May 12, 2016
Minecraft is an exceptionally popular video game among people of all ages. Its influence reaches far and wide. But for one man in France, Minecraft was much more than just a fun distraction. In fact, it changed the trajectory of their business goals. They were able to leverage their addiction to the game into a profitable business model. The story of how a video game development business missed its mark, but was replaced by a lucrative Minecraft hosting service is one you are not going to want to miss out on.
Funding a Passion
James Copeland had a passion for playing video games. So much so, that he dreamed of developing and marketing his own video games. However, before he could make a mark in the world of game development, his company had to get funding.
In order to make this happen, he started a side venture hosting servers for Minecraft gamers called GGServers. As it turns out, this became more profitable than he could’ve imagined, and is now his main focus.
When Minecraft was released, it became an instant success. That popularity and growth shows no signs of slowing any time soon. In fact, if nothing else, the popularity of the game (and its related merchandising) is growing exponentially. Growing along with that is Copeland’s venture.
The company has been in operation since 2013 with data centers now located in Montreal, Paris, Chicago, Los Angeles, Kansas, Las Vegas and Prague.
Minecraft is known as a sandbox game. It has an audience of nearly 20 million active players. It was developed and released by the Swedish company Mojang, which has since been acquired by Microsoft. Players of Minecraft explore virtual realms in the game, but must also gather the materials required to build shelter before nighttime.
Minecraft servers, like the ones hosted by GGServers, give players the ability to engage one another in a multiplayer version of the game. Using hosting services allows players to leave and re-enter the game, so when they turn off their personal devices, they won’t disrupting the gameplay of others.
Business owners who are willing to invest money in computer equipment can turn it into a money-making opportunity by renting out server space to teams of players who don’t wish to maintain their own servers. Other games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty work the same way. GGServers now rent out servers in 8 locations worldwide with around 10,000 to 12,000 virtual servers online at any given time.
Of course, owning the servers is just the first step. Players count on reliability. If the servers are not properly maintained, and outages become an issue, people will quickly find another hosting service.
As mentioned above, this all started in order to fund the development of a browser based video game. However, Copeland’s entry into hosting servers for Minecraft could not have been timed any better. He started their hosting business in 2013. This also happened to be the year that Minecraft’s popularity absolutely skyrocketed.
The profits became the driving factor behind the decision to make hosting the company’s focus. Copeland decided to play on the “affordability” factor and prove that cheap doesn’t always stand for “low-cost” thus expanding his user-base rapidly to a few thousands in the first year of operations.
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