Report: Microsoft Trying To Buy Mojang, Creators Of Minecraft

Report: Microsoft Trying To Buy Mojang, Creators Of Minecraft

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, according to "a person with knowledge of the matter", Microsoft is in "serious discussions" to buy Mojang, the studio that made smash hit Minecraft.

The deal is reported to be worth a whopping $2 billion, and "could be signed as early as this week".

We've contacted both Microsoft and Mojang for comment, and will update if we hear back.

Microsoft Near Deal to Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang [WSJ]


    it would be stupid of any company in the Gaming industry to not make Mojang an offer.

      I'm a slightly bitter xbox one owner so this will do me :p

      Microsoft pay 2.5B it's not enough..... Microsoft needs to take care of minecraft

    I really wish Microsoft would keep their money grubbing mitts off successfu game studios.

    I'm still distraught at rare being brutally wrecked.

    Get used to Mohjang making Kinect games while your beloved minecraft is about to be bastardised with paywalls.

      Them buying Rare was one of the saddest days in videogame history for me.

      I grew up on Banjo Kazooie, Goldeneye, Blast Coprs, Diddy Kong Racing and others.

        Rare's not dead! They released a game less than 6 months ago!

        ...Sorry about that. Probably would have been for the best if they'd been shut down about 6 years ago.

        Because when MS buy a studio, doves cry - but when Sony buy a studio - Angels play violins.

        At least Rare's still around, and like or hate their output - (personally VP TIP is one of their greatest) - they've generally been able to do what they want for the last 10 years, and go from project to project - rather than being forced to work on the same IP for 15+ years, then shuttered.

          I don't mind Rare's current work but it's clearly not the same studio it was back in it's prime. However I won't put all of that blame on Microsoft. Perfect Dark Zero's biggest weak points all stemmed from their inability to move on from their N64 shooters. Nuts and Bolts was a neat concept and I actually liked the game but it wasn't a smart decision to do that instead of Banjo Kazooie 3.

            Rare's problem was that a lot of their best people left after Perfect Dark to go and form Free Radical. So MS got stuck with the studio name but not the talent that actually made their great earlier games.

              ^^^ Braaains is straight on the money there, and look how swimmingly Free Radical went... they made Ts1 for Sony... barely sold, made timesplitters 2 and 3 (multiplatform) (amazing games)... then went and got snapped up by Sony to make Haze an exclusive... company files for bankruptcy shortly after release... who is the evil company??

              all I'm saying if MS bought them, we would still have Timesplitters.

              I think even if they had of kept the key talent they sort of got interrupted at a point where they needed to be moving on from the N64 glory days and growing with the rest of the industry. They've done some good work since but it really seemed to disrupt the creative momentum due.

              It's a shame. Although I do think a comeback is possible. Blast Corps on the XBOX One. Justify it to Microsoft by saying it'll showcase Avatars, Leaderboards, all that feed stuff, the changes to the Achievements/Challenges systems, Smartglass, DLC, the power of 'next-gen' hardware, etc. Some of those are usually red flags, but I feel like they'd actually fit into Blast Corps well if done right.
              I think a solid Blast Corps game is within the current Rare teams skillset. It'd be an easy goal to kick in order to rebuild Microsoft's confidence in them and potentially open the door to a second chance at something bigger than Kinect Sports.

                Sorry, I didn't read anything but Blast Corps, Blast Corps and Blast Corps, I usually find that no one else loves the game as much as I do, let alone even played through it.

                  That was such a great game. There were so many little hidden things in there and then those crazy space missions at the end!

      Never forget Rare. IMO, the worst buyout in videogame history, followed by Bullfrog.

      Rare were on the downward trajectory well before Microsoft bought them though.

      Also they did Viva Pinata after being acquired and that's still one of the best 360 games, I won't hear anyone say any different.

        VP was great, my kids loved the cartoon also.

      This is different since Mojang have a total of 1 good game. Being bought by Microsoft might actually be good for them.

    Everyone has a price. I'd expect Notch's to be pretty high and 2 billion might be it....

    Hmm, well, I guess one positive of this is that I will finally get over my Minecraft addiction :D
    Thanks Microsoft!

    I wonder if the point where Notch backed down on his Oculus / Facebook views was around the time this deal started getting drawn up?

      "Facebook buys Mojong" haha now that would be an ironic headline.

    Seems like a bad investment. Minecraft makes a ton of money but aside from that Mojang doesn't seem any more valuable than any other garage studio.

      Yeah it makes a ton of money - but the amount of sales it would need to reach 2 Billion is pretty damn high.

      That said I think Notch has distanced himself from Minecraft so it could be a deal by the CEO and Microsoft cutting Notch out of the deal - will be interesting to find out more in a day or 2.

        Notch is still chairman, no deal would go through without him

      Mojang currently makes over $100 million in profit each year, so a price tag of 2 billion would put the acquisition at a price/earnings ratio of 20, which seems pretty reasonable to me. The value of the Minecraft IP is immense, it's got it's hooks in to a entire younger generation of gamers, and it wouldn't take very much effort to extract $2 billion dollars worth of value from it over several years. Minecraft 2, or a Minecraft MMO could probably generate that kind of cash with the right push and monetisation strategy.

        I can see value in it but $2 billion, after it's already been released on all your rivals platforms? It's a steady money maker right now and that's clearly going to last a long time but eventually it's going to end. I mean they've pretty much run out of platforms to port it to which I've got to imagine is a big source of profits.

        I also don't think Minecraft has as much brand power as it appears. I know it sells well on every new platform and the merchandise is insane but I think Minecraft 2 would suffer a similar problem to the hypotethcial World of Warcraft 2. You can get people to buy Minecraft multiple times but I think Minecraft 2 would have that new coke element.
        Frankly I think Microsoft would be painting a target on their back with this one. If Microsoft buys Mojang and they release something that isn't a direct clone of Minecraft but also totally new, fresh and 100% different Mirosoft will cop all the blame for destroying Minecraft. Even if they just make new content a timed Microsoft exclusive they're going to get blasted.

        Personally I would have just stuck with tapping into the Minecraft money with marketplace fees. Mojang is currently a one hit wonder with more potential to spend the rest of it's life living off it's one success* than to grow into something truly lasting. It puts it in a position where to get them to sell you've got to offer them an amount that's risky. You've got to pay for the potential for greatness knowing they may have already peaked.

        *Don't take that as bashing Mojang, Notch or Minecraft. It's deserved success, they worked hard, but there's no denying they hit the market at exactly the right time with a game that was more or less a engine building exercise. It's not just luck, plenty of developers have had better luck and almost none see Minecraft's level of continued success, but at the same time many developers have produced better games, worked harder and gone nowhere.

          This is all totally anecdotal, but I see kids wearing Minecraft shirts all the time. I had a fancy dress party where people had to come dressed as their favourite game character, and there were 3 Steves (lots of kids there!). It's a hobby of mine to ask younger kids what games they play, and they all play Minecraft - most of them have never heard of Mario or Nintendo, but they know Minecraft. Crazy!

          I think if there was a Minecraft MMO with a proper engine upgrade, a massive shared world and microtransaction payment system where you can buy certain blocks without having to find or earn them, (or pets, decals/decorations, weapons, props etc) then it could generate several hundred million a year in profit.

          I think a Minecraft animated movie (ala the Lego Movie), or kids TV series could generate several hundred million.

          I think spin off Minecraft themed games and crossovers on mobile and other platforms (ala Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare) could generate several hundred million.

          There are a lot of potential ways to generate a lot of money out of Minecraft that are not currently being done, because I believe Notch cares about the games and art and the players, so he's not keen to really squeeze all the earnings potential out of the Minecraft IP. But Microsoft would have no such qualms.

          *I actually agree with most of your assessment of Mojang as a one hit wonder, I just think you're undervaluing the Minecraft IP.

            Heh, at $4 billion I'd say Star Wars was a steal. Sure, it's a fixer-upper-er, but LucasArts have proven it'll continue making money no matter what you do. =P

            I think if there was a Minecraft MMO with a proper engine upgrade, a massive shared world and microtransaction payment system where you can buy certain blocks without having to find or earn them, (or pets, decals/decorations, weapons, props etc) then it could generate several hundred million a year in profit.

            I think what you've described would be really good, but I also think it'd infuriate a huge portion of the players and even though Minecraft successfully infiltrated such a wide audience I think a big part of that was due to fantastic word of mouth which could easily turn on them. People aren't ready to accept microtransactions in a beloved franchise, especially if it's seen as something Microsoft forced on Mojang.
            I think you're right that it has a ton of potential, but I see Microsoft (or really anyone who has enough money to buy Mojang) as being poison to any equation.

            Then again, Facebook bought WhatsApp for 19 Billion ... but you can be sure that they research the shit out of it before dropping that kind of coin.

            I dunno, $19 billion on WhatsApp doesn't seem like a well researched move to me, but I guess I'm not a billionaire (yet!).

          Actually, I take it back. Somebody just reminded me that Disney bought Starwars for $4 billion. There's no way Minecraft is worth half of Starwars...surely... right? :O

          Then again, Facebook bought WhatsApp for 19 Billion - there's no telling what earnings potential the movers and shakers of the world see in smaller companies, but you can be sure that they research the shit out of it before dropping that kind of coin.

          2 billion does sound huge, but down at Dymocks they had the Minecraft Strategy guides in the best sellers. Like Star Wars, Angry Birds, etc. there is a huge merchandise and crossover market to further saturate. There's still huge potential in the IP yet.

      Mojang's actually got more money in the bank than Capcom at the moment.

      Take that as you may. Notch probably won't allow it, though. I would think.

      Last edited 10/09/14 12:11 pm

      Minecraft is one of my top 5 games of all time, but Mojang is an enormous one hit wonder. Rare number 2 anyone? (I mean in terms of being a bad buyout, Rare was far better than a one hit wonder)

    Valid concerns. How about this one: what if as a condition of the acquisition. Notch has to work as a corporate Vice President for at least a year (contractually) to ensure the transition to Microsoft is smooth. :P

    So does that mean that Minecraft would be instantly removed from PSN?

    Micro$oft: "Want to play Minecraft? Well you'll have to buy an Xbone MWAHAHAHAHA".

      Well, I've got Wipeout on my Sega Saturn, but no Wipeout 2....

      I think they should just make it part of the Windows OS bundle - Minecraft, the Minesweeper / Solitaire of the future.

        Wipeout 2097 did come to the Saturn. Minus the Sony licensed music, but still, it was ported :-)

      Patches would stop at latest patch - they would then be turned into DLC and Microsoft only exclusives.

      I hope not. if they do, then Microsoft and KISS MY ASS while I play a God of War Game. Microsoft doesn't have good games like Sony has. And they never will. You want to know why? Microsoft was created by three guys that wanted to make a better computer operationg system. And their you have it, The UGLY MOTHER FUCKING TRUTH: MIRCOSOFT WAS FOR AND ALWAYS BE FOR COMPUTERS AND THEY CAN'T MAKE A GAME BECAUSE THEY ONLY KNOW WHO TO MAKE OPERATING SYSTEMS! Notch better not sign it away. If he does, then I'm cancelling my account

    $2 billion for a game studio? Are they freaking nuts? I mean Mojang is hardly Blizzard entertainment. All I can see this getting them is platform exclusivity for an unreleased game, probably the space title. Hardly worth $2 Billion. Remember that for $10 billion they reckon you could pay programmers to create a complete Operating system with equivalent functionality to Windows/Linux. This is a huge chunk of money being thrown at a gaming company with one product, and no guarantee of a return of equal size. I'm actually surprised that Microsoft is throwing this kind of money into a software product and not at something like the Occulus Rift. TBH I'm going to call it now and say that Mojang has peaked already. They got lucky on Minecraft but there are so many clones and knockoffs now, not to mention the space genre is completely being flooded. Look at Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, Space Engineers, Valve's new Space Game, the Transverse game, and many many more. Everyone is trying to bandwagon at the moment. It can't lead to a sustainable business.

      They're wouldn't be paying that money for the studio, they'd be paying that money for the Minecraft IP. Minecraft currently generates over $100 million in profit each year. How much money would a Minecraft MMO or Minecraft 2 make? It's definitely a crazy big number, but it might not necessarily be a crazy big number.

    Microsoft don't seem to really build success as much as they buy success. That seems to be the corporate world these days, though ... giant companies just moving from place to place as popularity dictates, sucking up as much as they can, incorporating it within themselves like giant cash amoebas that look to one day dominate all life on earth as if they were invaders from another planet (oh wait, that's just human tendency ... silly me). Only problem is that what these slow moving behemoths of greed excrete is usually inferior to what made the original matter great in the first place ... so it basically ends up looking and smelling like a big pile of s**t. I guess with that being said, it's pretty fitting for the analogy. Go forth Microsoft, destroy all the things!

      To be fair - it's only really Nintendo that develop the majority of their best studios from the ground up.

      Naughty Dog - bought. Guerilla Games - bought. Sucker Punch - bought.

      MS developed 343, Sony developed SSMonica - and they have some less high profile studios they developed internally - but neither has any internally developed studios that come close to Nintendo EAD.

    oh fuck no....

    The innevitable end result:

    PC Version
    Minecraft for PC will cease further development.
    Minecraft will gimp the shit out of the current PC version with GFWL
    Price will Jump to $49 AUD/ $39 USD

    XBO / X360 Versions

    Development will speed up at a rapid pace as these will be the sole focus.
    Will be gimped by DLC

    Sony Versions

    you're kidding right????

      PC Version will cease further development? Are you serious? Only the Mac version will... haha

      wat. GFWL is dead.
      Microsoft are releasing theig ames on PC (DR3/Ryse) so there is no reason ti think development will cease.
      Very unlikely the price would change since this price point is the reason it has sold so well.
      There won't be DLC, probably just more skin packs.
      Since they are already out on Sony consoles, they won't un-release them.

        Nope, GFWL is back... they changed their minds....

        Price point had nothing to do with sales anymore... nowadays it sells on hype, and all the coverage its getting on youtube and live streaming.

        Wont unrelease sony versions, but i can see the priority level for patches and updates plummeting at supersonic speeds....

      Why would development on PC cease? That's Microsoft's most dominant platform. GFWL is long gone, there's no chance of that coming back. Microsoft published a few games on PS3 (Limbo, for example) so I don't see why Minecraft would suddenly vanish.

        GFWL is actually not as dead as you may think... Its still active, but I sense a massive revamp coming up for the service, but it wont shut, unless its new iteration also poroves to be a spectacular failure...

        Ceasing development on PC would be a very smart business move on MS end. Think about it. If Xbone becomes the platform of choice for Minecraft, Xbone sales will SKYROCKET....

        Microsoft didnt publish anything on PS platforms; Limbo is Published by Playdead APS

          If XB1 became the only platform for Minecraft, people would just download and play the most recent Java release and ignore any future Xbox-only updates. It's just not a unit-mover, it's not going to increase XB1 sales by any significant amount if it became exclusive.

            i agree in the short term. but once updates start pumping out for the xbone, and some radical changes are introduced, the pc version will be left for dead...

            i honestly disagree though with Minecraft not been a significant system seller... i honestly see xbones selling by the bucketloads if it did happen...

            also, asuming they can maintain the hype over the next few years, a launch day MC release on the next console generation will blow opposing platforms out of the water.

    Let's not forget that other gaming company that Microsoft bought, Bungie.

      Yeah, I know - did 4 great games for them, then they let them buy their independence back.

      Terrible outcome for all concerned, surely.

        Heh, don't forget that it left them in a position to pull off their dream project in Destiny. =P Lionhead may not have worked out perfectly but they've done some good work too.
        Obviously it's more complicated than that, but it does make you wonder what would have happened if instead of taking the money and running the key talent at Rare stuck around and kept making games (not that I blame them, if EA offered me a billion dollars I'd take the money, give them the keys to my office and run). My instinct has always been to blame Microsoft for breaking up the Rare/Nintendo relationship and then demoting Rare to making Kinect/Avatar stuff, but maybe I'm being unfair. Microsoft paid a lot of money for the studio and got left holding a fraction of what they paid for. They did give New Rare a few chances.

        [Edit: I've just realised I made the same mistake I always do. For some reason I always think Rare fell apart almost instantly after Microsoft aquired them. I forget that Free Radical happened before and there was a solid period of Microsoft and Rare clashing.]

        Last edited 10/09/14 12:40 pm

          The Nintendo Rare relationship was basically irreparably damaged after the Starfox debacle.

          MS basically let Rare do whatever they wanted for 8 or so years - and there was some good stuff - that didn't sell particularly well. They had them actually selling titles in the millions working on the Kinect Sports series (which aren't too bad as far as motion sports games go) - for a few years , to return to profitability at least - and are now apparently granting them more freedom again (unannounced project).

          It's an outcome I prefer to say, making them stick to one franchise essentially for 15 years - then closing them down, when - surprise! - that franchise runs out of steam. Sony should have let Psygnosis "do a bungie" long ago.

    Well Notch isn't a public fan of microsoft from what iv'e seen..

      For $2B, I wouldn't care if Windows 8 ran over my dog.

        Yeah but notch is a pretty rich fellow haha, hopefully he;s probing around for others (please valve please valve) but if it came down to the grit, i'd be happier with microsoft over.. EA *shudder*

    I'm sure Notch is a public fan of having billions of dollars to spend on whatever Notch wants to spend on. My views on this are based purely on observation of markets and tech trends. Spending $2 billion on something that will take 20 years to earn that back is a silly idea. At least have Mojang release Minecraft 2 and see if it's another Pokemon franchise that can crank out sequels and rake in the billions. Right now they really are a one hit wonder waiting to be replaced as soon as the world building genre loses steam or someone betters it.

    Mojang are going to buy Rare back from Microsoft and restore my childhood to me. That's what will happen. They have to.... *rocks back and forth sobbing*

    Let's say hypothetically that Microsoft DOES aquire mojang...

    Would they end up suing every single minecraft clone out there? Cause I would personally love to see that happen...

    Even though Mojang is a one hit wonder, don't do this, please MS.

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