The U.S. firm announced today that it and Mojang, which continues to operate the world-building game, have struck a five-year agreement with top Chinese media firm NetEase to distribute PC and mobile versions of Minecraft in the country. There’s no immediate date for the launch at this point though.
We’re used to seeing international game makers customize their titles to China and Chinese culture in a bid to increase their appeal, and that appears to be the strategy that the trio will take with Minecraft. The companies said they will develop “a version of Minecraft tailored for the Chinese market” — it isn’t exactly clear what that might mean, but we can probably expect to see a Chinese take on buildings, terrain, characters and other features within the blockbuster game, which is particularly popular among kids.
Minecraft counts more than 100 million gamers — three of which hail from my household alone — and Microsoft will be looking to add a sizable chunk more to that figure from China, which has well cover 650 million Internet users.