Following rumours last week Microsoft have now officially own Minecraft, having bought developer Mojang in a whopping $2.5-billion deal.
Although many speculated that if such a deal would take place it may compromise Minecraft’s availability on anything but Xbox and PC, Microsoft have vowed that they will continue to keep Minecraft playable on Playstation, iOS and Android.
“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,” confirmed Mojang.
What’s surprising is that while Minecraft is obviously a huge deal and a great addition to Microsoft’s roster, $2.5-billion seems like a massive amount to spend on a developer that has yet to prove themselves outside of that one game. However, Microsoft claims that they intend on break-even on the first fiscal year of the deal.
Furthermore Mojang founders Notch, Carl Manneh, and Jakob Porser are all leaving the company following the sale. While these people were not the sole creators of Minecraft, they, and in particular Notch, were the ones that gave birth to it. Without them the question is simple: can Mojang create something else that captures the attention of gamers, or will they forever be The Minecraft Company.
As for the reasons behind the sale, Notch wrote a relatively lengthy blog post explaining his decision to sell the company.
“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 realize 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.”
“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.”
And with that Notch has departed Mojang, and seems to intend on living in obscurity as much as he can, at least for now. His post stated that should “I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.”
On the lighter side, though, Microsoft have promised that Minecon is totally happening next year! Hurrah!
Obviously this is a huge deal for both Microsoft and Mojang. But in truth, at least at the moment, it doesn’t mean much for the average gamer who enjoys Minecraft. Mojang seem happy continuing to develop the game, and Microsoft seem happy enough for them to keep doing it across all platforms. Only time will tell what the deal will really mean.