I’ve never been a big Minecraft player, aside from the internal server we had setup in the office. I got carried away and summoned a bunch of Dragons… that did not make everyone happy. Everyone is going to do a long winded analysis of Minecraft from will they screw it up, its implications for XBox, and what type of CEO it means Satya will be. I think all of that is just pageview fodder, which will culminate with “What Minecraft means for the Enterprise”.
I think it’s really simple what it means: Microsoft has a chance to be the first interaction with the next generation of makers. When I was a young kid about 9 years old, I learned visual basic along with some HTML. I thought it was cool to make things. I got some free hosting for my HTML creations and I distributed my Visual Basic made punters in Warez rooms. It was fascinating to me to just build things. I think Minecraft is the same thing for very young kids. It’s exposing them to creating things and computer science through mods. That’s exciting to me because the next generation needs to be focused on making as labor shifts away from traditional practices such as law, medicine, and being a slave to the cubicle. When those kids grow up, they might just use Microsoft’s tools to build what they make next in the real world, instead of the Minecraft world. In 15-20 years, we’ll start hearing stories from entrepreneurs and engineers of how Minecraft is where they got their start making things and ultimately lead them to being a professional maker. We need more of this long term thinking.