Once upon a time in his own little world far, far away, a man by the name of Michael C. was asked by his girlfriend to play Minecraft. What did the great hero reply?
For one month at least, Microsoft got a break from being Sony's punching bag in the console sales race. GamesBeat reports that NPD's April sales numbers show the Xbox One outselling the PlayStation 4 last month for the first time since January.
"As the best-selling console in the U.S. in April, fans set record April sales and engagement for Xbox One last month," Xbox marketing boss Mike Nichols told GamesBeat in response to the April figures. "Xbox One console sales in the U.S. increased 63 percent in April 2015 compared to April 2014, and Xbox Live comparisons showed the number of active global users [Xbox One and Xbox 360] grew 24 percent. We are grateful to our fans for their passion and support and are looking forward to sharing more on the best game lineup in Xbox history at E3."
Last month's sales results mean that Microsoft's next-gen console has outsold Sony's in the United States for half of the first four months of 2015. No doubt as a result of a temporary price cut, the Xbox One also dominated the hardware sales charts during the crucial retail months of November and December in 2014.
The $2.5 billion deal that saw Minecraft change hands from creator Markus "Notch" Persson to Microsoft all started with a tweet, reports Forbes.
"Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life?" Persson tweeted in June of last year. "Getting hate for trying to do the right thing is not my gig."
Mojang CEO Carl Manneh read the tweet, and, by his estimation, the phone rang just 30 seconds later. A most interested party was on the line: Microsoft. The console holder and software giant wanted to know if Persson was serious. So did Manneh.
As it turned out, the Minecraft mastermind had written the tweet half-jokingly, but things quickly turned serious when Persson realized this was his chance to divorce himself from Minecraft. He had once sworn he would never sell out, but after years of dealing with caustic communications — sometimes in regards to content changes Persson wasn't even aware of, let alone responsible for — Persson had a change of heart.
Warner Bros is working towards a potential Minecraft film, but the studio has yet to find the right story. Shawn Levy, director of Night at the Museum, proposed a Goonies-style adventure film which was ultimately shot down by developer Mojang. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Levy explained how it all happened.
"What happened simply is Warner's asked me to develop, 'How might this ever be a story for a movie?' Because it's not a narrative game. And we came up with an approach that felt good to us, and I discussed it with Mojang. And they're like, 'That doesn't sound like what we want. If we're going to see a movie get made, we don't know what we want, but that doesn't feel right.' And I said, 'OK, well that's a movie I can envision.'"
So just what was his idea? He goes on to explain, "It was not a comedy. It had a bit of a Goonies flair… [I]t was an adventure movie, and I thought it could have been a lot of fun and fulfilled a lot of the qualities that people love about the game."