studio Mojang has confirmed that the rumors are true: The developer is being bought by Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion.
Reports have been circulating since last week, claiming that Mojang, and by extension the behemoth that is Minecraft
, were about to be acquired by Microsoft.
In a blog post today
, Mojang's Owen Hill confirmed that Microsoft has indeed purchased the company. He explained that, "Though we're massively proud of what Minecraft
has become, it was never Notch's intention for it to get this big."
Notch -- aka Markus Persson -- first created Minecraft
back in 2009. Since then, it has become a cultural phenomenon, and sold millions of copies across a variety of platforms.
Hill was keen to stress that the future of Minecraft
is still very much about the game's community, regardless of its new owner.
"Notch is the creator of Minecraft
and the majority shareholder at Mojang," he explained. "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."
With Persson leaving the company, Hill also confirmed that Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser are leaving Mojang.
"It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity."
Hill says that Microsoft is one of the only companies that Mojang believes can take Minecraft
to the next level, and thus, says the acquisition will be highly beneficial to both the game and the company.
With regards to Minecraft
on other platforms, Mojang says that support will not stop anywhere, although it added, "Microsoft can't make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future."
Markus Persson has since posting on his own personal blog (and pasted to Pastebin
), explaining, "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."
He has become disillusioned, he added, and doesn't feel like he has the connection with his fans that he once had. "I've become a symbol," he says. "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."
"Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don't expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them."
He finishes, "It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity."
What Microsoft says
Over on the Microsoft blog, Xbox head Phil Spencer added that Minecraft
will add "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," he noted. "That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC."
Notably, Microsoft says that it expects the acquisition "to be break-even in FY15 on a GAAP basis." In other words, Microsoft believes it will make back what it has spent on Mojang and Minecraft
by the end of this fiscal year (next June).
Analyst group IHS Technology said that, while the $2.5 billion price tag may come as a surprise to some, "it is rooted in commercial, if not cultural, sense."
"The news robustly dismisses the idea that games are no longer at the core of Microsoft's strategic direction," argues IHS's Piers Harding-Rolls, "and also underlines the growing importance of independent titles alongside big-budget games."
into the Microsoft portfolio offers the company a strong, non-specialist brand that still has plenty of longevity in it, he adds.