The New York Times (NYT) has reported that Microsoft is in talks to buy the studio behind Minecraft, Mojang, for around $2 billion. This is a bit of a surprise as the studio’s owner, Markus “Notch” Persson, has resisted previous attempts at being bought by other big companies, like Electronic Arts in 2011. Perhaps that big dollar figure finally convinced him.
Bloomberg reports that should it go through, the Mojang acquisition would be “the biggest deal struck ” under new CEO Satya Nadella’s watch.
Apparently Microsoft wants to secure Minecraft for all of its platforms, as it’s such a popular game right now plus it’s been selling incredibly well on the Xbox since being ported.
Minecraft’s appeal is in the nearly limitless creativity its free-form building mechanic allows for – people have built everything from replicas of Westeros and the Starship Enterprise to fully-functioning 8-bit computers with Minecraft blocks.
As of June 2014, the game has sold 54 million total copies: the Pocket Edition alone has sold over 21 million copies, over 12 million copies have been bought on Xbox 360 and 16 million on PC with the PS3 bringing up the rear with over a million copies sold within the first week of availability.
Microsoft is clearly hoping to bring it – and its popularity – to all of their platforms (it’s not yet on Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8) in a bid to attract people away from their competition.
The deal is not yet done, and the NYT writes sources close to the matter say it may still fall through. Should it go through, Notch may not stay on with the company for more than six months, which the NYT speculates would be to ensure his staff continue to be treated well before he heads out for pastures new.
Persson is apparently a very good boss to work for: when Minecraft passed the “five million sold” mark, he gave his staff of 20 $3 million (averaging $150 000 each) as a “thank you” bonus.
Let’s hope his staff continue to be treated as well under Microsoft, should the deal succeed.
[Source – New York Times]