Microsoft has announced that it has bought Minecraft and developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. Releasing details of the deal on the official Xbox site, Phil Spencer confirmed that talks had been ongoing since 2012 about a possible acquisition and that he was excited about working with the developers and community to help Minecraft further grow and evolve.
The news came largely as a surprise and many fans expressed concern about what this could mean for the hit game in the future, especially considering it has its roots firmly as an independent title. Microsoft though has moved to ease any fears by stating that they do will support the title across all existing platforms and look to grow the brand further. They have also pledged to continue community events such as MINECON and work with video producers on YouTube to allow content to continue to be uploaded.
Minecraft is now available across a variety of platforms, including PC, Android, iOS, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It also recently launched on next generation consoles, boosting its sales past the 50 million mark and the title continues to be one of the best-selling games across all platforms despite the fact that it has been available for several years. Last year Mojang made profits of more than $100 million, indicating just how popular Minecraft is.
Mojang also released a statement following the announcement. The developer admitted that plans about the future of the game and the studio are unclear but that they are excited to begin working with Microsoft and want to keep the community involved in the game as much as possible. However, they did reveal that the three founders of the company will be leaving following the acquisition. This means that Markus Persson, Carl O. Manneh and Jakob Porser will no longer be involved with any projects at Mojang.
Persson, known better as Notch, is the original creator of Minecraft and is a popular figure on Twitter and other communities where he has been outspoken about Microsoft and other issues in the past. His own personal statement explains why he sold Minecraft to Microsoft and goes into detail about the problems he has faced due to the games popularity. “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,” said Persson. “I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.”