Minecraft and Microsoft What's next? By Mark Ward Technology correspondent, BBC News
If you're trying to understand why Minecraft maker Mojang is being purchased by Microsoft you can play the game.
The single-player game is about one person who survives in harsh conditions with their ingenuity. Their survival is contingent on their building a home and battling monsters employing only weapons and tools they make with their hands.
If games on computers were subject to the same analysis applied to novels it would be easy to read this as a metaphor for the life of Markus "Notch" Persson, the game's creator. He's spoken in the past about growing to be "relatively poor" and also about creating his own entertainment, and about whether he'll have to defeat the same "demons" that afflicted his father.
The success of Notch in the harsh world was enabled by his family friends, his family, and the popularity of the items he made with his hands. But his success has also brought other obstacles. These are even more difficult to overcome.
At Minecon 2012, Notch was unable to walk more than one or two steps before he was grabbed again by another fan eager to shake his hand and take a picture of him, or even sign their foam sword.
People are the power
This transformation from humble programmer with only responsibility for his own code to leader of an international movement was something he was never happy with. His heartfelt explanation for why he had decided to leave Mojang"it's about my sanity," he said "it’s about my sanity” shows that.
He knows that Minecraft is about managing an entire community, not just creating and maintaining the codebase.
And therein lies the potential problem for Microsoft.
With Xbox Live and its other cloud services , there's no doubt that it has solid experience in running a huge computer system that serves millions of paying customers. This will be crucial when it begins running the behind-the scenes systems that keep Minecraft running.
Microsoft will alienate this community when they don't recognize how personal the game really is, not only for Notch but for many others who play it. It's where they make friends and create new ones, where they express themselves in a way, show off their technical and creative prowess, where they find themselves.
I've seen it with my kids, who play it in a variety of ways. One is a big fan of modified versions that involve arena battles or capture-the-flag-type competitions. The other spends hours creating intricate homes around the swooping tracks of minecarts. Sometimes, he constructs treehouses that extend across forests. They often go adventuring with friends to search for treasure, avoid creepers and fight zombies, spiders and Skeletons.
This is possible because Minecraft allows freedom and flexibility. Millions of players like them can play it. The game's flexibility allows them to alter the game to fit their needs. MINECRAFT SERVERS This is because it allows players access to a level of control that Microsoft has not allowed in its business software. This is the reason Microsoft has not been able to satisfy the millions of Minecraft users. The fans don't want Microsoft to interfere with their rights to play with it as they please. They feel a pride in the games they make.
There's no doubt that will be a challenging task for Microsoft to accomplish given how critical the community is.
It will have to work hard to defeat the feared enemies of every online gamer that is lag and downtime (aka delay). Microsoft will likely be held accountable for any problems that arise from the game's future release - regardless of whether it's their blame.
Making more radical changes to the way in which they play the game like limiting how people can modify it, charging them for things that are currently free , or imposing restrictions on how they can inform the world about what they have done, might, if handled poorly, make a large portion of that community against Microsoft.
This would be a terrible issue, given that the majority of its users are children and will eventually become gamers. There is no doubt that Microsoft is hoping to impress them with the way it handles Minecraft. If it does it wrong it could end up being one of the monsters people would like to fight and kill.