Last week a rumor popped up that Microsoft was looking to buy Minecraft developer Mojang for about $2 billion. This morning it’s official and they spent even more than originally rumored, a whopping $2.5 billion.
â€œGaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year,â€ said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. â€œMinecraft is more than a great game franchise â€“ it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.â€
It’s said that Microsoft made this purchase to boost their mobile presence, such as Windows Phone, where their app store is tiny compare to Apple and Google as developers are reluctant to put their apps on the platform. Having Minecraft show up on the Windows store for their phones is a pretty big deal, the game has consistently been a top-grosser on iOS with countless clones.
Mojang explained why they sold to Microsoft:
As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. Heâ€™s decided that he doesnâ€™t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years heâ€™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. Heâ€™ll continue to do cool stuff though. Donâ€™t worry about that.
Mojang founders Notch, Carl, and Jakob are leaving the company.
Both Mojang and Microsoft confirmed that Minecraft will continue to be available on the platforms it currently is, although what the future will hold for the PlayStation family of platforms, as well as iOS and Android versions, isn’t yet known. Microsoft does publish apps on iOS and Android, although a future version of Minecraft may be an exception if they want to drive people to their mobile platform.
So here’s your gaming megaton for the year, and this is one that will be interesting to see how it plays out both in how Microsoft handles Minecraft going forward and how people react to the franchise being own by MS.