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What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft? 208

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft spent billions purchasing Mojang, the studio behind the game Minecraft, and while it's unlikely to start work on a sequel anytime soon, rather than continue development of the game, it's worth considering what a Minecraft 2 will look like. After all, as a public company with revenues to justify, it doesn't seem beyond unreasonable a few years down the line, especially since a Minecraft-like game was one of the stand-out tech demos shown for the software giant's HoloLens augmented reality headset. As the author points out, Microsoft will have to tread carefully, tackling issues like whether greater graphical fidelity is actually what players will want ever — and whether to continue to support Minecraft on PlayStation."
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What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's why there are so many texture packs and shaders available.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @12:00PM (#49171997)

    I'd expect lots of cross-over branding crap. Look what happened to Legos: you can barely avoid the Star Wars, LOTH, Disney Princess and Marvel (and yes, even Minecraft) branded tie-ins over there.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd expect lots of cross-over branding crap. Look what happened to Legos: you can barely avoid the Star Wars, LOTH, Disney Princess and Marvel (and yes, even Minecraft) branded tie-ins over there.

      All of which brought LEGO back from the brink. Without the "branded crap" LEGO would be all but dead. Today we see them as the largest toy company on the planet. Why? Because kids love building stuff they're familiar with. LEGO's own kits are pretty dull, throw in a spaceship from a film and the collectors will be out in droves buying them all up to fleece unsuspecting parents when it comes to their kids' birthdays/crimbo gifts.

      • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @01:19PM (#49172775) Homepage

        Why is this modded flamebait? Is it because there's no "pretty-accurate" mod?

        I recall an article a while back about the huge corporate shift within LEGO when they started working with tie-ins. Yes, kids were quite content with building... but they're even happier to be building with their favorite pop-culture characters and settings. The bottom line was the bottom line. Ultimately, LEGO faced a decision whether they would keep their mediocre sales figures and their original characters, or whether they'd cash in their fanatic followers as targets for the movie marketing drones.

        It turns out the latter choice wasn't nearly as bad as was feared. LEGO is iconic enough that they can hold their own in negotiations with brands. There are (almost) no remastered LEGO sets, no special promos, and no enforced storylines. Tie-in LEGO sets are still LEGOs, but with some familiar characters. Of course, LEGO still has their original material, which has seen a significant increase in sales because the tie-ins have served as a means to attract new customers. Perhaps surprisingly, LEGO has maintained its fanatic customer base, and yes, that often leads to supply shortages and expensive collector-oriented sets.

        I'm afraid I can't find that article now, but here's an informative image [].

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

      Yes, this. Actually, we already have that right now. Minecraft for XBox is already full of licensed DLC for XBox, Dr. Who, etc. []

      Minecraft as a cash cow is complete, there's no need to do any more development. It's all business dealings from here on out.

      Some Slashdotter put it best a few months back... "Microsoft didn't buy a game, they bought a generation"

    • I fail to see the problem here. My kids have dozens of sets of those branded Lego kits and you'd be hard pressed to find a single one of them intact. The tie-ins make the kids interested in the sets themselves which is fine because they immediately tear them apart and make new things with them which is a good thing. So if marketing sells a toy to that interests a kid which can then set that kid's imagination free then I fail to see a problem with it.
    • What's wrong with branded LEGO stuff?

      I for one love my LEGO Star Wars miniatures.

    • And you know what Lego sets my kids want more than any others? The Lego creator series [] since while they do come with instructions it seems to be for 3 different models and they come with a lot of pieces. Granted they have a number of star wars sets now but they have far more creator sets as well as Lego city sets.
  • by sofar ( 317980 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @12:05PM (#49172043) Homepage

    I mean, it's free (GPL), open source (C++ with plugins in Lua), and there are no paid accounts. Why bother looking into MInecraft when we can just build it ourselves, and in a more original and better way?

  • Pretty much all the desired improvements in the article (with the possible exception of point 5 - HoloLens) are irrelevant if point 1 - a decent modding API - is added.
  • by FellowConspirator ( 882908 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @12:08PM (#49172063)

    Here's a short list of what certainly awaits in a Microsoft Minecraft 2:

    - Registration requires a multi-part authentication process that involves at least 3 e-mails and the creation of one Microsoft mailbox -- for each member of your family that wants to play
    - The game will still cost $19, but multiplayer or network storage will require an Xbox Live account and gold subscription.
    - The game will be retooled to appeal to an older audience, so expect ultraviolence and maybe some skin (which will usher in an era of very crude "box" jokes).
    - Minecraft mods will be easy to write in C#, but no longer be supported in Java; they will implemented as SOAP services instead of plug-ins; and to use them you will need to register as a developer go through a multi-stage certificate generation and validation process to sign your mod which will only be available through the Microsoft store
    - The Microsoft store will be integral to the game and appear as a building in the shape of the Windows logo; they'll sell diamond pickaxes that otherwise will be impossible to get
    - There will be Windows-phone exclusive features, including a Smite button that allows people to kick other people off a server.

    • I would expect the PC game to cost slightly more than the Xbox 180 version, and not have a subscription fee. I presume your other predictions will actually come true. I could also see it being a free-to-pay game, though. Given Windows 10 is going to be free for Windows 7 and 8 users, it might make sense to give MC2 away to Windows 10 users as well, and charge a small fee to other players. Use some lame excuse about having to support older versions of DirectX.

    • I just attended a seminar today where a couple of Microsoft people gave presentations. One thing that they made pretty clear is that Microsoft's Azure "cloud" is a HUGE part of their future business model.

      Right now, when you ask the typical MS user if they can name 3 things Azure does, they usually get stuck naming even one item. But one of these days, Microsoft hopes to embrace the software as subscription model to the point where practically everyone will just pay for Azure to spin up and host whatever s

      • Of all the things MS is trying to shoehorn Azure into, Minecraft is actually not a bad one. Minecraft was built from the ground up to be a client/server setup and so it is a logical thing for MS to offer such a service for.

        That is IF, the big IF, they don't screw up the client/game. And their track record for that is not good.

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @12:10PM (#49172081) Journal
    I'm thinking it would look something like this []...
  • by duck_rifted ( 3480715 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @12:10PM (#49172083)
    Any time I ever common on anything having to do with Microsoft, I get pummeled by a PR firm. But this is a *positive* post, no criticism, so maybe the minimum wage public opinion manipulators will leave me along this time.

    Microsoft's gaming pedigree is diverse. Each franchise has its own business model, suitable for that title alone. They didn't take, say, the Halo culture and try to force it on Fable fans. One thing Microsoft is exceedingly good at is identifying the relationship between games and the business related to them.

    For me, each Halo title represents a couple hours of gameplay. Ratchet up the difficulty, beat it, done. But it also has an army of diehard fans who find its real value in PvP and turn what could be a good story in compact form into an epic adventure. Fable, for me, is one of those "get everything, do everything" franchises representing much more time in game. Where Halo has a pretty awesome miniseries, Fable will probably never see anything like that. Totally different game mechanics foster totally different cultures and business models to match. That's what I'm getting at.

    If Microsoft can form a business model around the culture that already exists for Minecraft, then they will absolutely rock the entire voxel sandbox genre.

    Imagine when they bring in features barely just pioneers in other games, like blueprints, and then let you have NPCs to build the blueprinted structures where directed, farmer NPCs, guards, etc to model cities. Indie devs in this genre are only looking ahead to that kind of thing but it's where the genre is heading.

    Imagine when they expand combat mechanics to marry the PvP culture they're already good at fostering into a creative, open-ended gameworld. Imagine when they treat servers like planets, and we can travel between them with spaceships or magic portals.

    Minecraft did not advance like it could have, due to lukewarm post-release development and a terrible modding framework. But nobody -- bar none *nobody* -- is in a better position than Microsoft to do great things for the genre. I've described a handful of systems that sound like pipe dreams but in the Minecraft boilerplate are dead simple. And then mods? Forget it. They can own this genre at that point.

    I think the PR firms might leave me alone regarding this one because I am dead serious and completely honest when I say that Microsoft is totally capable of delivering something extraordinary. They would seriously have to either try hard to screw this up or do no work at all, and that's not their style.
    • ^ I'm so excited about what they can do with this that I didn't even notice my many errors in the above post. I don't know if I feel like a kid in a candy store at the possibilities ahead or a dog who just got asked if it wants to go outside. My optimism is on that level.
    • Any time I ever common on anything having to do with Microsoft, I get pummeled by a PR firm. But this is a *positive* post, no criticism, so maybe the minimum wage public opinion manipulators will leave me along this time.

      FYI, they get paid *$8.00* per hour. With the amount of disdain you show for them, it's no wonder they hound you so much!

      • by duck_rifted ( 3480715 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @01:09PM (#49172669)
        They started it :D I just want to be able to speak freely when I criticize what is ultimately a great company. When I give Microsoft crap, it's not a case of, "My grandpappy said Microsoft is evil." It's a case of, "They're very nearly doing this thing correctly, and if only..." Let me give you an example.

        Consider their half-hearted, slow implementation of the C++11 standard when it's already time to start work on C++14. If I point something out like that, I'm not saying that Microsoft's development tools aren't worth using. Visual Studio is the best of the best, no contest. It's the industry and academic standard for a reason. Yet that's one example of a perfectly fair, valid criticism that can't ever really be posted because those $8.00/hr PR hirelings don't actually know anything about half the topics they shill up all over the web.

        So, I have two options. I can shut up and never talk to anybody about topics relevant to my profession, or I can through trial and error attempt to find a way to deal with uninformed Internet police mucking up topics they don't know anything about using only the most kindergarten of rule sets to distinguish shitposts from honest criticism.

        I don't think any of them lose any sleep over my pointing out that they do us, the Internet at large, and the company who contracted with them a disservice.

        Last time I encountered them, marketing had decided to stir up banter by getting people to criticize icons. The idea is that even if the topic is banal, we'd still be discussing an upcoming product. So, when I pointed out that changing icon sets is braindead-simple (as in, my eight year old daughter can do it and my two year old daughter almost has on her own before), the comment got marked down because it didn't play with their random mission of the day that we'd have to telepathically read their minds to even know ahead of time.

        PR has its place. It's the future of marketing, politics, and who knows how much else? But in this early new PR industry state, it's often performed with such incompetence that it defeats the purpose. That's not actually the workers' faults. It's the half-assed performance of their bosses who just follow an outdated formula and roll in outsourcing money for it rather than ever use their brains.
        • So, I have two options. I can shut up and never talk to anybody about topics relevant to my profession, or I can through trial and error attempt to find a way to deal with uninformed Internet police mucking up topics they don't know anything about using only the most kindergarten of rule sets to distinguish shitposts from honest criticism.

          Like you, there are things I like about Microsoft, and things I don't. I post criticism about Microsoft quite often and don't seem to run into the same problems as you. Perhaps they just don't take me seriously enough, considering I have very little (read: no) influence on other posters opinions on here. :shrugs:

          • Well, at least you just showed me a way to take it as a compliment. Though I don't really know that I have any kind of influence on opinions. All I do is speak my mind, and most of the time I think a little first. Though, sometimes (to be honest) I remember old clips of teenage girls screaming fainting at Beatles concerts in the 1950's. The potential for Minecraft in Microsoft's hands makes me feel just like that, and I haven't even played it in more than a year (lmao).
      • by praxis ( 19962 )

        minimum wage public opinion manipulators

        FYI, they get paid *$8.00* per hour.

        Which isn't even above minimum wage in some places.

    • Microsoft is pretty good at buying games and not ruining them, the original Halo aside. I actually think that was a great game in every way except for the monotonous level design in the end, and the lack of cross-platform support. You can't rush greatness, and you shouldn't force your operating system on people. That's kind of what they do, though, so it's not much of a surprise.

      Microsoft has their hits, but they also have their significant misses. Where's our Freelancer 2? Handing that franchise to anyone

    • I hesitate to comment

      For someone who "hesitates to comment", you have a lot to say! Even though I don't fully agree with your comment, cause Microsoft has turned some pretty good stuff into crap (Win7 > Win8, Win98SE > Win ME, Nokia > /dev/nul), I hope that your thoughts will materialize. They can do good if they put the right resources at the right place to do the job (Win Vista > Win7, Win2k > WinXP).

  • []

    Supposedly leaked from inside Microsoft, a spoof of MS pointing fun at themselves and as a reminder of how not to do things

  • Heh. I remember when Mojang experimented with realistic water behavior. It did not go over well.

    One of the old lessons in game design is sometimes realistic is not the best solution, and sometimes outright hurts playability.
    • The water is truly frustrating, though. It wouldn't be so bad if you could just go around the top edge of a large space and have the space fill with water sources all the way down. And having realistic water start at ocean level and go down might be a nice touch.

      • by jythie ( 914043 )
        Yeah, there are some areas where it could really use some improvement, though striking a 'do what I mean' balance has proven somewhat tricky.

        Mod wise, BuildCraft's flood gate introduces some fun new water mechanics, though wow can it make a mess if you do not think through your placement. Luckily many packs also include some expanded sponge mechanics to clean up the mess.
  • we're not suggesting that Microsoft should do anything silly like try to integrate Excel support into Minecraft

    TOO LATE !

  • by tonywestonuk ( 261622 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @12:39PM (#49172343)
    My 10 year old lad has already said he hates version 1.8 of minecraft, and blames Microsoft for it.... Regardless of if its M$'s fault or not (admittedly its not), I am really proud of him for hating microsoft already!.... That's my boy!
  • And replace the greyish void fog with the true blue void of death.

  • My guess is added spyware, ad-related content, micropayments, a locked-in addons store and a dumbed-down user interface with all the most useful and frequently used functionaity now either removed, hidden or buried under a layer of braindead ribbon tools.

  • My guess is that Microsoft will rewrite the multiplayer server modules first, replacing Java with C#. They will introduce standardized APIs (that the game sorely needs). Expect to see micropayment systems introduced. Then I would expect a move to Azure cloud services, replacing the dozens of multiplayer server farms that are out there. Games will finally support more simultaneous characters per world, larger worlds, etc. and actually scale.

    By this point you will see a schism in the developer community, thos

  • A better question would be, What would Windows ME look like in Minecraft?

  • A lot of Java->C# comments around and comments about Playstation, but I'm more concerned whether the Mac version would continue. Am also interested in whether my all-updates-for-life deal that I got by buying early into the beta (for..err...$7.95 I think) will continue.
  • by kamakazi ( 74641 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @01:24PM (#49172849)

    A couple specific comments really stood out and indicated to me that the author is not a crafter.

    Bigger worlds?? I have yet to see a world that was even 10 percent mapped, let alone actually explored. Size of the world really truly is more than sufficient for any reason I can conceive.

    Pooling water? Again, nice if you looked at a world but didn't play it. If water pooled then basically all mines and caverns would simply be under water. Water really is an evil in Minecraft, and learning to deal with it is one of the elementary skills required to mine in the game.

    I think the potential tie ins to other titles and universes would only alienate a lot of the most creative crafters, just look at the creations on YouTube, they love to create tie ins, from Star Wars to real world museums, but the joy is in creating the content, not in having "official" connections.

    That said, I am sure there is a market among the me-toos, the ones that respond to every cool Minecraft video on YoTube with "can I get a copy of your world" for all kinds of branded content, but I don't know if Microsoft is looking to own a disloyal crowd of sycophant 13 year olds.

    I am also curious about the future of Minecraft even without the Microsoft factor, because the mod coders have been waiting now for a few years for the modding API, which has been coming "soon" for a long time. Bukkit, the largest server modding framework is dead, killed by a "take my ball and go home" playground argument amped up with a DMCA takedown, and I think the window to reclaim that group of coders has just about closed, so whatever happens in the future is likely to be a different community of coders.

    Combine that with losing the singular vision when Notch was making all the decisions and Minecraft 2.0 is going to be very different. Not necessarily worse or better, but different. I would have loved it if Notch had actually kept his promise to open the source, but he chose not to, and so the First Minecraft era passes.

    The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.

  • > Vegetation should grow if unchecked

    It does that already.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2015 @02:06PM (#49173253)

    D'AWWWWW, what a cutesipoo article. I read it. Really, I did. And there are in my opinion two possible reasons for its existence. One, the autor got paid by MS in some way. Or the other, he has no idea how the game industry works today. Well, let's take a look at the "10 things" list of what's actually FAR more likely. I took the liberty to actually model it after the original list.

    1. Make mods impossible
    Well, unapproved mods, that is. Of course for your safety, at least that's the excuse. The reason is that, well, how the fuck are we supposed to sell you DLC addons if you can get the same for free?

    2. Use MS tools to ensure vendor lock-in.
    Supporting what's been said in point 1, you'll play on servers hosted by MS only. Of course they will come with all sorts of bells and whistlers .... for a price, of course. And until MS decides it no longer wants to support Minecraft 2 because you're supposed to buy Minecraft 3.

    3. The game will be as you leave it ... for a price
    Part of the appeal of MC is, as the author of the piece correctly identified, that you leave an impression in the world, while it would be nice if certain aspects of teh game would change over time, with water flowing and earthquakes occurring. Rest assured that you'll get whatever you want... provided you pay for it. Just 1 buck a day can save your mine from a cave-in!

    4. More crossover sales
    Hey, wouldn't it be great if owning a certain other MS game allows you to build something awesome? Like a laser gun if you own Halo VI? Of course... you should really get that laser gun if you want to take down those new monsters that will spawn from the next patch forward because it's the only thing that can put a sensible dent into their armor...

    5. Use it to sell HoloLens
    This time I crib at the original work. Because that's the only point I truly actually believe will happen. That game would be used to cram down yet another failed gimmick down our throat. Game console makers, please get it: We like our input devices the way they are. We like our displays the way they are. Stop fucking with either!

    6. Realistic graphics ... provided you have the right version of DirectX
    Of course the graphics get better and better with every patch. Uh... well, that is if you have the current version of DirectX. Which will of course not be available for your ancient version of Windows. But we'll support your DX... for now. But you might want to upgrade to Win11 soon, because we're gonna drop support in about 4-5 patches. And remember: You play on OUR server. WE decide which version is the right one! I.e. you won't play anymore in 4-5 patches if you ain't a good consumer and go buy our new crap!

    7. Mobs will be mean
    Like hell they will! How could we ensure number 4 works out if you could kill everything with that puny sword and bow? If everything else fails and we suck at AI building, we'll just cheat and send more of them. Because that's what players like today, right? I mean, all those zombie horde survival games can't be wrong!

    8. More eye candy
    I said everything about that at number 6. Hey, don't look at me, it's not my fault they lamented the same thing twice in the original article because they don't have 10 points to make and having 8 looks kinda ... odd.

    9. Dumb it down
    Remember when you first played it and how big and overwhelming it felt? We have to market it to the console crowd and if that taught us anything, then to dumb down a game to the point where a 3 year old can play it. So I guess one general tool is enough for everyone! Plus, if people take like half a year to figure out the basics, why'd they pay for DLCs?

    10. Lock it down to XBox and Windows
    Cross platform? Are you high on something? That game's a killer app, why the fuck would MS want to make it run on its competitor? If anything, they'd try as bad as they can to make it not run on WINE!

  • Meh. Everyone knows every other MS release is trash.

    I'm gong to hold out for for Minecraft 10 Enterprise Server Upgrade 365 x64 for Workgroups

    (and maybe SP2 just to be safe)

  • They're still selling millions of copies of 1.x each year, plus all the pocket editions and console editions. And some people shell out $15-20 a month for a Minecraft Realms server. There's an insane revenue stream here for them even if they never do release a 2.0. That's why their original acquisition announcement said that they expect to recoup their investment sometime in 2015.

    I'm sure there will be a 2.0 release sometime, but if we're going to be speculating, cynical and sarcastic about MS, remember tha

  • My boys and I recently got into Minecraft. We don't have PCs for each of us, though, so I installed the Android version of Minecraft on their tablets and on my smartphone. I know this is much more limited than the full version, but it works for us. I'd be curious what Microsoft plans to do with the Portable Edition version. Will they merge it with the full version so that MCPE has as many features as Minecraft for the PC? Will they set it up so that MCPE users can enter "normal" Minecraft worlds hosted

  • The windows desktop - which they will try to reinvent for the nth time

  • I develop Minecraft plugins for servers and have a plugin in the Top 100 that's played by 100,000's around the world. Developing plugins is a hobby, not a job, but it'd be great if I could make it my job. Right now, that's really difficult and indeed, doing plugins is very much like developing mobile apps before the App Store or Google Play arrived because there's no eco-system, just a giving-system. What I'd really like would be for a way for players to be able to give me $1. I.e., make it just like smartp

  • Would be fun to build real world scenarios on Minecraft. Pretty easy to use editor. Download input data for scenarios from Excel and upload simulation results to Excel. Ability to playback simulation runs aferward bonus.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake