September 16, 2014
Microsoft has agreed to purchase Mojang, the Swedish company responsible for developing the world-building computer game “Minecraft.” The $2.5 billion cash deal, expected to be completed later this year, will bring the immensely popular title — and the Stockholm-based Mojang team — to Microsoft Studios, which publishes blockbuster game series such as “Fable” and “Halo.” “Minecraft” is currently the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for iOS and Android in the U.S.
Microsoft says that its investments in cloud and mobile tech will allow “Minecraft” players “to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect across the ‘Minecraft’ community.”
“‘Minecraft’ is one of the most popular franchises of all time,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “We are going to maintain ‘Minecraft’ and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future.”
According to the press release, Microsoft will continue to make “Minecraft” available across all platforms including PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.
Several sources have reported in the last week that a deal would help make Microsoft a player in the world of mobile games — and the real reason the company has pursued “Minecraft” is to bring the popular game to its Windows Phone OS and its Windows Store mobile app store.
Minecraft’s creator, Markus Persson — also known by his gamer tag Notch — wrote in a blog post yesterday that he plans to leave Mojang after the deal closes.
“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,” he wrote. “I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.”
“Persson and Mojang had repeatedly rebuffed takeover entreaties in the past, but by the time Microsoft made an initial approach about three months ago, the game developer was more willing to consider cashing out,” reports The New York Times.
Why Parents Are Raising Their Kids on Minecraft, The Verge, 9/15/14