The rumors were true. Microsoft is buying Mojang.
Well, it looks like all the rumors were true. After weeks of internet grumbling, Microsoft has officially announced that they are buying Minecraft developer Mojang for a whopping 2.5 billion dollars. That’s billion with a B. At the same time, Mojang’s founders have decided to leave the company. So what does all this mean for the future of the game? Read on for the details.Surprisingly, it seems like very little about Minecraft will change, including the platforms that it is currently available on. In Microsoft’s official statement, head of the Xbox division Phil Spencer goes out of his way to mention that the game will continue to be supported on all current platforms, including iOS and Playstation.
At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms. Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise. That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC.
Huh. OK, then. This puts Microsoft in the highly unusual position of publishing and supporting a very successful game for competing platforms. This also puts Sony and Apple in the equally surreal position of allowing a direct competitor’s game to run on their hardware. We are truly in uncharted territory here, folks. Your guess as to what will happen next is as good as mine. A multiplatform version of Super Smash Bros, perhaps?
One thing that won’t be happening is a working relationship between Microsoft and Minecraft creator, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson. In a blog post on his personal site, Persson announced that he is leaving Mojang, along with the company’s other co-founders. Stating that he was never saw himself as a game developer, and was never interested in running a huge company, Notch hopes to never create something as successful as Minecraft again.
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 finalized, 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.
The good news for Minecraft fans is that Persson hadn’t actually worked on the game for quite some time, having turned over development duties to others at Mojang long ago. According to Mojang’s own statement on the acquisition, the vast majority of the Minecraft staff will remain at the company.