On a recent IGN podcast, Microsoft exec Phil Spencer weighed in about their plans with Minecraft. In particular, comments lead to the question if a sequel for the highly popular sandbox game would be possible, which got the following response:
I don’t know if Minecraft 2, if that’s the thing that makes the most sense.
Spencer understands that with a community as vast as Minecraft, you need to be extremely careful on how to proceed:
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.[But] job one 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.
There is sensibility in the statement, for those worried that the game would fall to focus group testing mediocrity, which is something that has happened to games like Overstrike, later renamed Fuse. Spencer further commented:
It doesn’t mean that everything we’re going to do is going to map to 100% of their acceptance, because I don’t know if there is any topic where 100% of people agree.
There’s almost an entire culture based around Minecraft, if you look at the Youtube channels dedicated to the game and the wild, creative projects that came from it. Additionally, there’s a convention, MineCon, that’s specifically about the game alone.
A title of that magnitude lives in a fragile bubble and Microsoft is right to tread lightly on it, for now. In the past, strong communities, like the one in Eve Online, have been able to dictate where the direction of game-affecting decisions should go.
Earlier this year, Microsoft made a stunning announcement that it would buy developer Mojang for $2.5 billion dollars. Along with this news, Minecraft creator Markus “notch” Persson also vocalized wanting to retreat from this huge spotlight.