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Why Microsoft wants ‘Minecraft’

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There’s more to buying “Minecraft” maker Mojang than just putting the game in the Microsoft store.

Though playable on multiple platforms — including Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One — “Minecraft” has yet to be made available on Windows 8. 

Which, says Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson, gives Microsoft the excuse they need to diversify their company offerings, and could potentially take the company in a new direction.

“When [Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella] first took the helm, we heard a lot about cloud computing, business software, enterprise — areas where Microsoft is really still pretty important. But like any big tech company that publishes stuff, Microsoft needs to be diversified,” Johnson says. “Buying a company that makes a game like ‘Minecraft’ might help Microsoft sell people on the Windows Phone, for instance.”

Microsoft’s track record with buying gaming companies has been mixed. After they acquired Lionhead Studios, the company went on to create games from the “Fable” series exclusively, which garnered positive reviews. But their acquisition of Rare in 2002 was a disappointment; once known for landmark Nintendo titles such as “Banjo-Kazooie” and “Donkey Kong Country”, Rare failed to live up to expectations in the years following the acquisition, and was restructured in 2009.

If the acquisition goes through, its success depends on how Microsoft reconciles company culture with Mojang, Johnson says.

“The big question is, how much is Microsoft going to interfere with what [Mojang] does, how much it can continue doing its indie-gaming stuff without Microsoft interfering? Maybe if Microsoft lets this company continue to exist and lets it do what it does best… it might be a pretty sensible partnership.”

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