Minecraft may be an inescapable household game around the world, but the billion-dollar gaming phenomenon has actually missed out on the world's most populated country until now.
Minecraft developer Mojang announced today that its blocky blockbuster will finally be coming to China, courtesy of a licensing agreement with Chinese internet affiliate NetEase, Inc.
It's certainly odd it's taken so long for one of the most financially-successful and well-known video games in history to make it to China, but what isn't as surprising is the fact that the game will be altered for its release in the country.
For reasons we can only theorize, the Chinese version of Minecraft will not be the same game with over 70 million copies solid across 14 platforms.
"The plan is to develop a version of Minecraft tailored for the Chinese market," writes Owen Hill, creative communications director at Mojang. "It probably won't affect most of you, seeing as you're probably not based in China," he added.
NetEase has experience bringing some of the PC's biggest online games to Chinese audiences, having struck a deal with bigwig Blizzard Entertainment to bring World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and StarCraft II into the country in the past.
"We are excited to bring Minecraft to Chinese audiences, and expect our large online community to embrace this preeminent game," said William Ding, CEO and founder of NetEase. "With our deep understanding of the Chinese market and our ability to successfully launch world-renowned online and mobile games, we offer a strong platform for the introduction of Minecraft to China's vast user base. "
Unfortunately, Mojang didn't go into any other details regarding what changes would go into Minecraft per NetEase's licensing agreement However, the developer did clarify that mainland Chinese audiences can look forward to playing both the PC version of the building phenomenon and the portable Minecraft: Pocket Edition when the work is completed.
We can't imagine the game is being revised for improvements, instead it's more likely that content is being cut given the country's recent pushback against Western developers and/or its long-standing strict government oversight over the Internet.