Notch To Depart Mojang In Wake Of $2.5 Billion Microsoft Buyout
After last week's report of an imminent acquisition of Minecraft developer Mojang, the news is now official. Microsoft has confirmed the news in a post on the company's internal Xbox blog.
In a press release, the company confirmed a purchase price of $2.5 billion, with an expected break-even in the current fiscal year. Microsoft has immediately put to rest any concerns about the continued availability of the game on other platforms. If you enjoy Minecraft on PlayStation consoles, PC, iOS, and Android, you'll be able to continue doing so.
Minecraft has been an enormous hit for the once tiny Mojang, and the title now has over 100 million downloads on PC. Microsoft reports that over 200 billion hours have been played on the Xbox 360.
As for the reasoning behind the acquisition, Minecraft experiences enormous loyalty. According to the press release, over 90 percent of paid PC users have signed in at some point over the past year.
As many expected, company founders, including Markus "Notch" Persson are leaving the company. On Mojang's website, the departures are confirmed. "The founders: Notch, Carl, and Jakob are leaving," the company says. "We don’t know what they’re planning. It won’t be Minecraft-related but it will probably be cool."
“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,’” said Carl Manneh, CEO of Mojang in Microsoft's press release. “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.”
[Source: Microsoft, Mojang]
With Notch silent last week as reports emerged, this seemed like a solid bet. Where Microsoft takes the game and its remaining creative force is of great interest. Microsoft continues to build its stable of impressive properties, and our hope is that Mojang flourishes in its new relationship.
There is trepidation though, as many remember Rare before Microsoft. This situation isn't entirely dissimilar, as key leaders are leaving and this is, in many ways, a new Mojang.