In one of the biggest deals in videogame history, Microsoft has purchased Mojang for a staggering $2.5bn.
The Swedish indie studio is known best (almost entirely, in fact) for creating runaway sandbox sensation Minecraft. Microsoft will now have total control of the studio and all of its intellectual properties, both past and present.
Mojang’s iconic founder and CEO Markus ‘Notch’ Persson will be removing himself from the company entirely, along with co-founders Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser and a portion of the creative team.
Mojang was turning over more than £173m a year at the point of the sale, and Microsoft believes it will recuperate the full fee spent to acquire the company by June 2015.
As majority shareholder of the company with a stake of over 40%, as well as being the figurehead of a gaming phenomenon, Persson stated that he wished to sell the company as he could no longer enjoy nor handle the pressure of the role he found himself in.
A statement on the company’s official site said, “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.”
Microsoft is now expected to take the franchise in a more mobile-oriented direction. Could Minecraft go on to become the first must-have Windows Phone exclusive title? Iterations of the game already exist on iOS and Android, as well as PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, so it seems unlikely that Microsoft would cut off such gratuitous revenue streams. A timed exclusive for Lumia lovers, though? That could be interesting…