Upon hearing that Microsoft would be buying the company behind the wildly popular Minecraft video game, 10-year-old Sabrina Lane had just one request: Don't mess it up, OK?
Lane published an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella titled "Dear Microsoft: Don't mess up Minecraft!" on Fortune.com Friday morning, amid rumors of the sale. While some fans called Minecraft's creator a sellout, Lane directed her attention to the game's new owners. Microsoft officially announced the purchase Monday morning.
"So I’ve heard the news that Microsoft might buy Minecraft, one of my favorite games. Kids like me — and teens — love the game, so I have a message for you and everyone at Microsoft: please don’t change it!" she wrote.
"You can choose to play Minecraft in two different modes: “Creative” and “Survival.” The Creative mode lets you build anything you want (it’s like being in the Lego Movie. You feel free as a bird — it’s awesome). In Survival mode you have to earn your materials and fight with Creepers to survive. It’s about risk-taking, and it’s totally cool!
That’s why Minecraft is perfect the way it is: You can choose to build any way you want, making amazing creations, or you can build like you’re in the real world, and do amazing things."
Sabrina, the daughter of Fortune Senior Editor Jennifer Reingold and Forbes Editor Randall Lane, has been an avid player of the game for over a year. Reingold told The Huffington Post that she and her colleagues were discussing the potential sale of Mojang, the company that owns Minecraft, to Microsoft at a recent editorial meeting when the staff realized that none of them played or knew much about Minecraft.
Knowing her daughter's enthusiasm for the game, Reingold decided to ask if she would be willing to write something for the magazine's website. Sabrina agreed, and she typed up the letter to Microsoft's CEO. Despite being professional editors, her parents refrained from making major changes. Reingold said her husband did break up a few sentences and fix a couple of typos.
"It was my first time writing like this, but I've learned how to organize paragraphs at school. You have to give a few reasons why you want it, so that's basically what I did," Sabrina shared with HuffPost.
Sabrina first learned about Minecraft through friends last year at summer camp.
In the letter, Sabrina writes that she loves the game because it's educational -- a selling point she used to convince her parents to spend $6.99 on the app version.
"Minecraft is educational because you have to earn your stuff," she writes. "If you want milk, you milk a cow. If you want diamonds, you start mining, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find some."
Reingold said that she and her husband are "pretty restrictive" about what apps Sabrina can download and how often she can play. Minecraft impressed her because of how creative and open-ended the game can be, allowing players to build their own universe. That very open-endedness is one reason Reingold isn't hooked on the game, however.
"I have tried [playing the game] a little bit, but it's way beyond my creative and technological capacity as an older parent," Reingold said.
The game has been a favorite of Sabrina's friends, both boys and girls, for more than a year -- with the exception of someone named Ruth, whom Sabrina calls out in her letter. Don't fret, Sabrina's mom talked to Ruth's mom before the letter was published.
Sabrina said that she would continue to play Minecraft under the new owners, but she has to take a break right now since she's lost her iPod Touch.
"I can't find it anywhere. But hopefully I'll find it soon, and I'll play," Sabrina said.