows app it'd run as a Modern-style app on Windows 8 PCs and tablets, too, despite Notch's hatred of the Windows Store.

Boom! Just like that there would be a version of Minecraft optimized for the whole universe of Windows devices. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, don't add exclusive features to the Windows Phone version, Microsoft--for the love of all things blocky.

 

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