‘Minecraft’ Hedges Its Bets on Gaming

Mojang Studios, the gaming studio behind “Minecraft,” is exploring new revenue streams like merchandising, education, and content-streaming.

Photo of a Microsoft building
Photo by Rufus46 via CC BY-SA 3.0

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It’s not all fun and games in the gaming world.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Mojang Studios, the gaming studio behind the wildly popular title “Minecraft,” is exploring new revenue streams such as merchandising, education, and content-streaming so that it’s less dependent on gaming. When a game as popular as “Minecraft” feels it can’t rely on gaming anymore, that’s when you know the industry’s in trouble.

Last Life

The gaming industry is experiencing a serious contraction. Games companies big and small have slashed headcount, and pandemic-era investment has dried up. Microsoft, which owns Mojang, has adopted a strategy of trying to transform its games division to turn it into a services-based offering. The days of simply buying a game and finishing it are over.

Piers Harding-Rolls, a games industry analyst at Ampere Analysis, told The Daily Upside “Minecraft” is pretty crucial to Microsoft’s gaming plans:

  • “Ampere data shows that the console version across PlayStation and Xbox has consistently been played by around 15 million players every month over the last two years,” he said. “In that respect, it’s hugely important to Microsoft as it reaches so many people and represents the company’s biggest offering in the ‘games as a platform’ part of the market.”
  • Other games like “Roblox” and “Fortnite” have pushed beyond gaming, hosting virtual concerts and brand tie-ups in their virtual worlds, and Harding-Rolls believes “Minecraft” wants to mirror that strategy of becoming more of a platform than a mere game. 

Here We Go Again: While Mojang hunts for new ways to bring money in, Microsoft is still looking for ways to scrimp and save. A handful of online news outlets spotted on Wednesday that some Microsoft staff, including members of the Xbox gaming division, had announced they’d been laid off. This comes six months after the company cut 9% of its gaming division.