Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Minecraft. And unless you’re just visiting Earth for the first time, you’ve probably definitely heard of China. About a year ago, China lifted their government ban on game consoles, meaning playing games got a lot easier. Now, with the help of China-based internet company NetEase, Mojang and Microsoft are poised to swoop in and release Minecraft in Chinese markets…and probably make an unimaginable amount of money.
The game will be headed for PC and mobile devices, but it won’t be Minecraft as we in the U.S. of A know it. This version of Minecraft will be “tailored for the Chinese market,” and then published through a NetEase affiliate with a licensing deal for five years. According to NetEase CEO William Ding, the company expects that their “large online community [will] embrace this preeminent game.” Considering NetEase pulled in $1.1 billion of profit last year alone, it’s likely Minecraft will simply explode onto the market.
Although it’s true Minecraft has been available in China through the Xbox One, this release is meant to play to the apparent preference for PC and mobile platforms which developed during the 15-year console ban. It’s unclear exactly how this new release of Minecraft will look, but considering a large portion of NetEase’s success has hinged on a free-to-play model, we might be seeing a version of Minecraft quite unlike any other. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see what happens as big games get introduced into a previously fairly empty market- aside from them earning a ton of money, that is.