When Microsoft purchased Minecraft for a whopping $2.5 billion this past summer, there was a spirited reaction online. People asked all kinds of questions: why would Microsoft want Minecraft? What are they going to do with it? How could such a simple game possibly be worth $2.5 billion? We don’t yet have definitive answers to any of these questions, but it’s fair to say that the transaction was something of a sensation. And though it’s important to note that Minecraft is as much an Xbox game as it is a mobile app, the whole story showed just how much attention mobile gaming developments can get in the media and online.
So what are some other gaming developments we could see from Microsoft to boost popularity for the Windows Phone and the company’s gaming divisions? Here are a few possibilities that could become stories nearly as large as the purchase of Minecraft.
An Answer To Epic Zen Garden
Epic Zen Garden is a new iOS 8 app that was built entirely to showcase the power of Unreal Engine 4 and the visual capability of new iPhones and operating systems. As a game, it’s really quite lacking, as it’s more of a roaming, discovery sort of experience than an actual contest of any kind. But in its precision touch, beautiful imagery, and overall quality, it’s fairly remarkable. As of now, there’s no word on Windows Phone support of Unreal Engine 4. However, should Microsoft find a way to produce a clear response to the power of Epic Zen Garden, it would no doubt spark a story.
A Real Money Gambling Launch
Make no mistake, real-money gaming on mobile devices will be a reality in the near future. There is simply too much demand and too much financial potential for the U.S. to maintain its position outlawing all real-money gaming (in all but three states). And in fact, the transition of existing online gambling sites to mobile platforms in the U.S. has slowly but surely begun. Most notably, NJ.com reported a few months ago that European casino platform Betfair has already secured a partnership with Caesars, essentially getting a foot in the door in one of the few states to allow certain forms of online gambling. And in all likelihood this is only one of many established gambling platforms that will seek to gain influence in the U.S. Now, it’s perhaps foolish to suggest that anyone phone provider or tech company will control the inevitable spread of online gambling apps. Yet, should Microsoft gain an early edge in the process, it would be newsworthy.
Sophisticated Console Adaptations
The easiest way (relatively speaking) for Microsoft to make another splash in the mobile gaming department would be to release a sophisticated adaptation of an exclusive console game. Mobile games like Infinity Blade III and even the app version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas have already demonstrated the potential for console-style games on smaller devices. Also, the release of an exclusive Xbox game in app form would represent something of a power play. Mind you, this isn’t an entirely new idea, as the game Halo: Spartan Asslt already tackled the concept. But to do it on a larger scale as an innovative and powerful app would be significant.