Microsoft Buys Minecraft Maker Mojang for $2.5 Billion

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Buys emMinecraft/em Maker Mojang for $2.5 Billion

Microsoft just announced in a press release that it has acquired Mojang, creators of Minecraft, in a $2.5 billion deal. Furthermore, all three of Mojang's original founders, including Markus "Notch" Persson, will be leaving Mojang following the acquisition.

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Head of Xbox Phil Spencer talks about the acquisition in an Xbox Wire blog post, where he confirms that the official Minecraft convention, Minecon, will continue next year under the wings of Microsoft.

Owen Hill of Mojang also weighed in over at the developer's official website, where he posted a short FAQ about the deal—mentioning the departure of the company's founders, and, most importantly, confirming that the non-Xbox versions of Minecraft will continue to be actively developed and supported:

Why did you sell Minecraft?

Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance. Though we're massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch's intention for it to get this big.

As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He's decided that he doesn't want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he's made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang. He'll continue to do cool stuff though. Don't worry about that.

There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves. We've worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development. We're confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way.

Minecraft means many different things to millions of people across the world, and to each and every Mojangsta. We feel that this is the best way for everyone – you guys included – to benefit.

What about the other editions of Minecraft? Will they stop being developed?

There's no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can't make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.

We're extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together.

Is the game going to change? Will we still be able to make videos, mods, awesome builds, and all the cool stuff we've created over the past few years?

Minecraft will continue to evolve, just like it has since the start of development. We don't know specific plans for Minecraft's future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it's ever been. Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone's interests.

What about the Mojang staff? What's happening to you guys?

Though it's too early to confirm which of us will continue working on Minecraft or other projects, we predict that the vast majority (if not all) Mojangstas will continue to work at Mojang for the time being.

The founders: Notch, Carl, and Jakob are leaving. We don't know what they're planning. It won't be Minecraft-related but it will probably be cool.

What's happening to the other Mojang projects, like Scrolls?

We don't know yet. We'll share any news as soon as we do.

Will you still be able to tweet about features and interact with the community on a personal level, just like you've done over the years?

Yes! That's not going to change.

How much money was the company bought for?

Microsoft acquired Mojang for a smooth 2.5 BILLION dollars.

On his blog, Notch gave his reasons for taking the deal and leaving Mojang:

I don't see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it's fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don't make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don't try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it's changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It's certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.

(...)

I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn't understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn't have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I've become a symbol. I don't want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don't understand, that I don't want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm not a CEO. I'm a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately.

(...)

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. 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.

Jeb, thecurrent lead developer for Minecraft on PC, has indicated in a tweet that he would not be leaving Mojang.

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Rumors of the deal first emerged last week, with reports assuming, apparently correctly, that Notch would not remain with Mojang following the transition.

Minecraft to Join Microsoft [Microsoft Press Release]

Minecraft to Join Microsoft [Xbox Wire]

Yes, we're being bought by Microsoft [Mojang]

I'm leaving Mojang [Notch.net]

Questions? Comments? Contact the author of this post at andras-AT-kotaku-DOT-com.

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DISCUSSION

Notch just got himself a LOT of money. AND he gets to wash his hands and leave.

Microsoft just wasted a TON of money on a game that isn't even a franchise yet. The amount of money they paid for a third-party indie game is enough to cover the entire budget of Grand Theft Auto V 5x over.

Rather than invest in their OWN studios and their OWN properties, they just tossed an insane truckload of cash at one single game. That blows my mind. Even RARE (who they bought for over 350 million) had nearly 20 years of proven talent and quality IPs (every last one of which they screwed up, shelved, or squandered after Microsoft took charge).

For perspective, it would take 125,000,000 copies of Minecraft sold at at a full $20 to just break EVEN for this deal to reach profitability. For Xbox One perspectives, with it having sold roughly 5 million systems over a year, it would take 25 years of constant Xbox One sales to reach 125,000,000 systems sold, and then every last single solitary Xbox One owner must buy the game at full price just to crack even.

This isn't even like Angry Birds, which had legitimate sequels... and Angry Birds as a fad is "over" according to the creator (no longer in the top 100 apps).

This is why Nintendo claims they don't buy studios or IPs... they buy the TALENT behind the IP and studio.

Microsoft just bought Minecraft, but the heart, mind, and soul of the game, it's creator, is not part of the deal. The exact same mistake Microsoft made years ago with RARE....