Minecraft is probably going to end up as one of Microsoft’s better investments.
The corporation reported that revenue from first-party games was up to $171 million during its fiscal second quarter. That’s a 79 percent increase. And while the first-person shooter Halo: The Master Chief Collection and race-car sim Forza Horizon 2 helped, Microsoft can thank its recently acquired block-building game for its bulging bank account.
“[Revenue was up] mainly due to sales of Minecraft following the acquisition of Mojang,” reads Microsoft’s Q2 earnings report.
This all comes despite Minecraft first debuting on PC in 2009 in an early alpha state. It hit home gaming consoles in 2012 as a digital download on Xbox 360, but then it went on to end both 2013 and 2014 as one of the 10 best-selling games at U.S. retailers when Mojang released a disc version for home gaming systems.
In September, Microsoft paid $2.5 billion in cash to acquire Minecraft and developer Mojang. The company said early on that the investment would pay for itself in about a year, which meant that Minecraft would make more money than $2.5 billion sitting around earning interest would over that period. The game clearly has the kind of potential.
Minecraft is a phenomenon, and it is especially popular with young people. The developer previously revealed that it has sold more than 55 million copies of Minecraft on PC, console, and mobile devices.
But it is not just a popular video game. Fans have built a culture and industry around it. That includes hugely popular YouTube videos, a semi-regular ComicCon-like fan event, and an upcoming film. It is also a merchandising behemoth with T-shirts, toys, and books in stock at retailers like Walmart and Target.
Minecraft has already out Lego’d Lego when it comes to establishing a market on computing devices, but it is also outdoing many games. Where previous generations looked to games like Super Mario Bros. or Halo, the current crop of kids will nearly universally look back on Minecraft in the same way. And while sales are fine right now, Microsoft knows that the real value of Minecraft is the money it will make over the next 20 years.