Minecraft Brings Timed Exclusivity to Smartphones

By  |  Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm

For some time, I debated whether Minecraft’s exclusivity with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play gaming phone was a newsworthy event on its own. Don’t get me wrong, I think Minecraft is awesome, but the idea of one platform getting a game before others is not something I’d usually write about here.

Except, this particular timed exclusivity applies to smartphones. That’s something.

As a games writer, watching smartphones become full-fledged gaming platforms has been a pleasure. I must admit to finding perverse joy in watching old business models get uprooted, while major console makers blindly insist that nothing’s wrong. The signs of change are everywhere, and timed exclusivity is one of them.

This is an old trick for game consoles. Microsoft makes a deal with Activision, for instance, and the Xbox 360 gets new Call of Duty maps before the Playstation 3. On phones, it’s unheard of. Sure, some games show up on the iPhone before Android phones, but developers aren’t negotiating with Apple on when they can bring their games to other devices.

With Minecraft, developer Mojang has granted an exclusivity period of undisclosed length before the game lands on iPhones and other Android phones. Sony Ericsson seems eager to hype the arrangement; it’s planning to show off the game during a party at E3. And with that, we have another sign of smartphone gaming’s ascent: a big press event for a single mobile game.

(Oh, and if you somehow missed the whole Minecraft craze to begin with, read up on how it works and why it matters. Or just watch this video of a working 16-bit computer built within the game world.)

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