Microsoft Bought Minecraft (in Part) Because of HoloLens, CEO Says

Minecraft for VR could "fundamentally help us change new categories," Satya Nadella says.

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Back in September, Microsoft paid a whopping $2.5 billion to buy Mojang and its sandbox hit Minecraft. At the time, some wondered why Microsoft was making such a move. Now, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says in a new interview with The New York Times that HoloLens was a major part of the decision.

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“Let's have a game that, in fact, will fundamentally help us change new categories," Nadella said. “HoloLens was very much in the works [when Microsoft announced the deal last year], and we knew it."

During the HoloLens announcement event in January, Microsoft showed off a Minecraft tech demo, though the company was clear that this was very much a work-in-progress. But it's not hard to imagine the appeal of Minecraft in an environment beyond a PC or smartphone.

GameSpot sister site CNET got to try the Minecraft demo back in January. Editor Nick Statt wrote about it: "The demo turns an entire room into a lively game world, punching holes into tables and through the walls to reveal interactive environments that can be changed with the tap of a finger."

While a Minecraft HoloLens full game/experience may still be a long time off, Minecraft is already a money-maker for the company. In Microsoft's latest quarter, Minecraft was a bright spot on an otherwise downtrodden financial report for the Xbox division.

Microsoft has not announced any real games for HoloLens yet or revealed when the headset will ship or what it will cost. But that news may be coming soon, as we learned this week that Microsoft is bringing HoloLens to E3. The company also recently signed a deal with game engine giant Unity (HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft), which could pave the way for more games to show up on the headset.

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