Microsoft owns Mojang, and by extension, Minecraft, a situation that has certainly caused a stir over the last few months. Many players have expressed concerns that Microsoft would make grand, sweeping changes to the game - everything from subscription fees to sequels - but Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division, does not seem interested in going down that road.
Last week, Spencer described Microsoft as "shepherds of the [Minecraft] IP," while adding that there were no plans to rush into merchandising deals, such as cartoons, toys, or spin-offs. "I think we earn permission to do other things with Minecraft when we meet the Minecraft community's desires around what the franchise is," said Spencer. "I don't want us to go and try to make it something it isn't, but I do think it has room to grow."
On that same note, a sequel wasn't directly on Microsoft's radar. "I don't know if Minecraft 2, if that's the thing that makes the most sense," Spencer said. "The community around Minecraft is as strong as any community out there, and I think 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 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 the people agree. But...job one, is to go out and meet the needs of the Minecraft community first, and then we can think about ways we can actually help grow it."
What does all of this mean for players, in terms of changes? Very little, at the moment. Snapshots, updates, and everything that makes Minecraft what it is will continue along, much as it always has. The 1.8.1 pre-release already came out last week, shoring up a number of bugs and performance problems, with more fixes on the horizon. What new features can be expected? As with any major update, there is normally a period of quiet, as focus shifts from features to fine-tuning. Not to worry, the feature-heavy Snapshots always make a return!