Minecraft, the most popular video game and a Microsoft property since 2014 will soon abandon Amazon Web Services in favor of Microsoft Azure, CNBC is reporting today. Minecraft developer Mojang has been using AWS to run Minecraft Realms, a multiplayer hosting service that launched in 2014, the same year Microsoft acquired the developer.
According to a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson to CNBC, Minecraft’s transition to Azure has been an ongoing process in recent years. “Mojang Studios has used AWS in the past, but we’ve been migrating all cloud services to Azure over the last few years. We’ll be fully transitioned to Azure by the end of the year,” the Microsoft spokesperson wrote.
Amazon remains the leading cloud provider ahead of Microsoft and Google, and Minecraft wasn’t the only Microsoft service to leverage AWS. LinkedIn, one of Microsoft’s biggest acquisitions in recent years used to be an AWS shop before switching to Azure last year, and the professional social network also moved from Google’s G Suite to Office 365 back in 2018.
In a recent interview with Gameindustry.biz, various Xbox executives explained that Microsoft had kept a hands-off approach with its new game studios following its acquisition of Mojang in 2014. Head of Mojang Helen Chiang emphasized that Microsoft didn’t want developers to fear that Microsoft would force them to change the way they work. "It was about making sure they trusted that the leaders were not going to do harmful things to Minecraft,” the exec said.
Fast forward to 2020, it seems that enough water has flown under the bridge for Mojang to move to Microsoft Azure. It's worth to keep in mind that Xbox head Phil Spencer recently designated Amazon and Google as Microsoft's biggest rivals in the video games industry, rather than Sony and Nintendo.