If you want to understand why Mojang, the creator of Minecraft, has been bought by Microsoft, you just have to try the game.
The single player version consists of a lonely individual who survives in a hostile world using his wits as the only tool to keep himself safe.
Her survival depends on her being able to build a house and defeat monsters using only tools and weapons made with her hands.
If computer games were the subject of the same analysis that is applied to novels, it would be easy to interpret this as a metaphor for the life of Markus «Notch» Persson, the creator of the game.
In the past, Persson has talked about how he grew up «relatively poor» and how he created his own entertainment, wondering if he will have to subdue the same «demons» that disturbed his father.
Family, friends, and the success of the things Notch made with his hands helped him thrive in a harsh world, but that success led to other challenges, much harder to master.
What had changed was evident at MineCon – an annual Minecraft conference organized by Mojang – in 2012 where it was impossible for Notch to walk more than a few meters without being grabbed by a fan who wanted to shake his hand, tap him on the back. , take a picture of him, or have him sign his foam sword.
The power of the people
This transformation from being a humble programmer responsible only for his own code to leading a global movement was something that never made him happy. His heartfelt and heartfelt explanation of why he’s leaving Mojang – «it’s about my sanity» – underscores it.
You know that Minecraft now is about monitoring a community, much more than maintaining and developing a code base.
And therein lies the potential problem for Microsoft.
With Xbox Live and its other cloud services, there is no question that Microsoft has solid experience in managing a large-scale computing infrastructure that serves millions of paying users. This will be vital when you start to get to grips with the behind-the-scenes systems that make Minecraft work.
But Microsoft will alienate the community if it doesn’t realize how personal the game is, not just for Notch but for many of the people who play it.
Minecraft is the place where they meet their friends and meet many others, where they express themselves, where they show off their technical and creative prowess, where they find themselves.
I have experienced it with my own children, who play it in very different ways. One is a huge fan of modified versions that include stadium battles or duels.
The other spends hours designing intricate houses between mine cart trails going up and down. Sometimes he builds houses in the trees that form forests. They also regularly go on adventures with their friends in search of treasures, avoiding creepers, and fighting spiders, zombies, and skeletons.
They, and millions like them, can only do it for the freedom and openness of Minecraft.
An open and free game
The malleability of the game allows them to adapt it to their mood.
It does this by giving people a degree of access that Microsoft in its software has never assumed.
And that is what worries millions of people who play Minecraft.
Those fans don’t want Microsoft messing with their freedom to tinker as they please. They have a deep sense of ownership over the things they create in the game.
There is no doubt that it will be a delicate job for Microsoft considering how critical this community can be.
You will have to work hard to deal with the eternal enemies of every online gamer: pause and lag. Any issues with the availability of the game in the future are likely to be blamed on Microsoft, whether or not it’s the company’s fault.
Making more drastic changes to the way the game works, such as limiting how people can modify it, charging them for things that are currently free, or placing restrictions on how they can tell the world what they have done can, if not handled well, make a big difference. group from that community turns against Microsoft.
This would be a negative given that many of their players are now juniors who will grow up to be the players of the future.
Microsoft is certainly hoping to impress you with the way it runs Minecraft.
If it goes wrong, it can become one of the monsters that people want to face and destroy.
Follow the technology section of BBC Mundo through @A happy world