Could Nintendo Have Beaten Notch to the Minecraft Punch?

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Steve Anderson
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Could Nintendo Have Beaten Notch to the Minecraft Punch?

Minecraft is well known as one of the biggest names in construction kit games out there, and ever since, there have been a multitude of imitators and homages as Minecraft-style elements have even been added to some major triple-A titles like Fallout 4, in a sense. If gaming history had taken a different path, however, reports suggest that Nintendo might be the great creative force behind Minecraft, not Mojang.

The reports from Glixel revealed that Shigeru Miyamoto had actually been working on "experiments that were similar to that back in the N64 days, and we had some designs that were very similar." So if Nintendo could have had a Minecraft, why didn't it? Simple; Miyamoto noted "It's really impressive to me to see how they've been able to take that idea and turn it into a product."

If Miyamoto, therefore, was impressed by Mojang's development and overall product, it stands to reason that Nintendo couldn't match the job. Why be impressed by something that could have been done in-house? It was also worth noting that some reports suggested Minecraft wasn't as popular in Japan as it was elsewhere, and with Nintendo still very much a Japanese product, perhaps it just didn't get the American market that would have loved Minecraft. Given that Miyamoto also noted that he didn't spend much time playing competitors' games, the market could have indeed eluded him.

It would have been an interesting development, especially if Nintendo's Minecraft had proven as popular as Mojang's. What if Nintendo had had that kind of cash on its side in the console wars? Maybe the Wii U would have been a more powerful base to it, and been able to better keep pace with its rivals the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. That's a possibility, and there are certainly plenty of others including greater R&D potential and the kind of recurring income that comes from having a major new franchise on hand.

Ah, what might have been. There's a lot to watch out for in the world of gaming, and considering alternate histories can be fun to consider. An alternate world where Nintendo developed Minecraft first, however, is a strange but compelling possibility.


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