After a few days of rumors, Microsoft just made it official: the company acquired Mojang and the studio’s Minecraft franchise. The deal, worth $2.5 billion doesn’t come as a surprise due to the leaks, but it does come with some unexpected elements.
What is maybe most surprising is that the house of Xbox has no intention to hog Minecraft as its own exclusive. They will continue to offer it across platforms, including PlayStation.
Xbox Division head Phil Spencer clarified this himself.
At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. 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.
Quite the plot twist, isn’t it?
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella offered a comment of his own in a press release:
Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year. Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.
Mojang’s CEO Carl Manneh also gave more color on this all:
The ‘Minecraft’ players have taken the game and turned it into something that surpassed all of our expectations. The acquisition by Microsoft brings a new chapter to the incredible story of ‘Minecraft. As the founders move on to start new projects, we believe the high level of creativity from the community will continue the game’s success far into the future.
As Manneh said, Mijang’s founders are moving on, and Minecraft‘s creator Markus “Notch” Persson is indeed doing so, leaving a message on his own blog.
I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.
A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work. I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.
I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. 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.
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.
I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.
I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.
It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.
Bet you didn’t see this coming, did you?