Microsoft has confirmed that it is buying the hugely popular Minecraft game and the Mojang studio behind it. The purchase price is $2.5 billion. Microsoft claims it will continue to make Minecraft accessible across all platforms, including PC, iOS and Android. Microsoft is buying Minecraft's intellectual property, including game, licensing, and other rights, but it is not getting Markus "Notch", Persson, the game's creator. Mojang's team sent a note saying that "Notch, Carl and Jakob" are leaving. We don't know what their plans are. It won't be Minecraft-related, but it will likely be cool." (Carl Manneh is Mojang's CEO and Jakob Porser a co-founder).
Have you heard of Minecraft? Frankly, we're impressed. The game's meteoric rise from an indie darling created by "Notch" to multi-billion-dollar powerhouse has been highly publicized. Minecraft was a huge mainstream success. Not only did it lead the industry to release early, unfinished games, but it also helped create a new trend in the game industry. The game's iconic "Creeper", a character that is beloved by both casual and hardcore gamers, is a staple of gaming's hardcore and casual mobile gamers.
Rumours of a Microsoft acquisition began last week. A rumored purchase price was $2 billion. According to these reports, Notch approached Microsoft for a buyout. According to Mojang's statements, today's statement seems to confirm this report. Mojang said that he has decided that he does not want to take on the responsibility of running a company with such global significance. "Over the years, he tried to work on smaller projects but the pressure of owning Minecraft became overwhelming. Mojang was his only option.
Notch's own statements seem far more serious. His statement begins with "I don't see myself as an actual game developer." He claims that Minecraft has grown to be far more than he expected and that it has become overwhelming to manage. He's done with "big games" for a long time. "As soon the deal is completed, I will leave Mojang to go back to doing Ludum Dares or small web experiments. He writes that if he makes a mistake and it gains traction, he will likely abandon it immediately. Notch addresses the price of the buyout, saying, "It is not about the money." It's about my sanity."
Phil Spencer, the Xbox lead, is thrilled about the deal. He said that Minecraft "inspires millions to create together and connects people across all of the globe and is a community which is among the most passionate and active in the world." For the investors, it appears that Microsoft doesn't care too much about spending all that money. The release states that Microsoft expects the acquisition will be profitable in FY15 on a GAAP-based basis. This means that Microsoft expects to recoup the $2.5 billion it spent on Minecraft by July 2015.