Well folks, it is now official. After being rumored these past couple weeks, Microsoft and Mojang announced yesterday that Mojang, the studio behind the wildly popular game Minecraft, has been purchased outright by Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion dollars. That’s Billion folks. I don’t even think I can wrap my head around that much money.
“At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms,” Phil Spencer said yesterday in a post on Xbox Wire. “Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise. That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC.”
From Microsoft’s standpoint, the move makes perfect sense. Minecraft is a global force and is incredibly popular from a huge range of fans. The two studios have worked very well with each other over the years when it first came to the Xbox 360 so the relationship continues to be strong. Plus, the title is on pretty much any and all platforms available so not only are they going to make a ton of money now owning the rights to it, but from a marketing perspective, they now have access to a wider demographic than they normally would through other brands like Xbox.
The good news for you non-Xbox platform folks is that Microsoft has no intentions of removing Minecraft from anything. So PlayStation owners can rest easy. In addition, Microsoft also intends to keep Minecon around at least for another year as well.
On the Mojang side, nothing really changes either. Employees are still employed, Minecraft continues to sell and be played, and the game isn’t going to be changed anytime soon. So why did Mojang feel the need to sell in the first place? In a very open and personal letter, Notch explained his decision process and why this deal ultimately happened.
“I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big,” said Markus ‘Notch’ Persson on a post via his blog. “In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.
It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.”
As you can see, it seems Notch became something more than he intended with Minecraft and ultimately didn’t want that kind of attention. He’s a programmer at heart and it seems he’s going to go back to doing what he loves outside of the spotlight. If you want to read his entire letter, you can do so from his personal site, here. It’s a very interesting and worthwhile read.
So Minecraft fans, how does this news sit with you? Are you happy with the acquisition or are you a bit worried about the future? Let me know in the comments.