#lego

As expected, Microsoft has announced the massive $2.5B acquisition. And good for them for saying they’ll continue to support all the platforms the game currently supports, including PlayStation, Android, and iOS (though, notably, Mojang itself seems to do quite a bit more hedging in their statement — saying, basically, everything is always subject to change). 

What I don’t understand is why people think this deal doesn’t make sense. It makes a ton of sense. Microsoft already has a history of doing this type of deal with Bungie amongst others. That deal made the Xbox. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that without Halo, the Xbox would have failed. 

But more importantly, I fully agree with John Lily’s take the other day: this is about access to the next generation of makers (developers, tinkerers, etc). More than once, I’ve been in a random place in a random part of the world and seen a kid glued to their phone playing Minecraft. 

That phone, of course, was not a Windows Phone. And it’s probably too much to hope that now it will be — that battle has long been fought and lost, even if Microsoft won’t admit it yet. But if Microsoft is thinking about this the right way, this should be about more than phones.

I’m just shocked they beat Lego, now the largest toy maker in the world, to this deal.

Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, speaking with Jens Hansegard:

Hansegard: You’ve done a few, small designer collector sets with Minecraft, a popular block-building videogame. Now, we’ve been told that something bigger is coming up. Is this true?

Knudstorp: Minecraft is a very fascinating game because it offers a great construction-like experience. We’re very happy to work with the company. Making Lego Minecraft products was one of the biggest wished-for items and they have done very, very well in the market. That’s why we are expanding our offering. That’s all I can reveal right now. We think it’s a very exciting opportunity for us.

I’ll say. That’s going to be massive.

"Back to the Brick"

"The company almost collapsed … having drifted for years, diversifying into too many areas, producing too many products…"

A newly appointed leader comes in an “decreed that the company must go ‘back to the brick’: focusing on its core products, forgetting about brand-stretching…”

He also imposed “stricter management controls, for example reducing the number of different” products…

"But at the same time it must resist the sort of undisciplined innovation that almost ruined it."

"Can the company continue its winning streak? Its growth is slowing: its net profits grew by 9% in 2013 compared with 35% in 2012, and its revenues rose by 10% compared with 23% in 2012"

"When the company is getting bigger and the market isn’t growing, it’s a pure mathematical consequence that growth rates will have to reach a more sustainable level."

"…Relatively late in making its China play—jumping in when some other western firms are jumping out with nothing but regrets to show for it."

If I made you guess which company the quotes above are about, I assume you’d pick Apple. And understandably so. But you’d be wrong.

It’s actually Lego.

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