Microsoft confirms acquisition of Minecraft studio Mojang

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Microsoft confirms acquisition of Minecraft studio Mojang
Microsoft announced it's bought Minecraft studio Mojang for a deal worth $2.5 billion. The buyout will see Mojang founders Markus "Notch" Persson, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser leave the Swedish studio. Both companies confirmed the acquisition this morning, with Head of Xbox Phil Spencer noting Microsoft's "long seen the potential of Minecraft."

"At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people," Spencer wrote on Xbox Wire. "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."
Mojang's Owen Hill also noted Minecraft "development, sales and support" will continue across platforms beyond Xbox. On Mojang's blog, Hill said former owner Persson decided to sell his studio because he could no longer deal with running such a high-profile company.

"Over the past few years he's made attempts to work on smaller projects," Hill wrote of Persson, "but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang."

On his own blog, Persson thanked fans for the success of Minecraft but said he wanted to step away from the status he'd gained by creating his game: "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.

"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."

Persson closed his post by saying, "It's not about the money. It's about my sanity."

The last five years saw the sandbox of Minecraft grow from its independent PC release to a sales phenomenon, with more than 54 million units shifted to date across several platforms. In 2013 the game helped Mojang reportedly post $326 million in revenue, with $128 million of that banked as profit.

As for the future of Minecraft, Hill said Mojang doesn't have any specific plans to reveal yet, but noted the majority of the studio's staff is staying on "for the time being." On Microsoft's side, Spencer confirmed annual convention Minecon is confirmed for next year, and pointed towards some of the things his company will bring to Minecraft's table.

"We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great," Spencer wrote, "and we'll carry on the tradition of innovation to move the franchise forward. Our investments in cloud, Xbox Live and mobile technology will enable players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect with the Minecraft community."
[Image: Microsoft]
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