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Microsoft has Acquired Mojang

minecraft 09-15-14-1

It seems like all of the murmurs and backdoor confirmations have been proven true – Microsoft has really purchased Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion dollars.

The company formally announced the acquisition via a press release, which was addressed by Xbox boss Phil Spencer:

Today is an incredibly exciting day for our team as Mojang and the Minecraft franchise join Microsoft. Minecraft is one of the most popular video games of all time, with more than 100 million downloads, on PC alone, from players since its launch in 2009. Minecraft inspires millions to create together, connects people across the globe, and is a community that is among the most active and passionate in the world.

Our relationship with Mojang began when we initially talked to the team about bringing Minecraft to the console. Minecraft quickly became the top online game on Xbox Live, with over two billion hours played on Xbox 360 in the last two years. That working relationship set the ground work for other opportunities. We’ve long seen the incredible potential of Minecraft.

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. 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.

The Minecraft community is passionate and diverse, ranging across all ages and demographics. We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great, and we’ll carry on the tradition of innovation to move the franchise forward. Our investments in cloud, Xbox Live and mobile technology will enable players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect with the Minecraft community.

We’re excited to confirm that MINECON will continue next year. We’ll look to create even more ways for the vibrant community of YouTuber’s, innovators, bloggers and players to connect with each other – both in person and online. We will have much more to share in the coming months.

The Minecraft team’s unique vision, creative energy and innovative mindset make them a perfect fit alongside our other global studios. Microsoft Studios includes 343 Industries, Turn 10 Studios, and Lionhead Studios just to name a few. These industry-leading game studios within Microsoft that have had great success with beloved games and massively popular franchises like Halo, Forza, and Fable. We’re excited to welcome Mojang to the Microsoft family and we are thrilled to support the success and longevity of Minecraft for years to come.

To be clear, the current iterations of the game (even non-Xbox platforms) will continue to remain available, and will be supported via patches and such. However, it has been confirmed that Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, is in fact leaving the company immediately following the acquisition.

The confirmation comes via Mojang’s Owen Hill:

“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.”

Hill also confirmed that while most of the staff at Mojang are staying on board, the founders Carl and Jakob are leaving with Notch.

So what do you guys think? Is this merely the stepping stone towards Minecraft becoming wholly Xbox exclusive in the future?

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5 comments
  1. DSanchez
    DSanchez
    September 15, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I think they may try to lean more on the network restructure by forcing an msn account etc. Similar to how they migrated skype and such. There will be a tighter hold on the pc distribution/access that’s for sure.

  2. Phelan
    Phelan
    September 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Hahaha, you know what’s funny? I just saw comment that perfectly describes our situation.

    “That awkward moment when Microsoft is supporting Vita more than Sony ”
    from CVG (sorry to mention another site, but hey you are still much better!)

  3. B.E.
    B.E.
    September 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    As this got super long I’ll put this on top..

    tl;dr Almost no one wins. Players lose out, Microsoft wasted money chasing profit that is all gone, Everyone left at Mojangs mission goes from ‘to be creative’ to “to make as much $$$ as possible.

    I stick with my initial opinion on this as it was. Its a great thing for anyone who gets a direct cut of that money. (assuming the founders all walk away with more money then they will ever need in their lifetimes). Everyone else…gets the shaft though.

    The other people working at Mojang? Who do you want to work for, someone who created/pored love into the game..or Microsoft? Someone who is actually constrained and unhappy with the game making so much money, because of how it restricts and constrains the freedom to be creative and expand..or the company that is 100% about money money money, and values that above all other avenues. And of course..do you even want to work for either the big coporation or the guys who cut ship and sell your previously owned indie company to a massive corporation..and then split with all the profit to go do the ‘1/3 man basement indie team’ or whatever. Lose lose..?

    What about Microsoft? You are paying a massive amount of money in order to acquire a property that is rapidly running out of space. The primary/best experience for Minecraft, long term, is always going to be on the PC. The wealth of mods, complicated as they are to install mean your most long-term, dedicated fan base is going to remain on the PC. For the rest, minecraft has seen success on other systems for the same reason its initial release/build up did on the PC. To people who only first discovered it on console, it had the same magic and draw it did to that first growing PC audience. But, like that same PC audience a large portion of the console audience is going to decline and move on to other things. Microsoft wants a massive ‘indie’ console game they can claim for their own, to push the xbox1. They are going to fine that Minecraft isn’t it.

    Trying to tap more on the Pc market won’t work either..They are not a PC gaming company anymore and haven’t been for almost 2 decades.. Please look at the absolute disaster that was games for windows live, trying to force game exclusivity to windows 8..etc etc)..and besides the well for minecraft on the PC is mostly dry, consisting of people who already own the game, or are likely to use versions of it Microsoft didn’t get money off of(i.e. mods) , so won’t approve. Imagine..Minecraft 2, An Xbox 1 game brought to you by the creators of the all time popular original. Featuring content freely available in the original mine craft you already own via modding! That’ll be great for console only players, absolutely. But..how many of those will there be?

    Finally, how does this play out for the fans? Notch and company are jumping ship, we might get some new indie content from them, so in that sense we win. Of course, if you like Scrolls..it may well be dead in a bit, or have its model drastically worsened via pay-to-win. And then there is the general idea, sure Microsoft is going to support the versions on the already existing platforms..but they won’t for any new games. You can be damn sure they are not gonna spend that kind of cash..to develop games for the Vita/PS4/PC a year or two from now. You go from a beloved game being owned by a man who wants to be creative, expressive, and has been extremely open/talkative with his design choices, progress and Decisions..to Microsoft. Who will sell you hype, try to get as much money as they can, and keep you as in the dark as possible because ‘that makes you more excited for the new Halo!” Big publishers absolutely have their place.

    So, the 3 men leaving the company come out ahead, the people who will enjoy any content they can now create, free of responsibility for minecraft are happy. Everyone else loses.

  4. Aristides
    Aristides
    September 15, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    The image on the headline… is that? No… I’ve been reading too many manga gamer articles and going crazy… right? …RIGHT?!

  5. GDI
    GDI
    September 16, 2014 at 12:08 am

    2.5 billion. Imagine how many AAA Xbone-exclusive JRPGs they could have funded.

    But no. It’s just for a game everyone has already played on the PC.