KEY POINTS

  • Almost six years after acquiring Mojang Studios, the developers of "Minecraft," Microsoft is finally migrating the online infrastructure from Amazon Web Studios to Azure
  • If even a fraction of the 126 million monthly players of "Minecraft Realms" pay for it on Azure, that's still less money going to Microsoft's competitor in the cloud space
  • The reason it took so long to migrate was, according to Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty, they didn't want to mess with Mojang Studio's culture 

“Minecraft” developer Mojang Studios is finally bringing the game home to Microsoft after six years on Amazon Web Services.

Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. That being said, you would think that Mojang Studios, also owned by Microsoft, would be using the online infrastructure of Azure.

However, since 2014, Mojang has used AWS to offer “Minecraft Realms.” The $8 per month subscription service allows players to create private play spaces for their friends and them without having to deal with the challenges of setting up and hosting a private server.  

"Mojang Studios has used AWS in the past, but we've been migrating all cloud services to Azure over the last few years," a spokesperson for the company told CNBC as reported by Engadget. "We'll be fully transitioned to Azure by the end of the year."

In a move that is probably long overdue, the move makes a ton of sense for Microsoft. After all, there are 126 million monthly active “Minecraft” players, making it one of the most popular games in the world.

Meanwhile, Azure has also been a consistent performer for Microsoft. In Q2 2020, the company said the division's revenue increased by 27 percent year over year. Even if just some of those 126 million players pay for “Minecraft Realms,” that would still be less revenue being funneled to Microsoft’s main competitor in the cloud space.

Why then did it take so long for Microsoft to bring Mojang Studios and “Minecraft” to Azure? Apparently, Microsoft did not want to mess with the studio’s culture.

"It would be easy for a large organization to come in and say: 'Hey, we're going to show you how it's done. We're going to get you off this Java code. We're going to get things moved over to C. We're going to get you off Amazon Web Services and over to Azure,'" said Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, in a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz reported by Engadget.

“But it's important to realize that the conditions that created “Minecraft,” how it came to be, are likely to be things that are difficult to recreate within a more corporate structure,” Booty said.

minecraft Several Minecraft themed apps in the Google Play Store contained malware. Photo: BagoGames/Flickr