It’s official. The Minecraft IP is now Microsoft’s. The Xbox maker has agreed to purchase Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, for $2.5 billion.
With Minecraft now in Microsoft’s hands, what happens to non-Microsoft 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,” writes Xbox’s Phil Spencer in a post.
Maybe Minecraft, but what about the inevitable Minecraft 2 or whatever Mojang makes in the future? You don’t pay $2.5 billion for a game developer and let them stay multi-platform.
Mojang touched on the question of Minecraft support on other platforms, such as updates. “There’s no reason for the development, sales and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS3, Vita, iOS and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.”
Translation? Microsoft will probably continue update support in the near-term. Long-term is a different story.
What about MINECON? Spencer confirmed MINECON will still happen. “We’ll look to create even more ways for the vibrant community of YouTuber’s, innovators, bloggers and players to connect with each other – both in person and online.” Microsoft will offer more details about next year’s MINECON over the the next few months.
The Mojang acquisition also shows that Xbox remains a cornerstone at Microsoft. Some investors and analysts want to see Microsoft spin-off the Xbox division. After today, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
What precipitated the sale of Mojang? Markus “Notch” Persson wanted out. “Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. 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,” Mojang wrote in its post announcing the deal.
Notch released a statement saying in part, “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.”
Notch added, “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.”
Now you’re a nerdy programmer with a flush bank account. Do what makes you happy Notch. You’ve given joy to millions of people from their big screens to smartphones.
Notch and the other founding members of Mojang will leave the company. The rest of the development team will join Microsoft Studios. Microsoft expects the deal to be finalized by year’s end.