Microsoft Buys Minecraft Maker Mojang For $US2.5 Billion

Microsoft Buys Minecraft Maker Mojang for $US2.5 Billion

Microsoft just announced in a press release that it has acquired Mojang, creators of Minecraft, in a $US2.5 billion deal. Furthermore, all three of Mojang's original founders, including Markus "Notch" Persson, will be leaving Mojang following the acquisition.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer talks about the acquisition in an Xbox Wire blog post, where he confirms that the official Minecraft convention, Minecon, will continue next year under the wings of Microsoft.

Owen Hill of Mojang also weighed in over at the developer's official website, where he posted a short FAQ about the deal — mentioning the departure of the company's founders, and, most importantly, confirming that the non-Xbox versions of Minecraft will continue to be actively developed and supported:

Why did you sell Minecraft?

Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance. Though we're massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch's intention for it to get this big.

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.

There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves. We've worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development. We're confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way.

Minecraft means many different things to millions of people across the world, and to each and every Mojangsta. We feel that this is the best way for everyone — you guys included — to benefit.

What about the other editions of Minecraft? Will they stop being developed?

There's no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can't make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.

We're extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together.

Is the game going to change? Will we still be able to make videos, mods, awesome builds, and all the cool stuff we've created over the past few years?

Minecraft will continue to evolve, just like it has since the start of development. We don't know specific plans for Minecraft's future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it's ever been. Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone's interests.

What about the Mojang staff? What's happening to you guys?

Though it's too early to confirm which of us will continue working on Minecraft or other projects, we predict that the vast majority (if not all) Mojangstas will continue to work at Mojang for the time being.

The founders: Notch, Carl, and Jakob are leaving. We don't know what they're planning. It won't be Minecraft-related but it will probably be cool.

What's happening to the other Mojang projects, like Scrolls?

We don't know yet. We'll share any news as soon as we do.

Will you still be able to tweet about features and interact with the community on a personal level, just like you've done over the years?

Yes! That's not going to change.

How much money was the company bought for?

Microsoft acquired Mojang for a smooth 2.5 BILLION dollars.

On his blog, Notch gave his reasons for taking the deal and leaving Mojang:

I don't see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it's fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don't make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don't try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it's changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It's certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.

(...)

I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn't understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realise I didn't have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I've become a symbol. 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. I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm not a CEO. I'm a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

As soon as this deal is finalised, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately.

(...)

I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can't be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it's belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.

It's not about the money. It's about my sanity.

Rumours of the deal first emerged last week, with reports assuming, apparently correctly, that Notch would not remain with Mojang following the transition.

Minecraft to Join Microsoft [Microsoft Press Release]

Minecraft to Join Microsoft [Xbox Wire]

Yes, we're being bought by Microsoft [Mojang]

I'm leaving Mojang [Notch.net]


Comments

    I think it was the right decision for all parties involved.

    I wish I had 2.5 billion.

    1.35: "It's not always true that the most effort goes into the biggest tits".

    Last edited 16/09/14 12:32 am

    I look forward to Microsoft giving this franchise the same love and attention they gave other franchises like Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie.

      I want to laugh at your joke, but all it did was make me upset. :(

        You mean like those bipolar moments where it begins as a laughs, slowly becomes insane, and then ends in crying?

      Well they did wonders for Halo... that was going to be an Apple game :P

      Yeah they did wonders with Rare didn't they? All those Rare franchises have flourished under Microsoft. :'(

      Last edited 16/09/14 6:03 am

        To be fair, pretty much all the original devs from Rare left after it was acquired by MS, so Rare isn't the same company now that made 007, Banjo, DK Racing, etc.

          Yeah that's a fair point. I guess it's the people that make a game great, not a company.

          So Microsoft is essentially buying the rights/ownership of one game (a massive game at that) and the main people involved in said game will be moving on. Hmm, I'm sure that will work out nicely as Neo Kaiser has indicated above.

            Yeah, it will be interesting, although I think MS will be able to milk a fair amount of coin from Minecraft before it dies off. My guess will be Minecraft 2, exclusive to Xbox and Windows in 2016 :)

      Don't blame Microsoft blame Rare, they decided to let dave doak and the rest of the team leave to create FRD and Timesplitters... there's a reason why their new stuff isn't the same..

      and yes neo kaiser look at Halo... that bungie would be nothing without MS

        Let them leave? I wasn't aware that they were in a concentration camp or prison.

      Conker is Back You Guys: http://youtu.be/1t_Co0gfj18

    " If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately." So, that's a way of saying, if the game is good, it'll be abandoned. I am not overly interested in Notch's other projects, the guy admits himself that minecraft's sucess was a mistake. But I have to wonder what exactly Microsoft plans to do with Mojang when it's most successful title, is already released on all systems.

    Either way I don't have an Xbox so, meh.

    Is it just me or did the answer to "What about the other editions of Minecraft? Will they stop being developed?" not actually answer the question?

    We know Sony et al won't be dropping Minecraft. We want to know if Microsoft will discontinue support to let it die for other platforms (where "other platforms" = anything but Windows and Windows Mobile.)

    Anyway, good luck to Notch. This gives a much better idea of why the company was sold.

    While I'm not happy with the company being sold to Microsoft, I don't think there's a company out there that I *would * be comfortable with it being sold to. (The thought of Activision turning it into an annual franchise gives me the shivers.)

      You mean anything but Xbox and Windows Mobile. The PC is pretty much a foreign platform to MS these days.

        MS have now explicitly stated that Minecraft will continue to be released on other platforms. How much effort they put into the other platforms remains to be seen.

        MS still support the PC. It's where they make essentially all of their money. XBox and Windows Mobile make a loss - it's Office and Windows (and possibly now the cloud stuff) where MS make the big dollars. They're trying to diversify a bit now because the PC is losing traction as a platform, but it's still a big market which MS dominates in several ways.

        Not so much for games, it's true... but there was a new version of Fable released for PC last week.

    Well, I can't pretend I wouldn't have jumped on this deal if I was presented with it. I don't begrudge Notch for taking the money - almost any sane person would. You can criticize him for not standing up for "principles" (although I'm not sure Notch ever subscribed to the principles his critics are saying he violated), but Minecraft isn't a life-saving vaccine. It's not a new way of generating energy - it's a videogame. He sold out, but the consequences of his selling out are minimal, in terms of things that ACTUALLY matter in REAL LIFE. I like video games as much as the next person - but I'm also aware that, when all is said and done, I don't need video games to live or even have a good life.

    Will Microsoft bork up Minecraft? I can't say. But they don't have a good track record of innovation recently. Everyone hates the Metro interface. The Xbox One was VERY poorly sold, with seemingly their ENTIRE MARKETING TEAM unaware of the backlash against their anti-used-games mechanics. They brought Nokia, then proceeded to lay off everyone and their phone business isn't doing so hot.

      Don't confuse their "entire marketing team" with the knobby suits that failed to communicate the features of the platform at press conferences. Marketing departments make advertisements. It's a whole different thing.

    Random thought 1:

    Microsoft can assuage a lot upset folks by driving 5 minutes down the road and setting up a deal for a 'why the fuck hasn't this been done yet??' 3DS version.

    Random thought 2

    I expect future versions of Minecraft's client to be integrated with the Windows 8 App Store

    Random thought 3

    I believe competing console versions will still be sold but they'll distinguish the Xbone version by managing to somehow incorporate the most popular PC mods (perhaps as paid DLC like the texture packs)

    Random thought 4

    2.5b is a massive number for a studio with one game with exiting talent - I'd be expecting Minecraft 2

    Last edited 16/09/14 4:33 am

      I can't see random thought 2 ever happening. It wouldn't work in mac/linux obviously, and they wouldn't be able to get away with dropping support for those versions.
      I can see them adding Microsoft account and azure stuff into it though. That stuff is cross platform.
      I wouldn't be surprised if they ported either the Xbox 360 or Xbox One version to the Windows and Windows phone app stores, with cross platform saves and multiplayer too.

      Re: Random thought 4

      I don't think they give a shit about buying the studio. MS has an army of techs and talent at their disposal, and no studio is worth 2.5b. They weren't buying a studio, they were buying the word Minecraft. They don't need Mojang, anyone could make minecraft, by all accounts it's a poorly optimised, poorly coded indie game. I think MS is just after the license. Not that I think they'll close Mojang or anything.

    Man, Disney sure got an amazing deal for Lucasfilm then. They picked up all of Lucasarts IP, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and all that other stuff for $4 billion. That's only 1.6 Minecrafts.

      could have sworn that lucasfilm acquisition was $40 Billion, not 4?

      nope you are 100% 4.06 billion....holy shit, that does sound like a bargain.

    Neck minnit... Minecraft becomes a must have game for Micro$ofts version of the Occulus Rift...

      There's another implication - what will this mean for the chances of official Oculus Rift support in Minecraft?

      Edit: guhh, I'm not the first to wonder
      http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/09/the-microsoft-deal-could-finally-put-minecraft-on-oculus-rift/

      Last edited 16/09/14 8:00 am

    I am happy Notch is getting huge amounts of money and I completely understand where he's coming from.

    I have to say that I'm very skeptical about minecraft's future now. I just see microsoft and mojang being such different companies - mojang really is a small startup style company which has a cool culture and is very accessible to fans as well as the content creators which help drive the popularity. microsoft is a massive behemoth and I believe has a history of poor staff morale, passion fingers and a high lawyer/exec to dev/creative ratio. I want to see good things happen, I enjoy toying around in minecraft and watching minecraft lp'ers do their thing, but I am highly suspicious of microsoft and their management.

    Last edited 16/09/14 7:55 am

    Well there can be bright sides to all of this. Like Notch hated the idea if Facebook taking over the Oculus Rift so he decided to never develop Minecraft support for it. At MS they might now consider of bringing back that support?

    We'll played Notch. You deserve it. Now take a deep breath and dive in like Scrooge McDuck!

    Last edited 16/09/14 9:26 am

    I Expect to see minecraft 2.0 as a windows 9 exclusive launch thing. I also expect it to be abandoned with windows 10. They did the Same thing to caligari truespace when they bought them out. Expect to see the mojang guys all sacked within 3 years. But at least Notch made his money.

    This was a good statement. I never really even thought about how Notch would have had to deal with all the major business side of things - it must be really overwhelming.

    While it kinda sucks that Notch "sold out", who amongst us would've said no to a deal like that. I know I would've jumped on it in an instant.

    I expect to see Minecraft 2 pretty soon (within the next 12 months) with subscription based multi-player, loads of paid DLC, and merchandising out the wazoo. I also think that they'll probably let it stay on other platforms (hey it makes them money), but I reckon they'll be nerfed to make the Microsoft versions (Xbone Windows phone etc) far superior.

    Whatever they decide to do with it we'll find out soon enough. But my guess is that every kid will be wanting an Xbone and a Windows Phone this Christmas.

    So now Notch can go full time as the sherif of gaming, he can patrol twitter, he's already got the fedora.

    Reminds me of the main character in Silicon Valley - a nerdy dude who accidentally developed something amazing and lucrative.
    The only difference is the Silicon Valley guy is fictitious, and watching him have a nervous breakdown is highly amusing. I wouldn't want the same for Notch. Good for him.
    How this will affect Minecraft I couldn't begin to speculate on - but as a predominantly Playstation gamer I doubt it will be anything good.

    So how many people do you think rushed out and bought the PS4 version of Minecraft when it launched last week?
    Hope they weren’t expecting it to be supported going forward!

    If I was MS I wouldn’t be touching the PS4 version again, it’s already a version (or two?) behind the PC and I’d just be leaving it as it is.

    Minecraft has the possibility of evolving into just about anything going forwards, it’s such a simple (and solid) base that even if MS just commits and continues to the path Mojang have been forging it’s going to continue to evolve. More mods, textures, modes, graphical upgrades ect…. I can see it panning out like a (hopefully good) version of the Sims 2 in a couple of years with a million expansion packs that turn it into what could be a fantastic product.

    Or MS could be having another “Rare moment”.

      The interesting thing is, about the PS4 statement, it is probably the best thing they could do with the game, not touch it and leave it the way it is. the moment they start tinkering is likely the moment they start fudging it up. Might not be that great from an income point of view but it is probably what most of us are hoping for given the track record.

        No way.
        There’s SO much stuff that can be improved even from the starting point of just catching up to the PC version.
        The PC patch that came out just a fortnight ago contained TONS of new content that isn’t on the XBone/ PS4 versions.

        There’s got to be 100’s or 1000’s of new items which could be imported into the game. New combinations, spells, weapons, enemies… that’s without touching environmental changes like improved biomes, bigger worlds and some of the advanced lighting and graphical effects that you can access as mods on the PC.

        If you think of it in a ‘lego’ style scenario then Minecraft is essentially where Lego was in the 1980’s where you had the Lego Land sets and that was about it. The Xbone and PS4 versions touch on new themes with the Mass Effect and Skyrim worlds but once you start getting into that sort of thing the options for extending the game become almost endless.

        That’s without examining the potential to extend the game through online scenarios. There’s plenty of cool possibilities for developing competitive gameplay modes within the Minecraft framework.

        MS owns the name in block-building games now and having invested as much as they have I can see it being well supported and becoming massive. There’s been lots of connectable blocks sold over the years but ‘lego’ is always the benchmark. I can’t comment on the $2.5b because it’s an incomprehensively large sum and I don’t know how much it is for MS as a portion of their worth…. But I do think good things will come from this.

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