When Microsoft announced in September that it would acquire Minecraft developer Mojang for the price of $2.5 billion, no one outside the company seemed to be able to agree on what it should do with its new asset. Many gamers, journalists and analysts did agree on one thing, however: a sequel probably isn't a good idea. Microsoft apparently isn't ready to prove them wrong.
Speaking in an IGN podcast, Xbox head Phil Spencer insisted that his company knows it must first satisfy the needs of the current Minecraft community before expanding the franchise. That means that a sequel to the almost inconceivably popular world-building game may not be in the plans.
"I don't know if Minecraft 2, if that's the thing that makes the most sense," said Spencer. "The community around Minecraft is as strong as any community out there. We need to meet the needs and the desires of what the community has before we get permission to go off and do something else. It doesn't mean that everything we're going to do is going to map to 100 percent of their acceptance, because I don't know if there is any topic where 100 percent of people agree. But we look at Job 1 is to go out and meet the needs of the Minecraft community first, and then we can think about ways that we can actually help grow it. That's our sole focus."
Spencer also touched upon his thoughts about creating a more universal Minecraft experience across all platforms. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, despite sales in the millions, is often criticized for being inferior to the Minecraft experience users get on the PC. The Xbox version is consistently updated but forever trailing behind the PC version's feature set. Ports to mobile platforms, Xbox One and PlayStation platforms have been met with similar criticisms.
"I think what we've learned through Xbox Live is something that we can help in unifying a little bit of what happens with Minecraft today," Spencer said. "If I'm on PC I get access to the mod servers; if I'm on console or the mobile editions, I don't. We're looking at how do we bring that whole system together a little more. Because there are other games out there that let me move from screen to screen fairly seamlessly."
The PC release is likely to always be the superior one, but Microsoft could significantly close the gap by making the game's mod servers available through Xbox Live. There was no mention as to whether or not Microsoft would also investigate bringing parity to competing PlayStation consoles, but the company previously stated that it plans to continue making the game available across all current platforms. In a statement of its own, Mojang said that sales, development and support of all Minecraft releases would continue unabated.
In the IGN podcast, Spencer also categorically denied the notion that purchasing Mojang was a decision that higher ups at the Microsoft forced on the Xbox team. Spencer said the idea actually emerged from within his team.