- In 2014, Microsoft bought the rights to “Minecraft” for $2.5 billion dollars – a massive investment in one of the most popular games in the world.
- “Minecraft” continues to be tremendously popular: Its lifetime sales rival those of “Tetris” and “Grand Theft Auto 5.”
- Though Microsoft makes the Xbox, it continues to publish “Minecraft” on competing platforms like the Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 4.
- That decision has paid off tremendously: “Minecraft” was the top-selling game on PlayStation 4 in July, and has occupied a space in the console’s 10 best-selling games list all year.
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The best-selling PlayStation 4 game in July was made by Sony’s direct competitor, Microsoft.
The same could be said back in May, and – outside of a single month in 2019 – that game has comfortably held a spot on the top 10 best-selling games on PlayStation 4 each month.
From January to July, “Minecraft” dominated Sony’s best-selling PlayStation 4 games list.
That’s a standout achievement considering that Sony’s direct competitor, Microsoft, owns and produces “Minecraft.” Sony doesn’t publish any games on Microsoft’s Xbox One platform, nor does it publish games anywhere other than its own PlayStation consoles – a precedent set by Nintendo decades ago that has slowly been eroding.
For example: Microsoft publishes “Minecraft” on a variety of non-Microsoft platforms – from Apple computers to Android smartphones to Nintendo’s Switch. The game even allows for cross-platform play, so that players can play with friends on any platform where “Minecraft” is available.
That’s a major derivation from gaming’s long history of console-makers only publishing games they make on their own platforms. Nintendo’s “Super Mario” games, for instance, are only available on Nintendo’s consoles.
So the logic goes: If you can only play X game on Y console, you’ll buy Y console in order to play X game. But Microsoft is flipping that logic with “Minecraft.”
Sony’s PlayStation 4 is far and away the most popular console in the world, with over 100 million units sold since launch back in November 2013. Microsoft stopped revealing sales numbers for the Xbox One years ago, but estimates put its lifetime sales somewhere in the 40-60 million units range.
But with games like “Minecraft,” and Microsoft’s moves with cross-platform gaming, the company has taken a new tactic in the ongoing console wars – and it looks like that tactic is paying off.