Minecraft - Dazed Sheep

I first became interested in Minecraft back when it was still in alpha. I was going to buy it during its alpha phase, but I waited, and then the game went into beta and increased its price. Apparently, this happened in December of 2010, which means I’ve been playing Minecraft for almost 11 years at this point.

And I didn’t just stick with my initial PC copy. I actually reviewed the game when it launched on Xbox 360. I purchased it on PS3 and then again on PS4, and I eventually picked up a physical copy for my Nintendo Switch. And, because there was an issue with my PC version (I assume this had something to do with the Microsoft acquisition), I ended up buying it again in the Microsoft Store.

If all this wasn’t quite enough, I recently picked it up on Game Pass on my Xbox Series S so I could do a little crafty-crafty miney-miney. Then a weird thing happened. I logged in and saw this:

Minecraft - Player Survey

Yes, there was an in-game player survey asking me if I was enjoying Minecraft. I clicked yes, with the intent to simply close the box — I wasn’t actually hoping to take part in any sort of Microsoft survey shenanigans — and that was it. There weren’t follow-up questions or anything like that. Just a single yes-or-no question.

I didn’t think much of it when it happened (though I did take a screenshot), but ever since then, I’ve been wondering about it. Why would this question come up? Now, I actually worked briefly in UX, and one of the things I did was write user surveys for a piece of software. So I have a little bit of an understanding about how these things typically work.

The thing is, in this case, this is completely baffling to me. There are better ways to gauge my enjoyment of a game rather than straight up asking me. While I’m sure Microsoft isn’t taking the time to read all of the articles I’ve written about this game over the years (and there have been many), there are other options for collecting this data.

Minecraft

For example, you could log my play time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft could actually track that for players of Minecraft — especially those who scored it for free on Game Pass. If you really need this data, just make data tracking a requirement for the Game Pass version of the game. Most of us who just want to play Minecraft would just idly click through those terms of service and probably care very little about the fact that our data was being scraped.

I did a little bit of Googling, and while there are many mentions of Minecraft customer surveys, I couldn’t find anything related to this specific one, aside from one tweet from Minecraft News.

So what’s the deal? I have no idea. As a way of collecting data, this is a pretty ineffective one. I mean, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that enough people simply click through this without reading it that the data collected from this has to be functionally useless. The only hypothesis I’ve been able to come up with is that maybe clicking yes just closes the survey, but clicking no allows you to leave feedback. Okay, so there’s a chance — albeit a small one — that this could potentially lead to useful data. More than likely, though, if you’re not enjoying Minecraft, you probably aren’t playing it, right?

Minecraft is so ubiquitous at this point that a vast majority of Americans know what it is. Yes, that includes your 80-year-old grandma who is afraid of computers and hasn’t even turned on a television in two decades. I have a feeling that if we aren’t enjoying Minecraft, we probably know better than to turn it on, right?

If I get this pop-up again, I will answer no to see what happens. In the meantime, I’ll be scratching my head over this weirdest of Minecraft mysteries.

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