David Papp Blog

Microsoft to acquire Minecraft-maker Mojang for $2.5 billion

Minecraft has been creating waves ever since its release by the independent Swedish video game company Mojang. In this sandbox (or open world) indie game, players get to create worlds and do whatever they want by placing or breaking blocks. There are no specific goals; it’s really all about how you want to play it – and this is something that has proven wildly successful as indicated by Mojang’s steady rise in revenues as well as the huge following that the game has developed. So it’s far from surprising why tech giant Microsoft would pay $2.5 billion dollars to get its hands on it.

Mojang and Microsoft are still in the process of working out all the details on the deal, and both companies have reassured the game’s fan base that nothing would change. After all, everything already works as it should and Minecraft’s user base is already quickly expanding.

The main reason why Minecraft is so popular is that it allows players to delve into their creative side and create (or re-create) worlds. The game is characterized by its distinct rough 3D look. Cubes are placed in a fixed grid pattern and can represent different things such as water, dirt, or stone.

“People are at their most creative sometimes when you just let them do what they want,” Mojang COO Vu Bui said in an interview with the BBC. “You have to give them guidelines, but for the most part if you let people be creative they will come up with cooler stuff than we ever could ourselves.”

Acquiring Minecraft is a smart move for Microsoft. The tech giant has been dealing with tough competition against rivals such as Apple and Google when it comes to applications for mobile devices and computers. With Minecraft in its portfolio, it can make sure that the popular game will be available on Windows Phone as well as optimized for its newest operating systems. Minecraft is a sound investment financially as well. According to Mojang AB, the game took in $360 million in revenues last year.

No matter what the implications of the acquisition are, nothing is set in stone yet as both firms are still negotiating. If the deal does push through, it would be a coup for Microsoft – and something of a relief for the game’s inventor Markus Persson, more popularly known as Notch, who has stated that Minecraft has become too big for him. “It’s not about the money,” he said in his statement. “It’s about my sanity.”

30 thoughts on “Microsoft to acquire Minecraft-maker Mojang for $2.5 billion”

  1. Wow thats great. 2.5 billion? Wow, just wow…………….*Runs to find a good computer programmer to teach my 8 year old computer programming so he can sell a company and become a millionaire*

    • There are different kinds of programmer specializing on different platforms and programming languages. Maybe you should be specific on what kind of platform you want to teach your child. Will it be mobile? PC? Console? Though, good idea to teach early. As long as he or she has the ability to understand programming easily. It can be quite confusing.

    • Companies made with the sole goal of being acquired can be a very good or a very bad idea. Of course, if your goal in life is “company hopping” as a career this makes sense, but if your goal is to build something you can keep as your main (and big!) income source for a lifetime, then you should focus in long-term company building.

      It’s all related to long-term value. Acquisitions are investments, with an expected long-term ROI attached to them. Wise investors know the actual value is not on making the quick buck, but rather on the steady & sustainable money flow.

      Keeping the company and helping it reach all its greatness for enjoying all the potential value to assist your family might be the wiser move to teach your kids.

  2. This is a bit of old news, but at least you got the headline right. BBC’s headline read that Microsoft had bought Minecraft, not Mojang.

    Anyway, *we* gamers aren’t happy about this. Microsoft is known to mess acquired software up beyond repair. They might not do much to the current version of Minecraft, but I’m expecting that they’ll soon start creating Minecraft 2.0, a complete rewrite. Why would they do that? Well, everybody who has bought the game now did so with the promise of getting free updates for life. Microsoft cannot change that, but they can discontinue the current version and start a new one. That won’t be an update, so they can sell it again to current users.

    Also, they might severely slow down mods and server support, making it so you can only get mods from some stupid store and you can only get servers from Microsoft itself, rather than run your own.

    So no, I’ll keep the latest version 1.8, maybe upgrade until Microsoft really takes over, and then that’s the end of that.

    • Honestly, I believe Microsoft isn’t going to do anything stupid like that to try and capitalize upon it. They’ve already got a very healthy userbase that is growing at a steady rate. Anything they try to do with Minecraft can and will jeopardize that, including releasing a new version, trying to charge for mods or servers, or even just a complete re-write and discontinuing the old version. YouTubers basically lead the whole Minecraft community when it comes to this kind of stuff, and if they protest against it, then millions and millions of people who make up Minecraft’s user base will be gone in an instant. I’m pretty sure Microsoft has figured this out by now, and if they haven’t, then they’re in for a long one.

    • I mentioned in another post that MS could potentially use the underlying framework of Minecraft as an avatar system for Xbox Live. MS does have a pretty strong history of buying out companies and subsequently incorporating parts of the acquired product in to their existing software as a new feature.

      Keep in mind, the buyout was for Mojang as a company rather than just Minecraft as an intellectual property. I suspect that the primary selling point here was the talent at Mojang rather than the game itself. Even if it were just the game, Minecraft as a brand is pretty large – look at the deal it has struct with Lego – that in of itself could potentially be very lucrative.

    • Yeah… I mostly think that Microsoft and Mojang got the better ends of the deals, as they are the ones who potentially (and did, in Mojang’s case) made/will make the $$$.

      The real question is Microsoft’s influence on the game, despite their words of assurance. They definitely, now that they are going to acquire the game, have the ability to affect the state of the game, whether positive or negative. For the sake of Minecraft gamers, I hope it goes positive. Time will tell, though…

  3. Clearly Minecraft is highly valuable and Microsoft moved in to own it to gain a nice measure of advantage over their competitors. I mean $2.5 billion dollars is no chunk change for any company to be paying for the acquisition of a game. I hope that Microsoft does honor their word not to tamper with the game and let it stay the way that has made it so popular in the first place.

    • You really have to wonder what the incentive is to purchase the entire development studio is though. Minecraft is a well established intellectual property now with its own fan-base. The product itself will need to be monetized in some manner in order for the game to be profitable for Microsoft.

      I think the biggest part of this buyout is for the talent at Mojang, rather than the game itself. That being said, Minecraft may eventually serve as the foundations for an avatar platform for their Xbox Live system with the right tweaks.

    • I hope so too, if Microsoft bought Minecraft just to influence it with microtransactions than it will ruin the game. Then it will be clear that Microsoft only cares about making money and doesn’t mind spending some to get a profit in return. But hopefully this deal is for the good to make Minecraft the best it can be.

  4. You’re a bit late with this DP. But to be honest, I think MS is on the right track here as long as they don’t go crazy with what’s already been done. MS has a track record of screwing things up following their success, what with Windows 8 and the Xbox One and I’m afraid that Minecraft will suffer the same fate. But luckily the team that made the game is still in charge so we’ll just have to hope for the best.

    • That’s actually what I’m kind of scared of, Microsoft doing something way over their heads that would cause a domino effect and would eventually lead to the downfall of Minecraft and Mojang itself. But yeah, I think it’s it good hands since Mojang is still a part of the project.

    • Well if Microsoft learned their lesson then it’s most likely not going to happen and if Mojang is still the brains then I think the only thing Microsoft can do is to up the marketing of the game and make it more widely known.

  5. That’s a lot of money. It just goes to show that nerds will get the money at the bitter end. But joking aside, it is a lot of money. It just goes to show that Minecraft is really a huge game. I just hope Microsoft would actually something out of it that’s pretty cool rather than just letting it be another money grabber for them.

    • Well, seeing how Microsoft went with the Xbox One, I think they might try to pull something really way out of hand with this. Since the game is pretty much staling out and not a lot of people play it anymore compared to when it first came out, I’m guessing they would try to bring up the market for it.

      • I think there are still a huge number of people playing this game. I mean sure it kind of gotten stale but there are still a lot of people playing it. I’m guessing MS will have to take part and push Mojang to make a sequel or some real update to the game.

  6. This seems a bit dated, this was big news back in October when the deal was actually accepted, but it’s a little too late to be reporting on now, but at least a few more people will know that didn’t before. It’s quite interesting that they sold to Microsoft, now lets see how they make it back by Q2 2015 like they said they would.

  7. Minecraft is a pretty big game, but I’m definitely unsure if it’s worth the 5 billion price tag… Perhaps they might try and make it a console/Windows exclusive, to make people buy the Xbone and Windows? Other than that I don’t see them making back the money anytime soon.

  8. I guess that’s Microsoft for you. No longer known for their innovation, more known for what they buy. Let’s hope they get more out of this one than the Nokia assets.

  9. Interesting. I didn’t know Microsoft was interested in video games. I guess that’s the new thing for a lot of companies since the game industry has become a big money-making industry. I’m not much of video game person myself. But my brother can’t get enough. I’m not sure if he plays this one, but I do know he spends a lot of money buying video games every few months.

  10. I don’t think there is anything bad about. I think it could actually help the game. Mojang can greatly improve the game with 2.5 billion dollars to back them up. They can optimize the game even more to run better on windows machines. With the upcoming release of Minecraft 2.0 it will be a hit.

  11. Minecraft is a sandbox game that has gained much popularity. Actually it’s pretty huge as a game and players have voluntarily been playing and paying real money to get the game going, so it’s not a surprise that Microsoft wants to get a bite. Players are playing in different modes and in different worlds, so it’s really each to his own.

  12. This is a sweet move by Microsoft. The amount of views on YouTube for Minecraft is insanely mind boggling. This situation reminds me of a somewhat similar acquisition of Whatsapp not so long ago by Facebook. You can only hope that these mega corporations don’t screw these programs up or over commercialize the product for financial gain.

    • It baffles me how they can find that much value in such products. There aren’t many games that last the test of time so they must really believe in Minecraft, I have never played it personally.

  13. I am not a gamer myself, but I know a lot of people are hoping that this acquisition does not lead to changes in the game that they don’t want. I’ve actually heard that Minecraft is game where kids can actually learn valuable things, so it isn’t a waste of time like so many others. Hopefully Microsoft will respect the users wishes and keep the game the way it is.

  14. $2.5 billion for what exactly? Just to use the game in Windows? Wow, Mojang got a pretty good deal then. Minecraft is a pretty popular game, especially for what it offers. Hopefully Microsoft won’t mess anything up, but we’ll just have to wait for what they come up with.

  15. Quite a surprising purchase, but it’s undeniably a rather popular game. That said, I know Mojang has also been working on another game similar to Hearthstone / Magic called… Scrolls, I believe. Think you have to pay $5 for it or something like that.

    In any case, excited to see some of the other projects they have in store.

  16. That’s a large sum… 2.5 billion? I know that Minecraft was always very popular and has a lot of potential for money but… 2,500,000,000… wasn’t expecting that.

    I don’t really find this news that unusual anyway, since Microsoft is a gigantic company, and has the funds to buy off Minecraft (which would pay itself off with the revenues). I just hope for the sake of our fellow gamers and specifically players of Minecraft that Microsoft, despite their words, don’t mess up the gaming experience. Best of luck to Microsoft.

  17. I still find this news insane, and for that amount of money I don’t blame him for taking it. Curious as to how this will affect Minecraft being released for non-Microsoft platforms however, or if support will be altered in certain ways.

  18. As a Swede, I’m both proud and sad. Proud of Markus and his accomplishments, but sad to see him leave the company behind him.

    He did something great with minecraft and he’s one for the history books.
    I also read recently that he bought the most expensive house in beverly hills and he apparently won the auction over Jay-Z and Beyonce… Now that’s crazy.

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