Microsoft announced its Q3 financial results on Tuesday, reporting a frankly incomprehensible $15.5 billion in net income. Windows revenue is up, and so is the gaming division, unsurprising given the launch of the new Xbox Series X and Series S. More interesting are the figures around Minecraft—specifically, how much money modders, rather than Microsoft itself, have made over the last few years.
"Creators have generated over $350 million from more than one billion downloads of mods, add-ons, and other experiences in Minecraft," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in Microsoft's third quarter earnings call today. That means $350 million in just the last four years—Microsoft launched its official Minecraft marketplace in 2017. That figure doesn't include any mod sales through other channels.
While Nadella didn't specify, I assume "generated" here means total sales, so modders haven't actually pocketed that much; Microsoft has said in the past it gives more than 50 percent of the revenue to creators, but it does keep a slice for itself.
According to Nadella's remarks on the earnings call, the Minecraft marketplace seems to be a template for success that Microsoft wants to follow with future games. "As games evolve into metaverse economies, we are building new tools to help anyone sell creations on our platforms," he said. "Minecraft had nearly 140 million monthly active users, up 30 percent year over year, making it one of the leading platforms in the creator economy… We’re also seeing a vibrant marketplace emerge in Flight Simulator, with partners now able to sell content directly within the game."
Microsoft's overall gaming revenue increased by $1.2 billion, or 50 percent, in the third quarter.