Microsoft Confirms $2.5bn Minecraft Acquisition

Studio assures there's "no reason for" Minecraft to be deleted from rival devices; Markus Persson makes $1.75bn; Creator set to leave studio with co-founders.

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Mojang, the Sweden-based developer of Minecraft, has been acquired by Microsoft for a fee of around $2.5 billion.

In a blog post to fans, Mojang suggested the deal would not result in the deletion of Minecraft games and apps available on non-Microsoft devices.

"There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop," the studio wrote.

"Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future."

Microsoft said one key reason for the acquisition is "we believe in the power of content to unite people". It added that it expects the acquisition "to be break-even in FY15 on a GAAP basis." That means it expects to make the money back by April 2016.

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).

The software giant wrote: "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."

Moving on

Minecraft creator Markus Persson, who owns 70 percent of the company, stands to make $1.75 billion from the deal (although how much of this is in cash, and how much is in shares, is unknown for now).

Markus Persson stands to make $1.75 billion from the deal
Markus Persson stands to make $1.75 billion from the deal

Persson, along with chief executive Carl Manneh and co-founder Jakob Porser, will be leaving the company.

Mojang's letter to fans explained that Persson never intended to have "the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance".

It added: "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."

Mojang claimed that there "are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves."

Minecraft has sold more than 50 million units across console, PC, smartphones and tablets. But it was Mojang's partnership with Microsoft for the Xbox 360 edition that forged ties between the two companies.

"We’ve worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development," the studio wrote.

"We’re confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way."

Xbox head Phil Spencer added: "We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great, 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."

In other related developments;

  • Mojang says it is not sure on the future of its Scrolls games project.
  • The studio adds that it does not have insight into Microsoft's future for Minecraft
  • The Minecon event has not been cancelled and will be organised by Microsoft
  • Microsoft says Minecraft Xbox 360 edition has clocked up two billion hours played in the past two years

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