For years people have been lauding the World of Warcraft model that’s been in place for 14 years now: build with expansions and don’t split the playerbase. Some companies like Bungie defied this (creating Destiny 2 right as Destiny 1 got good) and suffered backlash for it. Other developers like the Minecraft team are embracing it.
Speaking to Business Insider, Minecraft Studio Head Helen Chiang definitively cast aside speculation that a “Minecraft 2” was coming anytime soon: “I really don’t think that makes sense for Minecraft, given the community. It’s something that always fractures the community. The way that we’ve decided to expand… is a way that we’re trying to keep our community together. That’s why our updates our free. We don’t want to ask [players] to move from ‘Minecraft 1’ to ‘Minecraft 2.’ We want them to just enjoy ‘Minecraft.’ And there’s other ways that we can expand that are more meaningful and authentic to what we want to be, rather than just releasing another iteration in the way that most other franchises do.”
To build off of the original they’re experimenting with minigames and full-on expansions, like the recently announced Minecraft: Dungeons. As long as they can keep their player count high it’s both a sound strategy and a beacon for the industry to not hastily abandon projects for shiny new $60 SKUs.