- With over 150 million copies sold, and over 90 million monthly active players, “Minecraft” continues to dominate.
- Microsoft paid $2.5 billion for “Minecraft” back in 2014, and the game has grown tremendously since then.
- Microsoft is looking to expand the universe of “Minecraft” with new games – and even announced one – but isn’t looking to create a sequel, according to Microsoft’s head of “Minecraft,” Helen Chiang.
Nearly 100 million people are playing “Minecraft” every month, and over 150 million copies of the game have been sold. It’s the second highest-selling game of all time, just below “Tetris.”
With all that success, it’s fair to assume that Microsoft might be interested in churning out sequels – the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. After all, Microsoft paid $2.5 billion for “Minecraft.” It’s realistic to expect new games from a property that cost so much to buy.
Not so, says Microsoft.
“I really don’t think that makes sense for ‘Minecraft,’ given the community,” Helen Chiang, head of “Minecraft” at Microsoft, told Business Insider in a phone interview. “It’s something that always fractures the community.”
Chiang was speaking to the community-driven approach “Minecraft” has always taken, ever since its first days as a PC-only work-in-progress. Many of its 91 million-plus monthly players are playing together, exploring mines and crafting in groups.
That’s part of the reason why the first new “Minecraft” game from Microsoft isn’t “Minecraft 2.”
Instead, the game is called “Minecraft: Dungeons,” and it’s a dungeon crawler game – along the lines of “Diablo” – set in the “Minecraft” universe. It was revealed over the weekend during a livestreamed fan event, known as “Minecon Earth.” The game’s being created by a group within Mojang, the Swedish game studio that was created to develop “Minecraft.”
One glimpse of “Dungeons” offers a strong clue of what to expect:
Though the game looks distinctly like the original “Minecraft,” it doesn’t contain the signature elements: Don’t expect to mine and/or craft very much.
“I would say that it’s a distilled version of ‘Minecraft’ in the sense that we wanted to focus on making sure that we made the dungeon crawler part as good as possible,” Mojang creative lead Jens Bergentsen told Business Insider in a phone interview. “Building in the game is something that we’ve talked about a lot, but we were concerned that it would distract from what the game was about. So in ‘Minecraft: Dungeons,’ it’s strictly an adventure game with a story attached to it.”
That’s right: A “Minecraft” game without building. Madness!
It’s these type of “Minecraft” games, like “Dungeons,” that Microsoft is interested in creating.
“The way that we’ve decided to expand – and I think ‘Dungeons’ is the first example of that – is a way that we’re trying to keep our community together,” Chiang said. “That’s why our updates our free. We don’t want to ask [players] to move from ‘Minecraft 1’ to ‘Minecraft 2.’ We want them to just enjoy ‘Minecraft.’ And there’s other ways that we can expand that are more meaningful and authentic to what we want to be, rather than just releasing another iteration in the way that most other franchises do.”
Beyond the community reasons, there’s another, perhaps more obvious reason that a sequel to “Minecraft” doesn’t make a lot of sense: What would that game even be? Does it need to exist?
“I don’t think there’s really a need for ‘Minecraft 2’,” Bergentsen told me. “You would be able to create a ‘Minecraft 2’ game in ‘Minecraft.'”
That fact, along with the continued strong sales of the original game, make a strong argument.