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Monday, September 15, 2014

Microsoft acquires Minecraft for $2.5 billion; Notch moves on to greener pastures

Microsoft has announced that it will acquire the Minecraft franchise, and its Swedish developer Mojang, for $2.5 billion. Microsoft asserts that it “plans” to continue distributing Minecraft across PC, Xbox, PlayStation, iOS, and Android, but obviously the game’s cross-platform future is called into question by this acquisition. Markus “Notch” Persson, and Mojang’s other two founders, will not be staying with Mojang/Microsoft and will “move on to start new projects.”
Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang and Minecraft is savvy for two primary reasons. First, Minecraft makes a lot of money (MSFT says the deal will break-even in fiscal year 2015). Second, Minecraft is the most popular online game on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One — and so having Minecraft in-house guarantees continuing support. I’m sure a big part of this was bringing Minecraft to Windows Phone, too — it’s the most popular paid app on both iOS and Android, and it’s one of the major apps that’s still missing from the Windows Phone ecosystem.
Here’s a video from Xbox’s Phil Spencer, explaining the acquisition. There’s also an official press release from Microsoft, and a post on Mojang’s website that explains some of the technicalities of the acquisition.

Madhav Biju

Author & Editor

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